Learn About What’s Next! Applications for the 2020 Fellowship Application Are Now Closed

2019 Fellows pose for a photo at Boise State University wearing colorful traditional tress.

The 2020 Mandela Washington Fellowship application period is now closed. Learn more about what’s next by viewing the selection criteria and timeline.

The U.S. Department of State accepted applications for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders from September 12 to October 9, 2019.

Begun in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. In summer 2020, the Fellowship will host up to 700 young African leaders. 

Fellows will travel to U.S. university or college campuses for six-week Leadership Institutes in one of three tracks: Business, Civic Engagement, or Public Management.  For more details on the sector tracks, please review the application instructions

The intensive six-week Institute model uses leadership development as the framework to create links between academic sessions, a strengths-based Common Leadership Curriculum, site visits, community service, and cultural activities.  Fellows in all three themes will gain both theoretical knowledge and practical skills, and the Institutes will take place from mid-June to late July 2020.  The Institutes will culminate in a Summit in Washington, D.C., featuring networking and panel discussions with U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. 

Additionally, up to 70 competitively-selected Fellows will remain in the United States to participate in individually tailored four-week Professional Development Experiences (PDE) at an NGO, business, or government agency throughout the United States. The PDE offers Fellows practical training and the opportunity to learn transferable skills, expand their professional networks, and apply concepts learned at the Institutes to real-world situations in the U.S. context.  

Upon returning to their home countries, Fellows will continue to build their leadership skills through support from U.S. embassies, USAID, and affiliated partners through networking opportunities, ongoing professional development, and mentoring. 

For information on the application and selection process, eligibility, application and selection timeline, and more, please visit our application page.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX.