Ten Questions with Tony

On April 27, 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Fellowship Alumni and other members of the YALI Network during his virtual visit to Africa.

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Supporting Farmers Through Renewable Energy

2016 Fellowship Alumnus Dysmus Kisilu is helping rural farmers reduce post-harvest loss through mobile solar-powered cold storage units.

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Developing Communities through Cross-Continent Alumni Partnerships

LINC grants provide small grants for Fellowship Alumni to pursue professional collaborations within the Alumni Network.

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Preparing Deaf Fellows for Success

Since 2017, the Fellowship has partnered with Gallaudet University to help Deaf Fellows strengthen their ASL skills and get ready for their Fellowships.

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Celebrating #ADA30

Since the inception of the Fellowship, disability inclusion has been a high priority, with 5% of the Fellowship’s nearly 4,400 Alumni self-identifying as having a disability.

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The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the U.S. Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). YALI was created in 2010 and celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2020. Established in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship has brought nearly 4,400 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa to the United States for academic and leadership training. The Fellows, between the ages of 25 and 35, are accomplished innovators and leaders in their communities and countries.

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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


Preserving Folklore Through the Art of Storytelling

As a storyteller and artist, 2019 Fellowship Alumna Elizabeth Mwambulukutu of Tanzania collaborates with tribal leaders in eastern Tanzania to record local folklore through her Hapo Zamani za Kale initiative.

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Ten Questions with Tony: Secretary Blinken's Virtual Visit with the YALI Network

April 27, 2021


Host a Fellow for the Virtual 2021 Professional Development Experience

March 24, 2021

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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