Applications for Alumni PDEs Now Open

Woman in traditional dress sits behind a laptop and smiles at camera
2021 Fellow Josephine Kamara of Sierra Leone participated in a virtual PDE with the Global Fund for Women.

Applications are now closed.

The U.S. Department of State and IREX are pleased to announce that the application for the 2024 Alumni Professional Development Experience (PDE), open to Fellowship Alumni from all cohort years, is now open.

Alumni PDEs provide Fellowship Alumni who have not previously participated in a PDE with the valuable opportunity to further hone their professional skills and connect with U.S. professionals working in the same industries. The robust virtual model includes a combination of synchronous (live) and asynchronous (on their own time) work, along with virtual networking and other professional development opportunities.

Alumni PDEs will take place from January 22 to March 1, 2024.  Alumni PDE Participants must plan their schedules to accommodate synchronous (live) activities agreed upon with their PDE Host but will not need to take a leave of absence from work in order to fully participate.  Participants should expect to commit an average of approximately 10-15 hours per week to the PDE.  The required weekly time commitment will allow Participants to fully engage while managing their personal and professional responsibilities.  Participants will receive a $600 participation stipend to offset costs for technology and other needs that support their ability to fully participate in the PDE.

While Participants will participate in the Alumni PDEs from their home communities, they will be able to engage with their peers across the continent through structured programming elements that will allow them to develop strong ties within their PDE cohort.

Composite of 2 photos; left shows woman in headscarf at a computer; right shows men planting in a field
During the 2021 Fellowship, 70 Fellows participated in virtual PDEs. Left to right: Farida Yahya Habu of Nigeria worked virtually with UPS on their green and women’s exporter programs during her PDE with UPS; colleagues of Thierno Souleymane Diop Niang plant new strawberry varieties as a part of plant trials in the U.S. and Senegal.

Application Information

Eligibility Requirements and Selection Criteria

Applicants must be Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni in good standing who have not previously participated in a PDE and who will be residing in one of the 49 sub-Saharan African countries for the duration of the PDE period.

Eligible applicants will be reviewed using the following selection criteria:

  • Demonstrated potential for growth and learning through the PDE, regardless of years of prior work experience. 
  • Clear focus on specific goals for the PDE and demonstrated vision of how their career will progress through participation in the PDE. 
  • Identification of transferable skills to be gained through the PDE and openness to a variety of learning experiences, rather than a focus on a specific type of host institution.  
  • Demonstrated English fluency.   
  • Strong sense of expertise, experience, and networks they can contribute to a U.S. Host Organization.

Taking these criteria into account, the Fellowship Team will also strive for balance across countries, genders, tracks, and industries within the selected PDE cohort.  

Application and Program Timeline

  • Application Opens | August 16, 2023
  • Application Deadline | September 13, 2023
  • PDE Period | January 22 – March 1, 2024

Application Requirements

To apply, Fellowship Alumni are required to:

  1. Complete and submit the online application.
  2. Submit a video interview through VidCruiter.  Fellows should allow 10-30 minutes to complete the interview.  Instructions and a link to record the interview will be sent to you after you submit the online application.

All completed applications received by 11:59 EDT, September 13, 2023 will be evaluated competitively against the eligibility requirements and selection criteria. 


Email the Fellowship Team at