Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., welcomes 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows to campus

University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., and some 100 guests from across the University and the greater South Bend area convened in Jenkins Nanovic Halls on June 21 to welcome the 25 participants in the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders at Notre Dame to the community.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. Department of State, administered by IREX. The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD), an integral part of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs, is a sub-grantee of IREX and has supported the U.S.-based academic program of the Fellowship at the University since 2014.

In his remarks, Father Jenkins described the inherently reciprocal nature of the Fellowship for both the Fellows and the University community. “You make Notre Dame more international, you teach us about the world, and we are a richer university for your presence here,” said Father Jenkins. “This program can provide the opportunities for dialogue and discussion that can deepen that sense of unity, that sense of collaboration, that sense of cooperation; all at a time that the world badly needs them.”

This year’s class of Mandela Washington Fellows—12 men and 13 women—represent 18 different countries, as well as a wide range of industries, expertise, and causes. Despite their diverse backgrounds and interests, the Fellows share a common entrepreneurial spirit and have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their professional and personal communities.


  • Aicha Aidara Bousso is a lawyer from Senegal.

  • Caleb Ndaka David is an information technology (IT) professional from Kenya.

  • Chioma Peace Chinaza Udoh is a community developer from Nigeria.

  • Fifame Marie Madeleine Gbonumi Akrota is a digital media mogul from Benin.

  • Jersia Livia Da C Dos Santos De Sousa is an educator and youth developer from Angola.

  • Johannes Kaveto Tjatjara is a water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and development expert from Namibia.

  • Johannes Oula Odhiambo is an educator and mobile software programmer from Kenya.

  • Kiadinotoavina Genot Ravel Harilanto is a Montessori educator from Madagascar.

  • Kudakwashe Khuleya is a self-described “serial social entrepreneur and philanthropist” from Zimbabwe.

  • Mariam Nourya Kone is an IT specialist and computer engineer from Côte d’Ivoire.

  • Michael Tekie Alemu is a lawyer by trade from Ethiopia who is in the process of shifting his career toward the microfinance and music sectors.

  • Milly Namwanje is a sustainability and economic development expert from Uganda.

  • Mohammad Aziim Imrit is an IT  specialist and programmer from Mauritius.

  • Noah Sianyambe Siachoto is an accountant and finance expert by trade from Zambia.

  • Nomfundo Noxolo Mkhize is a radio host and media mogul from South Africa.

  • Olivia Chinenye Onyemaobi is a former banker turned healthcare expert from Nigeria.

  • Palesa Innocent Mahlatji is a former banker turned information technology expert from South Africa.

  • Phillis Zyambo is an investigations officer with Zambia’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

  • Roselline Oppong Boamah is an education consultant from Ghana who specializes in early childhood development and primary education.

  • Shiemaa Abdelmoniem Ali Ahmed is an expert in logistics and product development from Sudan.

  • Sodiq Olajide Abiose is an expert in both civic and food technology from Nigeria.

  • Tadiwanashe Mukudzeyi Mangwengwende is an economist and higher education administrator from Zimbabwe

  • Thulani Nyararai Felix Mpofu is an IT specialist from Zimbabwe.

  • Tieho Mochebelele is information management and e-commerce expert from Lesotho.

  • Wilhelm Caspar Oddo is a self-described “serial entrepreneur with a passion for education and youth” from Tanzania.

Full biographies of the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows, as well as additional information about the Fellowship, are available at Throughout the six-week program, the Fellows will engage in a rigorous Business and Entrepreneurship Institute that will cover topics including design thinking, social entrepreneurship, business modeling and planning, strategic leadership and personal and professional branding, as well as applying foresight and innovation.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship at Notre Dame receives additional faculty support from the Keough School, the Mendoza College of Business, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the ESTEEM Graduate Program, and the IDEA Center. Additional funding and technical support is provided by private partners, including Capism, The Coca-Cola Foundation, IBM, and the Notre Dame President’s Circle.

The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development—an integral part of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame—promotes human development and dignity among people worldwide through applied innovations, impact evaluation, education, and training that help build just and equitable societies.

Contact: Luis Ruuska, communications specialist, Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development,

Originally published by Luis Ruuska at on June 25, 2018.