Blog

Fellowship promotes partnership across borders!

Author: Grace Munene

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2016 YALI@ND alum, Rania Ibrahim from Ethiopia, shares how she is using her experience and lessons learned during the Mandela Washington Fellowship, to promote access to better health care in her home country. Read more here

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YALI team awarded Presidential Team Irish Award!

Author: Grace Munene

Presidential Team Irish Award 2016

The Notre Dame YALI team was honored to receive this year’s Presidential Team Irish Award! The award was presented to the YALI administrative and faculty team during the Notre Dame and Stanford game on October 15, 2016 at Notre Dame Stadium. John Affleck-Graves, executive vice president of the University of Notre Dame presented the award to Michael Sweikar, managing director of the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development. The Presidential Team Irish Award program publicly recognizes core staff members that exemplify the University’s core values on behalf of their department and the University. Go Irish!…

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President Obama's conversation with the Mandela Washington Fellows

Author: Joya Helmuth

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The Mandela Washington Fellowship culminated in Washington, DC, with all 1000 Fellows from around the country attending the Presidential Summit, highlighted by none other than the President himself. The Fellows spent 90 minutes hearing from and asking questions of the President at a Town Hall. It was the high point of a very exciting week in Washington!…

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Reflections

Author: Nawsheen Ahmine

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Guest post by Nawsheen Ahmine, 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow from Mauritius (center)

In about a week, our Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame will come to an end. As I look over this whole experience, I cannot help but feel nostalgic already. Before coming here, I was thinking that six weeks is a long time to be away from home. Now, I am wishing I had more time. Duncan Hall has somehow become my home away from home. During these six weeks here, I have made a lifetime of memories. I have made new friends. I have learned about the other African countries and cultures. I watched ‘the gods are crazy’ for the first time. I visited Detroit, Indianapolis and Chicago. I did rafting at the East Race. I went to a baseball game and celebrated the fourth of July. And much more.…

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A spirit of service

Author: Joya Helmuth

Foodbank

Some of the most enriching experiences of the Mandela Washington Fellowship are the community service activities that we participate in over the six weeks. Today we went to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, and sorted food in their large facility. The Fellows were impressed with the operation and enjoyed working with the staff on such an important effort!…

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The view from above

Author: Joya Helmuth

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Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, hosted our Fellows for a reception on the top floor of the Hesburgh Library. It provided a beautiful 180-degree view of campus, inside and out!

Father John spoke to the Fellows about his desire to continue and build Notre Dame’s engagement in Africa, and how the Fellows are a big part of helping us do that. He took questions from the Fellows, one of which was a request to bring the Fellows back for a home game during football season!…

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Chicago Highlight: Assistant Secretary of State Evan Ryan

Author: Joya Helmuth

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We were thrilled to have a special guest on our trip to Chicago. Assistant Secretary of State Evan Ryan leads the Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau for the U.S. Department of State, where the Mandela Washington Fellowship and YALI are based. She was thrilled to engage with the Fellows, and after making some remarks about how important this program is to President Obama, she took plenty of questions from the crowd. And there were many! We loved having her with us and are looking forward to seeing Assistant Secretary Ryan when we come to Washington for the Presidential Summit!…

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The Windy City welcomes the Fellows!

Author: Joya Helmuth

Chicago

We spent a busy two days in Chicago. Most of our time was spent with the Fellows from Northwestern University, Purdue University, and the Indiana University, which was a great reunion for all involved. Before coming to the U.S., the Fellows had met each other at their respective country’s pre-departure orientations held by the U.S. Department of State, so there were many hugs all the way around!…

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A visit with Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Author: Joya Helmuth

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We’re very proud of our mayor here in South Bend, and after being welcomed to the community at our opening reception by Mayor Pete Buttigieg, we visited his turf and heard much more about his work in South Bend. The Fellows had lots of questions, and he was eager to answer and share how his office works with various constituent groups, neighborhoods, and organizations to foster both short-term and long-term change. We look forward to watching Mayor Pete as he continues to transform our community!…

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Womens empowerment, alive and well

Author: Marie-Anne Assanvo N'Guessan

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From left to right: Lungile Mzizi (Swaziland), Nawsheen Ahmine (Mauritius), Rania Mohammed (Ethiopia), Adrienne Rabemanantsoa (Madagascar), Haoua Sawadogo (Burkina Faso), Nadege Legma (Burkina Faso), Reena Pandya (Tanzania), Marie-Anne Assanvo N'Guessan (Cote d’Ivoire),  Esther Sola (DRC), Tânia Tomé (Mozambique), Sarah Kabiseni (Zimbabwe), Edinha Lima (Sao Tome and Principe), Nadine Maalum (Nigeria), Khadijetou Abed (Mauritania)

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Politics hits home

Author: Joya Helmuth

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Our day trip to Indianapolis began with a tour of the beautiful Statehouse buildling. We toured the Indiana Supreme Court chamber, the state House and Senate chambers, and the Lieutenant Governor's office, and along the way learned about the architecture and native Indiana limestone found throughout the building. Following the tour, we visited Senator Joe Donnelly's office where State Director Hodge Patel — dressed appropriately in ND shoes — talked about a lot of the intiatives that the Senator's office was involved in, and how the staff works to help consituents on a daily basis.…

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We have a new Presidential nominee!

Author: Joya Helmuth

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The mock convention exercise finished with an energetic an rousing convention in the Jordan Auditorium. Our presidential candidates — Phelane, Charles, Tania, Alex, Esther, George, Nadine, and Levit — campaigned for the nomination over the prior ten days (nearly driving everyone mad in the process, so it was realistic). Because no one reached the necessary delegate count before the start of the convention, it was contested. After three rounds of voting and with the delegates from eventual vice presidential nominee Tania, Charles emerged as the winner, which in this case amounted to an awesome sparkly Uncle Sam top hat!…

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Take me out to the ballgame

Author: Joya Helmuth

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The Fellows were treated to an all-American experience on the eve of July 4. We met up with the Study of the U.S  Institutes cohort at Saint Mary's College, where 20 Fellows had recently arrived from the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. After a great meal in the primo spot overlooking Four Winds Field, the group watched the South Bend Cubs as they topped hte Lansing Lugnuts. The highlight was the YALI-SUSI group being featured on the jumbotron singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch. Souvenir hats made the night complete!…

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Motor City and Motown inspiration

Author: Joya Helmuth

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Our first trip out of South Bend was to Detroit, MIchigan, otherwise known as Motor City. It was only fitting that our first site visit was at General Motors, where Notre Dame alum Derrick Coleman '83 welcomed our Fellows with open arms and put on an engaging program with his colleagues in the diversity and human resource offices. From there we visited the heart of downtown, and were treated to a walking tour of the immediate area by Bruce Schwartz, Detroit Ambassador at Quicken Loans. We visited several buildings that Quicken has invested in downtown, and other businesses that have spun off from their efforts to revitatize Detroit. The Fellows were most impressed by their partnership with local government to affect areas of safety as well as real estate and other activities.…

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IBM team visits Notre Dame

Author: Joya Helmuth

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James Kavanaugh, Senior Vice President of Transformation and Operations at IBM, held an engaging session with the Fellows in the classroom at Notre Dame. After an inspiring video on IBM's history and future, which chronicled the company's innovations over the years including the UPC barcode, the ATM, and Watson, in addition to its international growth and diversity efforts. The Fellows had many questions (as they always do), and are hoping Jim has time to come back to campus! IBM is a generous supporter of the YALI program at Notre Dame, and for that we all — team and Fellows alike — are most appreciative.…

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Fellows raft the East Race with Chamber's interns

Author: Joya Helmuth

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It was a beautiful night to take rafts and canoes down the East Race in downtown South Bend. Meeting up with college interns from the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce, the Fellows challenged themselves and each other to ride the rapids and stay afloat! It was a great teambuilding and networking event, followed by pizza sponsored by AM General. …

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A Primer in American Politics

Author: Joya Helmuth

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It's been a tumultuous and fascinating election year so far in 2016. In an effort to sidestep the headlines and dig into American political parties and how things work here, we were honored to have four local politicians visit Notre Dame and present Republican and Democratic platforms to our Fellows:…

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