Applications Extended for the 2022 Reciprocal Exchange Component

Through October 20, 2021, Fellowship Alumni and their U.S. collaborators can apply to implement a Reciprocal Exchange in 2022.

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Calling All Educational Institutions

Learn more about how your institution can host a 2022 Leadership Institute. Applications will be accepted through October 15, 2021.

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Hundreds of Young African Leaders Convene Virtually to Collaborate on Resilience and Inclusion

Learn more about the virtual 2021 Summit, keynote and plenary speakers, and more.

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Seeking Readers for 2022 Fellowship Applications

The U.S. Department of State and IREX seek academic, professional, and regional experts to read and score applications for the 2022 Fellowship.

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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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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
  • 5,100

    Since 2014, nearly 5,100 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


Global Founders Podcast: Supporting Families and Children with Special Needs

Tobiloba Ajayi and Racheal Inegbedion, 2016 and 2021 Fellowship Alumnae, are passionate advocates for improving the quality of life of families with special needs children in Nigeria. Learn more in...

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Apply Now for the 2022 Reciprocal Exchange Component

September 16, 2021


Opportunities for Host Educational Institutions for 2022 Fellowship

September 2, 2021

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Learn more about the 2022 Mandela Washington Fellowship!

“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 Alumna

The 2022 Fellowship Application is now closed. Check out the 2022 Fellowship Application timeline and process, eligibility information, and more. We can't wait to meet the next Mandela Washington Fellows!

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  • September 15, 2021

    Application Closed

  • Nov 2021-Jan 2022

    Semifinalists interviewed by local U.S. embassies and consulates

  • Late March 2022

    Applicants are notified of their status

  • April-May 2022

    Finalist visa processing and Pre-Departure Orientations

  • June 2022

    Fellowship begins in the United States

  • July 2022

    2022 Fellowship Summit takes place