Our Vision

We hold a vision of a just, equitable and inclusive world where people from the most oppressed communities have access to the resources and opportunities necessary to flourish to their fullest potential.

Our Mission

We aspire to build an enduring network of leaders dedicated to working across issues, approaches and geographies to create the institutions, narratives and policies that will advance racial equity by ending anti-Black oppression.

Our Story

Anti-Black oppression is a centuries-old global phenomenon built on the systemic domination of peoples based on their race, gender, class and abilities for the purpose of centralising power to benefit a select few. This history of colonisation, slavery and apartheid continues to manifest in stark racial disparities in South Africa and the United States.

Today, there are many people who are working to challenge anti-Black oppression in both countries through new and innovative strategies. However, many of them work in silos and do not often have the opportunity to work across sectors, geographies and approaches.

In order for our nations to thrive, we believe everyone must do their part to end centuries-old systemic and pervasive oppression. This fight for racial equity and justice defies easy answers or solutions. It requires investing in people who are dedicated to devising new strategies and ways of thinking and action in a networked community for social change.

AFRE is a fellowship programme that brings together accomplished individuals from diverse backgrounds to fuel new strategies for addressing, dismantling and transforming the power structures that perpetuate anti-Black oppression. We aspire to build an enduring network of transnational, cross-sectoral leaders dedicated to creating the institutions, narratives and policies that will advance racial equity and justice.

AFRE is based at New York’s Columbia University and the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, and engages the expertise of strategic partners in each country.

Our Values

Our values are rooted in the belief that justice, transformation, imagination, integrity and ubuntu are vital for social change.

  • Justice — We aspire to create a fair society that affords all people equal opportunities to thrive.

  • Ubuntu  — We embrace a praxis of shared humanity, openness, and dignity.

  • Imagination  — We engage in critical, innovative and reflective thinking to envision and enact a yet-to-be-seen future of equitable societies.

  • Integrity — We are committed to being ethical, professional, reliable and authentic in all our words and actions.

  • Transformation — We believe that self-renewal, creativity, and learning are essential to the process of structural change for achieving racial equity.


The Atlantic Fellows Global Community

AFRE is one of seven interconnected Atlantic Fellows programmes, which together will create a global community of leaders for a better world.

The Atlantic Fellows programme is funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies which will invest over $600M, alongside other partner organisations and governments, to support the work of the global network of thousands of Atlantic Fellows over the next two decades and beyond. This investment–in both the Atlantic Fellows and the institutions that will support and nurture them–is the foundation’s final and biggest bet ever.