Expanding Opportunities through International Exchange

In 2019, more than 100 Americans traveled to Sub-Saharan Africa to collaborate on projects with Mandela Washington Fellows.

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What’s next for the 2020 Fellowship Application process?

The application period for the 2020 Mandela Washington Fellowship is closed. Check out the selection criteria and timeline.

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Mandela Washington Fellows convene in Washington

Hundreds of young African leaders gathered in Washington, D.C., for the 2019 Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit.

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About us

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). 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 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 sponsored by 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

    Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni
  • 45 Million

    Number of employees, beneficiaries, and stakeholders impacted by Fellows' business and non-profits since 2014.
    People Reached
  • 39,000

    Approximate number of hours dedicated to support U.S. communities during Fellows' Leadership Institutes since 2016.
    Hours of Support Dedicated to U.S. Communities


Energizing Voices — Gwaliwa Mashaka

In honor of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, USAID Power Africa highlights the work of 2016 Fellow Gwaliwa Mashaka from Tanzania. Gwaliwa's experience with hearing loss inspired her to...

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Fellow Alumni pitch businesses and build networks at Africa Investor Week

December 10, 2019


Mandela Washington Fellowship receives International Innovative Educator of the Year award

November 14, 2019

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Learn more about how to be a part of 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.”
– 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow

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