Unique Opportunities for 2021 Alumni

Upon successful completion of their virtual Fellowship, all 2021 Fellowship Alumni received a certificate of completion signed by a senior U.S. Government representative and official recognition as Alumni of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) International Exchange Alumni community. With this status comes a number of Alumni opportunities and resources, including competitively selected program activities and access to custom-designed online learning courses and collaboration tools through the Fellowship Portal.  As members of the broader U.S. Government International Exchange Alumni community, Fellowship Alumni will also have access to resources and activities offered by ECA’s Office of Alumni Affairs, the YALI Network, and U.S. embassies and consulates.

Additionally, new and unique opportunities will be available to the 2021 cohort of Mandela Washington Fellows in the coming weeks and months. These opportunities include:

Project Grants

A select number of Reciprocal Exchange Awards and LINC Grants (Fellowship-funded support for collaborative projects) will be reserved in the next recruitment cycle for applicants from the 2021 Fellow cohort, greatly increasing the chance of selection for these activities.

Unique Event Opportunity

A select number of 2021 Fellows may be invited to attend a future in-person, Fellowship-sponsored event in the United States or Africa.

International Leadership Association Membership

2021 Fellows who successfully complete their Leadership Institutes will receive a full year of membership in the International Leadership Association (ILA), the largest global community exclusively dedicated to advancing leadership knowledge and practice for a better world.  This opportunity includes access to virtual resources and a wide network of leadership experts in the United States and around the world.  Some Fellows may also be sponsored to participate in ILA’s annual conference in 2022. 

2021 Fellowship Alumni: Check Your Email for More Information

Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund

Through participating U.S. Embassies, 2021 Fellows may apply for up to $10,000 in grant funding from the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) to promote shared values and innovative solutions to global challenges.  Project proposals must include the involvement of at least three or more Alumni, or involve an Alumnus/a and an Alumni association, and must be led by an Alumnus/a from the 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship cohort.


Applications for the below opportunities are now closed.

Alumni Enrichment Institutes

Alumni Enrichment Institutes are a new opportunity for 2021 Fellowship Alumni to collaborate with U.S. counterparts and each other and to continue building the professional and leadership skills they developed during their virtual 2021 Leadership Institutes. Up to 200 eligible 2021 Fellowship Alumni will be competitively selected to travel to the U.S. in July and August 2022 for these three-week placements at U.S. institutions of higher education. Alumni Enrichment Institute programming will include experiential and discussion-based learning on topics such as the United States’ diverse culture and society, resiliency and ethics in leadership, and social justice principles that are broadly applicable to many fields and sectors.

Learn about the 2022 Alumni Enrichment Institutes host institutions.

The application period for this opportunity has closed.

2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship Catalyst Grant

Through a new partnership with D-Prize, a non-profit organization that works to distribute and scale proven technologies to benefit people in extreme poverty, approximately five 2021 Fellows will be selected to receive grants of up to $20,000 USD each to fund new social ventures or initiatives.  Finalists will be selected in March 2022. Learn more.

The application period for this opportunity has closed.

Virtual Professional Development Experiences (PDEs)

A new round of up to 30 virtual Professional Development Experiences (PDEs) will take place from January 31 – March 11, 2022, which will only be open to 2021 Fellows. All 2021 Fellows who successfully complete their Leadership Institutes and are not participating in the August – September 2021 PDEs will be eligible to apply.

The application period for this opportunity has closed.

USAID-USADF Entrepreneurship Grants

2021 Mandela Washington Fellows are also eligible for grant funding through a partnership between the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  Selected finalists could win grants of up to $25,000 in capital investment.  This is open to Fellows in good standing from all tracks who have received Alumni status.  Applicants should be running a social impact venture with a revenue-generating model.  Government employees or public officials are not eligible.

The application period for this opportunity has closed.