The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders
U.S. Embassy Djibouti is excited to announce the 2024 Mandela Washington Fellowship application window is open from August 15 to September 12, 2023. Please visit https://www.mandelawashingtonfellowship.org/apply/ for complete application information and to apply!
About the Program
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 6,500 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. 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. 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.
Who is eligible to apply?
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 on or before the application deadline, although exceptional applicants ages 21-24 will be considered;
- Are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States;
- Are eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa;
- 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);
- Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English (additional guidance coming for applicants who are deaf)
- Are citizens of one of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, 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, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, or Zimbabwe;
- Are residents of one of the above countries; and
- Are not Alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.
Please note that Fellows are not allowed to have dependents, including spouses and children, accompany them during the Fellowship.
The U.S. Department of State and IREX reserve the right to verify all information included in the application. In the event of a discrepancy, or if information is found to be false, the application will immediately be declared invalid and the applicant ineligible.
What are the criteria for selection?
The following criteria will be used to evaluate applications (not in order of importance):
- A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in business or entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and/or public/government service;
- A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship;
- The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and to respect the opinions of others;
- Strong social and communication skills;
- An energetic, positive, and flexible attitude;
- A demonstrated knowledge of, interest in, and professional experience in the preferred sector/Fellowship track and concrete goals for applying lessons knowledge and skills gained from the Fellowship to current and/or future work; and
- A commitment to return to Sub-Saharan Africa and contribute skills and talents to build and serve their communities.
- August 15, 2023| Application opens
- September 12, 2023| Application deadline
- November 2023 – January 2024| Semifinalists interviewed by local U.S. embassies and consulates
- March 2024| Applicants are notified of their status
- May 2024| Visa processing and Pre-Departure Orientations for Finalists
- June 2024| Fellowship begins in the United States
For more information on the YALI-Mandela Washington Fellowship Program, please visit https://www.mandelawashingtonfellowship.org/apply/