LINCOLN, Neb. — The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is hosting 25 fellows this summer for a program that exposes emerging leaders from across Sub-Saharan Africa to aspects of leadership in the United States.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders began in 2010 and helps 1,000 leaders in Africa make connections to those in the U.S. during an immersive six-week experience, the Lincoln Journal Star ( ) reported.

Sonia Feigenbaum is the university’s associate vice chancellor for international engagement and global strategies. She said this is the first time the university is taking part in the State Department program.

The young leaders arrived June 16 from more than 20 different Sub-Saharan countries. They’re living in the university’s residence halls, attending leadership seminars and learning from civic organizations through conversation and observation.

“We really wanted to combine the work we do with academics and the community,” Feigenbaum said. “Think about it as an experiential learning with an academic background to it.”

Tabitha Sindani, 26, is from Kenya and living in Ethiopia, where she works for the African Union Commission in policy development and resource mobilization. Sindani uses her own money to provide orphanages in Kenya with chickens that can be used as a source of income in several ways.

She hopes the fellowship program will help her connect with potential donors who can help expand the program to more orphanages, or to help empower young women, single mothers and housewives through poultry farming.

“People who have come here are doing amazing things, they’ve made amazing collaborations and networks,” Sindani said. “I wanted to be put in a space where I could interact and collaborate with the rest of the world.”

Information from: Lincoln Journal Star,

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