Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders


The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.

In 2018, the Fellowship will provide up to 700 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan 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.

Program Length

Six-week program at an Academic and Leadership Institute then an opportunity for up to 100 Mandela Washington Fellows to participate in a six-week Professional Development Experience with a U.S. business, civil society organization, or public agency

Eligibility and Application Overview

Public applications are accepted.

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Between the ages of 25 and 35 at the time of application submission, although exceptional applicants younger than 25 will be considered;
  • Not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.;
  • Eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa;
  • Proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English; and
  • Citizens and residents of one of the eligible countries listed here.

Applications for the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship are closed.

To learn more about next steps in the application process, applicants can access the timeline here.

For more information about the Fellowship, please visit the U.S. Department of State's Young African Leaders Initiative, our implementing partner IREX, or join the community on Facebook.

Country-Specific Information

More details on applying and eligibility

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