Seeking Readers for 2025 Fellowship Applications

Fellows participate in a classroom discussion.

The U.S. Department of State and IREX are seeking academic, professional, and regional experts to read and score applications for the 2025 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.  Over the first nine years of the Fellowship, the program received nearly 434,000 applications from 49 sub-Saharan African countries for 7,200 Fellow slots. Your talents and expertise in helping score our high volume of applications are greatly appreciated!

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).  The Fellowship brings young leaders to the United States for academic coursework and leadership training to create unique opportunities for Fellows and U.S. citizens to collaborate, spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa and the United States.  In summer 2025, the Fellowship will bring up to 700 young leaders to the United States for a comprehensive executive-stye program designed to build skills and empower Fellows to lead in their respective sectors and communities. 

Responsibilities and Reading Period

Readers will be responsible for evaluating approximately 50 applications based on set guidelines and a scoring rubric.  This is a great volunteer professional development and résumé-building opportunity for professionals or degree-seeking individuals. Readers will gain exposure to challenges and proposed solutions in sub-Saharan Africa and to key processes in international and higher education.  

Interested applicants may apply by completing the Reader Application form by September 1, 2024. The reading period will begin in mid-September and last until early November 2024. Each application takes about 5-10 minutes to read. We will reach out to selected Readers in September 2024.    


Ideal readers are academics and/or professionals with expertise in one or more of the Fellowship’s thematic areas (business, civic engagement, or public management), or who have experience working in Africa or on sub-Saharan African issues.  U.S. Government employees and Fellowship Alumni are eligible.  Applicants for the 2024 Fellowship are not eligible to be readers.


Please contact the Fellowship Team at with any questions.