Skill-Building Sessions


For the first time since the launch of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the 2017 Summit featured a series of Skills-Building Workshops, which aimed to expand Fellows’ experience with key 21st-century skills and approaches through intensive, hands-on skills-building sessions led by leaders and innovators in diverse fields.

Workshops focused on enhancing Fellows’ technical skills, relevant no matter which professional track or technical sector they are in, and embraced a blended learning approach that combined substantive presentation and information sharing with participatory components that ensure Fellows could visualize and practice these new skills. Facilitators were encouraged to share tools that Fellows can access anywhere, which they can bring back to your home institutions to share with their colleagues and incorporate where relevant.

Session descriptions are below, and you can also download them here.

2017 Sessions and Facilitators

2018 Skill-Building Information To Be Announced

Data Visualization
Marquis 12 (Meeting Level 2)
Siddartha Ghose and Tanya Sethi, Aid Data

Whether working in the public, private, or non-profit sector, the ability to convert data into insights through creating powerful visuals is invaluable. Through this Data Visualization session, you will learn the varied approaches to visualizing statistical information, from graphs and charts to social network analysis and geo-spatial maps. You will also will learn how to effectively tell a story through data, and learn about the best online resources to enable you to visualize the data produced by or relevant to your own work. As a participatory component, you will have the opportunity to work in groups to identify a problem, think about the best data to address it, and design your own data visualization.


Deal-Making and Democratizing Dispute Resolution: Crisis Leadership Simulation
Marquis 2 (Meeting Level 2)
Ronald L. Quincy, Ph.D , Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

Through this session, you will develop a fundamental understanding of conflict mitigation in the workplace and enhanced confidence negotiating a variety of potential conflict scenarios. The session will include an introduction to traditional philosophical structures on conflict mitigation, keystone practices for successful conflict management, and strategies for common professional negotiations. You will also have the opportunity to work in groups to role play leadership and crisis simulations relevant to your field. Each group will report on their conflict mitigation processes and resolutions, and engage in group discussion on lessons learned for successful conflict mitigation. The session will conclude with a discussion on available toolsets for you to implement in conflict situations in your respective fields and contacts for networking upon your return home to Africa.


The Diversity Dividend: Applying Inclusion Practices to Improve Organizational Performance
Marquis 1 (Meeting Level 2)
Luisa F. Angelsmith , World Learning and Sheila Scott, IREX

Adopting diversity and inclusion organizational policies and practices are sometimes politically and culturally-sensitive and often challenging to implement. Join us to explore the research and practices behind why adopting and incorporating diversity and inclusion is both the right and smart thing for organizations to do, from employee performance to institutional effectiveness to profitability and constituent satisfaction. This workshop will equip you with the knowledge and skills to become a D&I champion within your own organization. You will learn how to identify boosters and barriers to inclusion, conduct a participatory analysis of your own workplace, define your organization’s diversity goals, and select tools to build a more inclusive and high-performing organization.


Effective Messaging: Building Clients, Inspiring Constituents, and Strengthening Allies through Social Media
Marquis 4 (Meeting Level 2)
Cate Urban, Urban Web Renovations

Across all industries, knowledge and effective usage of Social Media is becoming increasingly important for successful communications, outreach, and mobilization of resources. This session will provide clear strategies and tactics for effective social media communications, including distinguishing the various platforms, sharing best and worst practices in social media outreach, and providing access to free online tools that Fellows can use to continue to build their knowledge of and capacity to meaningfully engage their customers, constituents, or community using Social Media.


Entrepreneurship for Positive Change: You Can Do It
Independence G and H (Meeting Level 4)
C’pher Gresham, SEED SPOT

Leveraging the expertise and curriculum of SEED SPOT, a top 20 global accelerator of social entrepreneurs, join us to learn how to develop solutions for social good in your community using the SEED SPOT’s proprietary Impact Canvas. The SEED SPOT Impact Canvas guides entrepreneurs through the ideation process starting with identifying the root cause of a problem in their community, tools to interview key stakeholders and potential customers, and how to create the minimum viable solution. Come prepared to dive into making the world a better place!


Grant Writing
Independence B and C (Meeting Level 4)
Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa , Appalachian State University

Access to funds and lack of diversification of funding sources are significant challenges to continued professional and organizational growth, as previous Fellows have consistently shared. Strategic and specific grant-writing helps align identified organizational needs and clients and beneficiaries with funding sources, whether foundations, government agencies, corporations, or individuals. Through hands-on activities, this workshop will offer a guide to the technical details of grant-writing. The workshop will also outline the stages of grant-writing and highlight grant-writing best practices.


Leading with Integrity: The Fight Against Corruption
Marquis 3 (Meeting Level 2)
Nancy Boswell , American University

Corruption, including bribery and the theft of state assets, diverts resources from basic public services, undermines trust in government, impedes fair business competition and violates human rights. Today, leaders in the public, private and non-profits sectors are fighting back, adopting and implementing laws and business practices to foster integrity, transparency and accountability. In this workshop, you will discuss the laws and practices your countries have agreed to implement, their positive value to those in government and in the private and civic sectors, and how to apply them in challenging environments.


Model Diplomacy: Negotiations on a Changing Climate
Shaw (Meeting Level 3)
Charles Landow, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

In this session, you will have the opportunity to represent your country in simulated negotiations over climate change policy using Model Diplomacy, a program from the Council on Foreign Relations. You will participate in both preparatory negotiations to hone national positions, and a mock United Nations Security Council debate to try to reach agreed outcomes. The session will offer the opportunity to build skills in public speaking and negotiation while exploring a policy topic of critical importance to the United States, African countries, and the world.


A New Era of Decision-Making: Using Data and your Intuition to Make the Best Decisions
Georgetown (Meeting Level 1)
Ryan LaPrairie, Mission Critical Development

We are living in an unprecedented age filled with huge amounts of open-sourced data. We know that using this data to make evidence-based decisions is critical, but it is not as easy as it can seem. Do you use data analysis techniques, personal intuition, or a combination of both to interpret data? Hear about the pros and cons of each approach in this session, where leaders and analysts will learn how to use data appropriately, when to trust intuition, and how to avoid letting individual biases lead us astray.


Partnerships: The New Power of Collaboration
Independence E (Meeting Level 4)
Annette Richardson, Decade Citizen

Beyond seeking fundraising partnerships, many Fellows have expressed interest in strengthening their ability to connect to and build partnerships with other stakeholders, including government partnerships, non-profit collaborations, etc. Through this workshop, Fellows will learn new skills in identifying, establishing, building and maintaining partnerships and will have the opportunity to practice strategies for effective partner engagement during the session. Fellows will also gain access to free online resources to facilitate ongoing learning and sharing with their home institutions.


The Art of Public Speaking
Independence D (Meeting Level 4)
Allison Shapira, Global Public Speaking LLC

Learn directly from the global public speaking expert who recorded “The Art of Public Speaking” MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) training video for the YALI Network. Whether you are a leader in government, a business owner, or the head of a civil society organization, public speaking is essential to exercising leadership. Public speaking skills will help you run for office, pitch for funding, or inspire an audience to change the world. In this interactive skill-building session, you will learn immediately applicable techniques to speak with confidence and authenticity and you will be inspired to find your authentic voice and your courage to speak.


Understanding Storytelling
University of DC (Meeting Level 1)
Vijai Nathan and Stephanie Garibaldi, Story District

Story District — named the “Gold Standard in Storytelling” by The Washington Post — introduces participants to storytelling techniques that can help them improve internal communications within an organization; foster teamwork and understanding; and create presentations /communications that are authentic, memorable, connect to target audiences, and create buy-in. During this interactive workshop, you will learn why telling a “story” (first-person narrative) is the most effective way to build trust and have your message connect with an audience as well as the elements of a good story and how you can use them to create engaging presentations that inspire your audience to take action. Participants will also discover how to structure a narrative arc and practice sharing stories with peers/the group, and have the opportunity to volunteer to get on-the-spot coaching from the trainers by sharing stories based on personal work experiences.


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