In Town Hall of the Staley School of Leadership Building, hands are flying up, signifying a desire to speak about a presentation regarding leadership styles.
In the Kansas State room are 25 of Africa’s emerging civic leaders, all participants of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, which began in 2014 and emphasizes empowering young people through academic coursework, leadership training and networking.
This year, the fellowship brought 700 young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa to 27 U.S. higher education institutions to focus on leadership and skills development in one of three tracks: business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership or public management.
This is the leadership school’s third consecutive year to host the six-week Civic Leadership Institute, which began in June.
Brandon Kliewer, assistant professor of civic leadership, said the U.S. Department of State selects the hosting institutions through an application process.
During their time at K-State, the 25 fellows have connected with local businesses, nonprofits and community organizations and have worked on academic coursework, leadership training, mentorship and networking.
Abdoulhalim Soule Bakar, one of the fellows at K-State, said the institute has been a great experience.
“I’m really excited to go home, because I feel like I have a lot of knowledge to share,” Bakar said.
Another fellow, Moswane Mafule Morelearn, said what he has learned in the fellowship has changed the way he views being a leader.
“It’s been exemplary,” Morelearn said. “I’m having the best time of my life learning from all the institute staff. The fellows and the community as a whole have contributed immensely to my own personal growth.
“There’s a broader understanding of leadership, in terms of what it means to be a leader,” Morelearn continued. “For many years of practice of leadership, there was no particular understanding of the concept, it was just something that I’ve been practicing.”
Morelearn said he hopes to encourage more people to be participative in his home country when he returns.
“I’ve been asking questions to see how I can improve that through the ideas of leadership, and it’s been a great opportunity to be able to learn extensively from diverse groups and from different perspectives,” Morelearn said.
The 2018 fellows will serve the Manhattan community through Furniture Amnesty Day with HandsOn Kansas State on Friday.
Upon completion of the academic and leadership institutes, the fellows will travel to Washington, D.C., for a summit that includes networking and panel discussions with U.S. leaders from public, private and nonprofit sectors.
After the summit, 100 fellows will remain in the United States to participate in a six-week professional development experience relating to their professional interests and goals.
A graduation ceremony and celebration will be held Saturday in the Leadership Studies Building. To RSVP for the event, visit https://t.co/sSYEeBISYY.