Perspective and Access — My fellowship Experience

U.S. Mission Nigeria
3 min readMay 12


By Ebere Okonkwo

Since the end of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, some words stand out for me:

First, PERSPECTIVE. The fellowship played a vital role in reshaping my thought processes and ideals. My perspectives and the lenses with which I view life, in general, have become clearer and less biased.

Second, ACCESS. I got access to seasoned professors, entrepreneurs, and leaders that I could not have easily met. From this access came knowledge on how to successfully run a business enterprise, sell your value appropriately, and scale a sustainable startup. We had professors who spoke from their hearts, held nothing back, and shared their journey with us.

Observing, engaging, and collaborating with my institute cohort fellows at Northwestern University was also a highlight, allowing me to experience the beauty and richness of Africa and its people. Ironically, being in the U.S., through the fellowship, strengthened my pride and identity as an African and as a Nigerian. In the Leadership Strengths sessions I learned so much about myself as an individual, and in a group, than I ever had in all my years. The Cultural Dinners gave us the privilege to express our rich African culture, and enjoy those of others. The community, the dances, and the unwinding were phenomenal in themselves.

Another word about the people. I saw strength, grace, poise, kindness, resilience, beauty, dexterity, and excellence in the people I interacted with directly or indirectly. These included the other fellows, program instructors and coordinators, and the community members. Knowing that I might never have the chance of engaging with some of these people that closely again makes it even more magical. Some of them I believe we will go on to establish life-long, value-packed relationships with. And that is something I am most grateful for.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship made me know that I can do anything I put my mind to. And I am taking that very literally. As I am not stopping until the whole world feels my impact. Until mental wellness becomes indeed globalized, especially through the work I champion at Mycarebuddy. Additionally, being a Fellow made it easy for me to adjust quickly to such huge responsibilities like being a part of one of the largest gatherings of global leaders and young change leaders across the world at the One Young World Summit.

My spirit is prepared for the work ahead I am not shrinking from it!

Ebere Okonkwo is a 2022 Mandela Washington Fellow from Nigeria. She is the CEO of MyCareBuddy, a platform founded to connect users with psychological experts via its web application and other digital platforms.



U.S. Mission Nigeria

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