U.S. Embassy Djibouti Launches the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship Program

Media Advisory | September 12, 2017

The U.S. Embassy Djibouti will open the four-week application period for the 2018 YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship on September 13, 2017 and invites all interested candidates in Djibouti to apply for this professional development program.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), created in 2014 to deepen the United States’ engagement with the youth of Africa.  The Fellowship has achieved success well beyond expectations in the past three years, and will once again engage young leaders from all over the continent.  The program begins with six weeks of academic and leadership training at a U.S. university with a focus in one of three tracks:  Business and Entrepreneurship; Civic Leadership; or Public Management, followed by a summit in Washington, D.C. attended by business, government, and NGO leaders.  Some selected Fellows will also participate in a six-week professional development experience with an American NGO, company, or government office.

U.S.-based Activities

Academic and Leadership Institutes: Each Mandela Washington Fellow takes part in a six- week academic and leadership institute at a U.S. university or college in one of three tracks: business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, or public management.

Presidential Summit: Following the academic component of the Fellowship, the Fellows visit Washington, D.C. for a Presidential summit. During the three-day event, Fellows take part in networking and panel discussions with U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Professional Development Experience: Selected Fellows remain in the U.S. to participate in a six-week professional development experience with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and governmental agencies related to their professional interests and goals.

Africa-based Activities

Upon returning to their home countries, Fellows continue to build the skills they have developed during their time in the United States through support from U.S. embassies, Regional Leadership Centers, the YALI Network, and customized programming from affiliated partners. Mandela Washington Fellows have access to ongoing professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking and training, and seed funding to support their ideas, businesses, and organizations.

Who is eligible to apply?

Young leaders should apply online at www.YALI.state.gov.  The time-limited application period opens September 13 and closes October 11.  Participants must:

  • Be a citizen and resident of South Africa (or one of the other participating countries).
  • Speak and write proficiently in English.
  • Be 25-35 years old when the application is submitted.
  • Have a proven record of leadership and accomplishment in 1) public service, 2) business or entrepreneurship, or 3) civic engagement.
  • Demonstrate commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship.
  • Be committed to return to Africa and use their skills to serve their community.

Applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

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.  Selection panels evaluate applications based on:

  • Proven record of leadership and accomplishment in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engage
  • Demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or me
  • Ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of other
  • Strong social and communication skills.
  • Energetic, positive attitude.
  • Demonstrated knowledge, interest, and professional experience in the sector/track selection
  • Commitment to return to Africa and apply leadership skills and training to benefit the applicant’s country and/or community after they return home.

For further information, go to Mandela Washington Fellowship Program ; follow the Embassy on Facebook  and Twitter .