Fifty young government and business professionals from Africa are coming to Iowa this weekend for a six-week long fellowship with two universities.
Drake University in Des Moines and the University of Iowa in Iowa City are each hosting 25 fellows from the Mandela Washington Fellowship for African Leaders.
Hosted by the U.S. State Department, the program brings professionals between the age of 25 to 35 from Africa to U.S. universities to study, network and visit local businesses, such as Kemin Industries and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Des Moines and Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids.
"They will be Iowa's ambassadors to Africa, learning our way of doing things and bringing the Iowa values that they learn here back to their homes," said Dimy Doresca, director of the University of Iowa's Institute for International Business, in a statement.
While visiting Iowa, the fellows will focus their studies on business and entrepreneurship. Fellows at the University of Iowa will take part in Venture School, one of the university's entrepreneur and startup development programs.
This year marks the first time both Drake and the University of Iowa are serving as host sites for the fellowship.
Drake and The Greater Des Moines Partnership will host an open networking event for the fellows from 4 to 6 p.m., Wednesday at the Partnership's office, 701 Locust St.
Drake University has more information about its fellows via http://www.drake.edu/yali/fellows.