The Young African Leaders Initiative, 2017

Application Deadline: October 26th 2016
From June 16-30, 2017, the Mandela

Washington Fellowship will host up to 1,000 young African leaders. Fellows will travel to US university and college campuses for six-week Academic and Leadership Institutes in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management. It is anticipated that one Public Management Institute will focus on Energy Policy, in collaboration with Power Africa.

Applicants for the Energy Institute need not be currently working in government or in another public management role to apply to this Institute. The Institutes will culminate in a Summit in Washington, DC from July 31 – August 2, 2017. Additionally, up to 100 Fellows will take part in a six-week, US-based Professional Development Experience with US organizations from August 3 – September 15, 2017. The US Government and its partners have also created unique follow-on opportunities for Fellows to put their new skills to practical use in leading organizations and communities after they return to their home countries. The Young African Leadership Initiative 2017

YALI2017 = Six-week leadership and mentoring Program plus a chance to interactwith American President.

The 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship is a six-weeks in-depth academic and leadership training at 20 top American universities.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. The Fellowship provides 1,000 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.

Eligibility Requirements:


Applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is open to young African leaders who meet the following criteria:

Are between the ages of 25 and 35 at the time of application submission, although exceptional applicants younger than 25 will be considered;

Are not US citizens or permanent residents of the United States;

 Are eligible to receive a US  J-1 visa;

Are not employees or immediate family members of employees of the US government (including the US Embassy,USAID, and other US government entities);

Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English;

Are citizens of one of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Are residents of one of the above

countries; and are not alumni of the MandelaWashington Fellowship.

Note: Fellows are not allowed to have dependents (including spouses and children) accompany them during the Fellowship.

Selection Criteria:

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.

Demonstrated knowledge, interest and professional experience in the sector/track selected.

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.


There is no fee to apply to the Mandela Washington Fellowship. If you are selected for the Fellowship, the U.S. government will cover all participant costs.

Financial provisions provided by the U.S. Government will include:

• J-‐1 visa support;

Round-‐trip travel from Fellow’s home city to the U.S. and domestic U.S. travel as required by the program;

• A six-‐week academic and leadership institute;

• Concluding Summit in Washington, DC;

• Accident and sickness benefit plan;

• Housing and meals during the program;


• An optional six-‐week Professional Development Experience (for up to 100 Fellows).

• Please note: the Fellowship will not cover salary while Fellows are away from

work or funds for personal purchases such as gifts


Mandela Washington Fellowship Application Period: September 21st – October 26 2016

Interviews at Embassies: January – February 2017

Applicants are notified of their status – Mid-March 2017

Academic and Leadership Institutes & Summit (Optional Professional Development Experiences end September 15 – June 15 – August 3rd 2017

Selection Process

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 semifinalists will be interviewed by the U.S. embassies or consulates in their home countries.

If selected for an interview, applicants must provide a copy of their passport (if available) or other government-issued photo identification to verify eligibility.

Application Materials:

apply here

Visit: for more information 



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