The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders 2021

Applications are invited to the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders 2021.

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.

During the Fellowship, the Fellows participate in six-week Leadership Institutes, studying Business, Civic Engagement, or Public Management hosted by U.S. colleges or universities.  Throughout the Institutes, Fellows enrich local U.S. communities while sharing best practices


The Fellowship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for candidates to:

  • Attend a Summit with young African leaders in Washington, D.C.
  • Participate in a six-week Leadership Institute at a U.S. college or university to share their experiences with and learn from U.S. citizens and other Fellows.
  • Explore industries beyond their daily work and expand your expertise.
  • Meet with U.S. Government, civic, and business leaders.
  • Strengthen their work through new connections, skills, and ideas.


The Mandela Washington Fellowship is open to young African leaders who meet the following criteria:

  • They are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States;
  • Must between the ages of 25 and 35 on or before the application deadline;
  • 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, or other U.S. Government entity);
  • Have proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking English (additional guidance coming for applicants who are deaf);
  • Are residents of one of the AU countries; and
  • Are not Alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.
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Selection Criteria

The following criteria will be used to evaluate applications (not in order of importance):

  • A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in business, civic engagement, or public service;
  • An energetic, positive attitude;
  • A demonstrated knowledge of, interest in, and professional experience in the preferred sector/track; and
  • 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;
  • 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.

To apply, click here

Application Deadline: September 15, 2021.

For more information and application, visit the official site.

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