App State’s Brian MacHarg welcomes the 2019 Mandela Washington Fellows

BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University's Dr. Brian MacHarg, director academic civic engagement and, Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT), spoke during a reception held June 21 to welcome young African leaders to campus as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program.

The event, held in the breezeway of Appalachian's Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, was attended by all 25 Mandela Washington Fellows, as well as Appalachian faculty, staff,  and students, and individuals from the local and surrounding communities.  Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, associate vice chancellor of International Education and Development and co-director of Appalachian’s Mandela Washington Fellows Program, along with MacHarg shared words of affirmation and encouragement as they spoke to attendees.

MacHarg, who serves as co-director of Appalachian’s Mandela Washington Fellows Institute, along with Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, associate vice chancellor of international education and development and co-director of the institute, shared words of affirmation and encouragement as they spoke to attendees. 

During his statements to the fellows, MacHarg said the Appalachian Community welcomed them “into this space to be our brothers and sisters.”

To further express Appalachian’s welcoming spirit and its commitment to inclusive excellence, MacHarg quoted  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stating, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be... This is the inter-related structure of reality.” 

According to the Young African Leaders Initiative website, “the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.

In 2019, the fellowship will provide 700 outstanding young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. college or university with support for professional development after they return home. Institutes focus on leadership and skills development in one of three tracks: business, civic engagement, or public management.

The fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive impact in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries.

Since the program’s inception, Appalachian has hosted 25 Mandela Washington fellows each year and creates opportunities for individuals from campus and local communities to connect with the fellows through campus programming, homestay opportunities and visits to various community organizations.

“Engaging with the Mandela Washington Fellows is a tremendous opportunity to bring the best of the best from Africa here," MacHarg said. "Two of Appalachian's traditions include community engagement and sustainability, both of which draw on our strengths of creating opportunities for Appalachian students."

By Terri Lockwood

About Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT)

Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT) provides service experiences as opportunities to connect and engage with others to build authentic relationships, stimulate critical thinking and skill building, and recognize individual impact and responsibility to the local and global community. Between the 2004–05 and 2017–18 academic years, over $25 million of value has been contributed to the community via Appalachian State University's Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT) program (over 1.91 million hours of service plus $699,786 in funds raised) using the $24.14 per hour national standard for volunteer time. ACT partners with over 160 local nonprofits. Initiatives include blood drives, hunger and homeless awareness events, fundraising for local charities and alternative service experiences. Learn more at

About the Office of International Education and Development

The OIED is responsible for spearheading the internationalization efforts at Appalachian. The internationalization mission of Appalachian is to develop awareness, knowledge, appreciation and respect of cultural differences in both domestic and international contexts in its students, faculty, staff and the surrounding communities. The university is also dedicated to creating a campus environment that builds the theoretical and practical skills needed to interact effectively in a global society. Learn more at

About University College

Formed in 2007, University College consists of the university’s general education program, faculty and staff support, and co-curricular programming and support – all designed to support the work of students both inside and outside the classroom. All students at Appalachian begin their education in University College and benefit from its programs until they graduate. Learn more at

About Appalachian State University

As the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

Pictured is Brian MacHarg and event participants
Published: Jul 1, 2019 12:46pm