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.

Each year, the Fellowship provides 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, Civic Engagement, or Public Management.

Program Length

6-week program at a U.S. college or university then an opportunity for up to 70 Mandela Washington Fellows to participate in a 4-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:

  1. Are between the ages of 25 and 35 on or before the application deadline, although exceptional applicants ages 21-24 will be considered;
  2. Are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States;
  3. Are eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa;
  4. Are not employees or immediate family members of employees of the U.S. Government (including a U.S. embassy or consulate, USAID, and other U.S. Government entities);
  5. Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English (applicants who are deaf should refer to the Application Instructions);
  6. Are citizens and residents of one of the eligible countries listed; and
  7. Are not alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

Each year the Mandela Washington Fellowship application opens from mid-September to mid-October.

For more information about the Fellowship, please visit the U.S. Department of State's Mandela Washington Fellowship website.

Country-Specific Information

More details on applying and eligibility

Recently Viewed Programs


Search our Exchange Programs

Full Program Search

Economic Impact in U.S.A.

state map

Find out the impact of ECA exchange programs and initiatives in each U.S. state.

Learn more