The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Since its start in 2014, the program has empowered young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.
In 2018, the Fellowship will provide up to 700 outstanding young leaders from Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. higher education institution with support for professional development after they return home. Institutes focus on leadership and skills development in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management.
The Fellows, who are between the ages of 20 and 55, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive impact in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. The first four classes of Fellows represented all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and included equal numbers of men and women. In 2017, 51 Fellows identified as having a disability.
HOW TO APPLY
Academic and Leadership Institutes: Each Mandela Washington Fellow takes part in a six-week Academic and Leadership Institute at a U.S. college or university in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management.
Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit: Following the academic component of the Fellowship, the Fellows visit Washington, D.C., for a Summit featuring networking and panel discussions with U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
Professional Development Experience: One hundred selected Fellows remain in the United States to participate in a six-week Professional Development Experience with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and governmental agencies that relate to their professional interests and goals.
Upon returning to their home countries, Fellows continue to build the skills they have developed during their time in the United States through support from U.S. embassies, four Regional Leadership Centers, the YALI Network, and customized programming from USAID, the Department of State, and affiliated partners. Through these experiences, select Mandela Washington Fellows have access to ongoing professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking and training, and support for their ideas, businesses, and organizations. Fellows may also apply for their American partners to travel to Africa to continue project-based collaboration through the new Reciprocal Exchange component.
HOW TO APPLY