The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the U.S. Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Since 2014, nearly 4,400 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in the Fellowship. The Fellows, between the ages of 25 and 35, are accomplished leaders and have established records of promoting innovation and positive impact in their communities and countries. In 2021, the Fellowship will provide 700 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. college or university with support for professional development after they return home.
Due to the current global pandemic, and with the safety and well-being of Fellows and Partners as the highest priority, the U.S. Department of State postponed the 2020 Fellowship until summer 2021. The U.S. Department of State will not open a general application for the 2021 Fellowship this year.
About the Fellowship
Leadership Institutes: Each year, the Fellows participate in six-week Leadership Institutes, studying Business, Civic Engagement, or Public Management at U.S. colleges or universities. During their time on campus, Fellows connect with Americans and enrich local U.S. communities while sharing best practices. Learn more about Leadership Institutes
Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit: After the Institutes, Fellows convene for a multi-day Summit in Washington, D.C., where they forge connections with one another and U.S. leaders from the private, public, and non-profit sectors, setting the stage for long-term engagement between the United States and Africa. Learn more about the Summit
Professional Development Experience: Following the Summit, a group of competitively-selected Fellows remains in the United States for four weeks to work with private, public, and non-profit organizations. Both Fellows and Hosts benefit from discussing shared issues and challenges in their sectors, broadening their perspectives, and positioning U.S. organizations for international engagement. Learn more about PDEs
Reciprocal Exchanges: Americans have the opportunity to apply to travel to Africa to collaborate on projects with Fellows, building upon connections initiated while Fellows were in the United States. These partnerships and professional connections are intended to form lasting relationships, expand markets and networks, and increase mutual understanding. Learn more about Reciprocal Exchanges
Opportunities for Alumni: Upon returning home, Fellows continue to build on the skills and connections developed during their time in the United States through access to ongoing professional development, networking, and collaboration opportunities with support from the U.S. Department of State and affiliated partners. Learn more about opportunities for Alumni