April 24 Tanzanian Disability Rights activist awarded at Humphrey Fellowship event

Hubert H. Humphrey International Fellow (1983-84) alumnus N’nyapule Madai from Tanzania was awarded the 2017 University of Minnesota Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals.

Mr. Madai is visiting Minnesota April 17-25 where besides receiving the UMN award, he will be doing community outreach with several organizations: Operation Bootstrap Africa, African Development Center, H20 for Life, ARC of Minnesota, Pacer Center, UMN College of Education and Human Development and Institute on Community Integration, and Special Olympics Minnesota.

The award ceremony will be 4:30 pm on April 24 at UMN as part of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Celebration. The event will have Sandy Vargas, former president and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation, and Mr. Madai as speakers. In addition, former director of African programs and International Director of Athlete Leadership Programs at Special Olympics, Kathryn Clark will also be present to introduce the award.

If you would like to attend the event please contact Maria Terra, Humphrey School Global Policy Area assistant: gpa@umn.edu.

While at the Humphrey School, he was a Social Welfare Officer in the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, where he was involved especially with the rehabilitation of the disabled. He was also the Executive Secretary of both the National Committee for the Disabled and the National Committee of the World Assembly on Aging. Some activities of that time included undertaking a survey of rehabilitation facilities in Tanzania. He is currently officially retired but remains as an Assistant Commissioner for Social Welfare in Tanzania.

After the Fellowship year in Minnesota, Mr. Madai returned home to Tanzania and, inspired by a visit to Kennedy Foundation Headquarters in 1984, started Special Olympics Tanzania. This program, modeled after its parent organization, Special Olympics International (the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities), was adapted to serve the unique needs of its target population and respond to challenges specific to the context in Tanzania.


The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program provides ten months of non-degree academic study and related professional experiences in the United States. Humphrey Fellows are selected based on their potential for leadership and their commitment to public service in either the public or the private sector. The Humphrey Program fosters a mutual exchange of knowledge and understanding about issues of common concern in the United States and the Fellows' home countries. The Program offers Fellows valuable opportunities for leadership development and professional engagement with Americans and their counterparts from many nations. More than 5,600 men and women have been honored as Humphrey Fellows since the program began in 1978. The Humphrey Program is a Fulbright exchange activity. Its primary funding is provided by the U.S. Congress through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. Co-sponsors include other governmental agencies, multinational organizations, and private donors. The Institute of International Education (IIE) assists the U.S. Department of State in administering the Humphrey Fellowship Program. https://www.humphreyfellowship.org/about-program
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