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Detailed Program Information

United States Department of State Professional Fellows Program—Advancing Young Women Agribusiness Entrepreneurs and Innovators: A Rwanda-South Africa-Zambia-Zimbabwe-U.S. Partnership

Part 1: Recruitment and Selection

Program partners, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and U.S. Embassies will recruit young agribusiness entrepreneurs and select six fellows from each country to participate in two inbound cohorts. The first cohort will arrive in the fall of 2022 and the second in the spring of 2023.

Part 2: Orientation

Program partners will conduct a pre-departure orientation and an after-arrival orientation to prepare inbound fellows for their time in the United States. The orientations will cover topics such as general travel tips, resources to navigate East Lansing, team-building exercises, advice to optimize the program experience, and strategies for remaining engaged with program partners upon completion of the exchange.

Part 3: Four-Week Program in Michigan

Fellows will divide their time among on-campus seminars, individually tailored professional placements, cultural and agricultural site visits, and developing a community-based project to implement upon returning home. Seminars will include presentations, dialogues, and experiential learning opportunities designed to improve Fellows’ technical and soft skills, as well as their understanding of women’s economic empowerment.

Part 4: Three-Day Participation in the Professional Fellows Congress in Washington D.C.

The Congress will allow participants the opportunity to meet and share their experience with Fellows from around the world and participate in dialogues to examine the roles of individual and institutional leadership in economic development and women’s economic empowerment.

Part 5: Alumni Engagement Grants

Upon completion of the exchange, Fellows, now Alumni, will become eligible to apply for Alumni Engagement Grants, which are small grants designed to increase the impact of the program by enhancing participants’ leadership skills, reinforcing professional and personal networks developed during the exchange, and by disseminating the knowledge they gained to their wider communities and areas of work. The grants utilize a systems-based approach whereby program alumni leverage their new professional network of mentors, in-country academic partners, fellow participants, MSU experts, and community stakeholders to identify and address a major challenge in the local agribusiness sector.

Part 6: Reciprocal Outbound Program

American Fellows will be selected from U.S. host organizations through a competitive application process to participate in a reciprocal outbound program. American Fellows will travel to Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia, and/or Zimbabwe to meet with the African alumni, visit their project sites, share best practices, and give a presentation about their Professional Fellows Program experience at a joint U.S.-Africa program workshop, hosted on the campus of the respective in-country partner university.


Click to apply for the program.


Application Deadline: March 21, 2022 11:59pm EDT


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