View the trailer for the Notre Dame YALI Film Project


This summer, 25 of Africa’s most promising young leaders began the journey of a lifetime. They traveled from their cities and villages in Africa to the University of Notre Dame campus and on to Washington, D.C., as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, flagship program of President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The YALI Film Project, led by Bisk of Tampa, Florida, has been there to capture each moment, as dedicated Notre Dame faculty challenge these young leaders to unleash their leadership potential.

Working with the Mendoza College of Business' Nonprofit Professional Development program, Bisk first became involved with the initiative by providing the fellows, age 25 to 35, with pre-arrival access to relevant Notre Dame online coursework, preparing them for the educational journey that lies ahead. Soon, the education-for-the-greater-good mission alignment between Bisk, Notre Dame and YALI made it clear that there was a larger story to tell. As a result, the notion of documenting narratives around the fellows, their plights and their experience at Notre Dame was born.


"We are honored to present the Notre Dame YALI Film Project," said Michael D. Bisk, President of Bisk. "It's exciting to show the incredible journey these young fellows share as they gain valuable skills that will drive change and create prosperity in their local communities throughout Africa."

Nearly 30,000 individuals from across Africa applied for the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, commissioned by the U.S. Department of State. Out of these applicants, 500 were given the opportunity to hone their leadership skills at U.S. academic institutions, and the University of Notre Dame is a host institution.These remarkable young people from 19 countries are already leaders in their own right, exemplifying passion and persistence in driving business, mission and education. The YALI Film Project documents their applied learning from the online experience and their subsequent journey to the Notre Dame campus. The fellows spent six weeks participating in professional development, cultural immersion and leadership training before spending several days in Washington, D.C. for the Presidential Summit.

The Notre Dame YALI Film Project presented by Bisk premiered in April 2016. 

View the trailer

Meet the Fellows