Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders


Applications for the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship are currently closed.  View the timeline for application decisions for more information. 


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.
Participants must be between the ages of 25 and 35 at the time of application submission. However, exceptional applicants younger than 25 will be considered.
Applicants must meet the following requirements:
  • 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

Applications for the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship are closed.

Applicants can access the application 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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