Leading in a Crisis

How Laud Anthony Basing, 2016 Fellowship Alumnus, led his team at Incas Diagnostics to success during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Promoting COVID-19 awareness through music

Learn how 2015 Fellowship Alumna Grace Jerry is reaching people of all abilities through song.

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Increasing access to information about COVID-19

Two Fellowship Alumni are committed to ensuring important information about COVID-19 can be accessed by all.

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Advocating for women with disabilities

2014 Fellowship Alumna Lois Auta is amplifying the voices of women with disabilities and using her platform to inspire people around the world.

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Bringing Africa to the world through e-commerce

Since his Fellowship in 2014, Vital Sounouvou’s company Exportunity has grown from an idea to a thriving e-commerce marketplace and fintech company focused on helping Africa trade with the world.

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The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. The Fellowship brings young leaders to the United States for academic coursework and leadership training and creates unique opportunities for Fellows and Americans to collaborate as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa and the United States.

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The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX.

Program Impact

  • 49

    Fellows have come from all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Sub-Saharan African Countries
  • 4,400

    Since 2014, nearly 4,400 Fellowship Alumni have completed the program.
    Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Network
  • 2,300

    Since 2014, the program has engaged more than 2,300 institutions from the private, nonprofit, governmental, and multilateral sectors across the United States during Institutes, PDEs, Reciprocal Exchanges, and the Summit.
    Companies and Organziations Engaged
  • 39,000

    Since 2016, Fellows have dedicated more than 39,000 hours of service to support U.S. communities during their Leadership Institutes.
    Hours of Support Dedicated to U.S. Communities


Leading in a crisis: how one Fellowship Alumnus led his team to success during the COVID-19 pandemic

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies and organizations worldwide have adopted creative strategies to keep their enterprises afloat. For companies in fragile economies, staying relevant amid the current...

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Four Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni selected as YouthLead Ambassadors

January 17, 2020


Fellowship Alumni pitch businesses and build networks at Africa Investor Week

December 10, 2019

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How are you contributing to the next generation of African Leaders?

“I believe that the Mandela Washington Fellowship has made me a stronger and better leader and has challenged me to think outside the box… There can only be more, bigger, and better to come from me, my fellow Fellows, and the continent of Africa as a whole.”
– Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumuna

The application period for the 2020 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders has closed. Check out the 2020 Fellowship Application timeline and process, eligibility information, and more by clicking here. We can't wait to meet the next Mandela Washington Fellows!

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  • October 9, 2019

    Application closed

  • Oct - Nov 2019

    Application review

  • Dec 2019 - Feb 2020

    Semifinalists interviewed by local U.S. embassies and consulates

  • Late March 2020

    Applicants are notified of their status

  • May 2020

    Finalist visa processing and Pre-Departure Orientations

  • Mid-June 2020

    Fellowship begins in the United States