Nelson Mandela Foundation

Programme will empower and connect dynamic individuals committed to working together across disciplines and borders to advance fairer, healthier, more inclusive societies.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation is pleased to announce its participation in the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity, a 10-year, $60 million leadership development programme for courageous and creative leaders dedicated to dismantling anti-black racism in the United States and South Africa.

 The programme will enable visionary activists, authors and artists, among others, to enhance their understanding of anti-black racism and strengthen their strategic capacity, individual skills and professional networks to lead successful movements for racial equity in their communities, countries and around the world.

 “The legacies of colonialism and apartheid continue to burden South Africa,” said the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Sello Hatang. “Race remains a fundamental fault line threatening the realisation of Nelson Mandela’s dream of a truly free society. In this context, we are honoured to partner with US-based organisations in a programme premised on the need to take the fight to anti-black racism in all its forms, both locally and globally.”

 The programme is the latest in an interconnected set of fellowship programmes – the Atlantic Fellows – launched by The Atlantic Philanthropies to empower and connect dynamic individuals who are committed to working together across disciplines and borders to address some of the world’s most critical challenges and advance fairer, healthier and more inclusive societies.

 “At a time when issues of race and identity are at the forefront of national debates in the US and South Africa, the task of supporting multi-racial and multi-ethnic leadership to lead us forward could not be more urgent or essential,” said Kavitha Mediratta, founding executive director of the programme. “The Atlantic Fellows represent one of the foundation’s final big bets, and we are privileged to work alongside the Nelson Mandela Foundation and our other partners to build a more just future.” Ms. Mediratta will step down from her position as chief strategy advisor at The Atlantic Philanthropies on December 31 to assume her new role.

 The non-residential programme, hosted by Columbia University in New York City, will support 350 fellows over its 10-year lifespan, serving up to 35 fellows annually, including 10 in South Africa and 25 in the United States, and bringing together grassroots and civil rights advocates and scholars working in diverse disciplines, as well as individuals working within government, the media, arts and elsewhere to promote learning and collaboration across fields, sectors and geographies.

 Early in 2017, the Nelson Mandela Foundation will be inviting applications for this fellowship programme.