Change the world


Mary-Ann Chetty, Senior Innovation Manager at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, returned from the United States this weekend after completing the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Selected as one of 500 fellows from over 30 000 applications from across Sub-Saharan Africa, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of President Barack Obama’s flagship programme.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship was launched by President Obama’s administration five years ago, to support emerging African leaders as they drive economic growth, enhance democratic governance, and strengthen the civil society structures that will help the continent grow and prosper.

When asked about the Fellowship, Mary-Ann said: “This programme was a life-changing experience. The work that we do changes lives through the creation of sustainable jobs and new industries.

“I returned from the Fellowship feeling better equipped to lead initiatives within the NMMU and energised to do more to catalyse innovation nationally.”

On completion of a six week academic component which consisted of specialised training in Public Management at Virginia Commonwealth University, Mary-Ann travelled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Presidential Summit hosted by President Barack Obama where she took part in networking and discussions with the other fellows, and U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

“It was an honour to be part of the Fellowship and a privilege to shake hands with President Obama. It is now up to each of us (Mandela Washington fellows) to lead the change we want to see in the world,” she added.

Mary-Ann plays a vital role within the NMMU Innovation Office working with students, researchers and entrepreneurs to protect their Intellectual Property and commercialise their innovations. She manages a number of NMMU partnerships such as with the Giant Flag Project to be implemented in Graaff-Reinet.

In addition, she assists other Eastern Cape universities to manage and commercialise their Intellectual Property, particularly as they do not yet have fully-fledged Technology Transfer Offices.

*Photographed above is NMMU Senior Innovation Manager Mary-Ann Chetty receiving her certificate of completion at the Presidential Summit for completing the seven week Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.