SE@UVA Welcomes Mandela Washington Fellows

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Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, the Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Each summer the University of Virginia and Presidential Precinct welcome young African leaders to Charlottesville for a multi-week training program with faculty, researchers, civic leaders and students.

The Batten School and Social Entrepreneurship @ UVA hosted the distinguished group for a series of workshops and lectures on a variety of topics. As Director of SE@UVA, Professor Christine Mahoney served as the academic director of U.Va.’s portion of the Mandela Washington Fellows program. Professor Mahoney led an applied designed thinking workshop, giving Fellows the tools they need to address the challenges that their organizations face. As a problem-solving protocol, design thinking gives users a framework. The Fellows could then apply the five-step design thinking process to their actual organizations in a fast-paced, timed, hands-on workshop. Professor Mahoney also conducted a separate session on Public-Private Partnerships and other new hybrid models of financing organizations.

Batten School Dean Allan Stam addressed the group on the topic of leadership lessons from the world’s leaders, focusing on managing toward milestones and metrics to help leaders motivate their teams to accomplish complex goals. Dean Stam later joined Stewart Gamage, program director of Morven, for a discussion on strategies for organizations working with religious and ethnic diversity within a country.

Batten Professors Sophie Trawalter and Benjamin Converse led sessions using insights from social psychology to build and lead effective teams. Professor Trawalter described how effective leaders use partnerships, joint decision-making and other strategies to face real-world challenges. Through decision-making simulations, Fellows learned about collaboration and negotiation from Professor Converse.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship seeks to create experiential learning opportunities to discuss best practices in governance, civil mobilization, public policy and social innovation. The U.Va.-sponsored programs provide agenda-setting, strategic planning and civic engagement skills that furthers the Fellows’ professional objectives and addresses a critical country need.

Garrett Hall at Sunset

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