Scholarships : Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

By | December 6, 2017

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 EntrepreneurshipCivic Leadership, or Public Management.


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.
Read Also:   2017/2018 Business Plan Writing Contest with $1000 each for a Winner

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.

Details on Eligibility & Application

Program Eligibility Details

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is conducted as a merit-based open competition. After the deadline, all eligible applications will be reviewed by a selection panel. Chosen semi-finalists will be interviewed by the U.S. embassies or consulates in their home country.

Selection panels will use the following criteria to evaluate applications (not in order of importance):
  • A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement;
  • A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship;
  • The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of others;
  • Strong social and communication skills;
  • An energetic, positive attitude;
  • A demonstrated knowledge, interest, and professional experience in the sector/track selected; and
  • A commitment to return to Africa and apply leadership skills and training to benefit the applicant’s country and/or community after they return home