Update from the Mandela Washington Fellowship Regarding COVID-19

U.S. Educational Institutions to Virtually Host Mandela Washington Fellows

An important message from the Mandela Washington Fellowship

Launched in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies the U.S. commitment to invest in the future of Africa.  YALI was created in 2010 and supports young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.  Since 2014, nearly 4,400 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and with the health, safety, and well-being of Fellows and Partners as the highest priority, the U.S. Department of State is planning a virtual Fellowship for 2021.  While remaining in their home countries, Fellows will participate in virtual Leadership Institutes, which will include leadership training, mentoring, and professional development. 

Each Institute will offer insights into U.S. society and will help strengthen connections between the United States and Africa by establishing partnerships between Fellows, local communities, and private businesses.  Fellows will also network with U.S. community members.

After their Leadership Institutes, Fellows will participate in a virtual Summit.  Additionally, up to 100 competitively-selected Fellows will virtually engage in professional development with U.S. organizations in the public, private, or non-profit sector.  Fellows can participate in Alumni Programming after their Fellowships to further build their professional skills and networks.


Reciprocal Exchange component, LINC Grants postponed until 2021

Due to the current global health situation, and with the safety and well-being of participants as the highest priority, the U.S. Department of State has postponed travel for the Fellowship’s Reciprocal Exchange component and Leveraging Innovations in New Communities (LINC) Grants until 2021.  Participants who were selected for the Reciprocal Exchange and LINC Grants have been notified that they are eligible to defer their participation.

This is an emerging situation, and we encourage you to continue to check this page periodically for future program updates.

IREX is operating and open globally, and our team members are working virtually.  The Fellowship Team can be reached at MWFellowship@irex.org.


Update: Fellowship Notifications sent, program to take place in 2021 

Posted April 6, 2020

All applicants for the 2020 Mandela Washington Fellowship have been notified of their status at this time.  If you have not received an update notifying you of the status of your application, please contact the Fellowship Team at MWFellowship@irex.org

Due to the current global pandemic, and with the safety and well-being of Fellows and Partners as the highest priority, the U.S. Department of State has postponed the 2020 Fellowship until summer 2021. Applicants for the 2020 Fellowship who were selected as Finalists and Alternates have been notified that they are eligible to defer their participation until summer 2021. 

For applicants who were not selected, please note that IREX is unable to provide feedback on individual applications. 

This is an emerging situation, and we encourage you to continue to check this page periodically for future program updates. 

IREX is operating and open globally, and our team members are working virtually. The Fellowship Team can be reached at MWFellowship@irex.org


2020 Mandela Washington Fellowship Notifications

Posted March 29, 2020

Notifications for the U.S. Department of State’s 2020 Mandela Washington Fellowship are currently underway. All applicants will receive an email update on their application status on a rolling basis beginning March 30 through April 6, 2020.

IREX is operating and open globally, and our team members are working virtually.  The Fellowship Team can be reached at MWFellowship@irex.org.


Update from the Mandela Washington Fellowship Regarding COVID-19

Posted March 24, 2020

The U.S. Department of State is continuously monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and is working closely with IREX, the cooperative agency that implements the Mandela Washington Fellowship, and partner governments. The safety and security of Mandela Washington Fellows and Alumni, Reciprocal Exchange Awardees, and partners are our highest priority.  Please continue to visit this page for programming updates as they are available.

IREX is operating and open globally, and our team members are working virtually.  The Fellowship Team can be reached at MWFellowship@irex.org.

For general information regarding COVID-19, please visit the websites of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of State’s Coronavirus Information Page.