Empowering Women with Disabilities in Lesotho

Since her Fellowship, Refiloehape Sesinyi hasn’t just empowered other people with disabilities in her community – she’s also empowering herself.

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Bridging the Gender Gap Through Entrepreneurship Training

Fellowship Alumni are empowering female entrepreneurs, giving them a seat at the table and building the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem.

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Transforming the Lives of Women in Uganda

2023 Leadership Impact Award Jamila Mayanja reflects on her work empowering women and girls in Uganda.

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Beyond the Goalposts

2022 Fellowship Alumnus Mirado Rakotoharimalala is creating new opportunities for Malagasy youth through professional soccer.

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Increasing Food Security through Innovation

2021 Alumnus and 2022 Catalyst Grant Winner Abdallah Mabrouck combines digital technology and direct support to deliver agricultural inputs to smallholder farmers in Tanzania.

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The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the U.S. Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Established in 2014, the Fellowship is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2024 and has brought nearly 6,500 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa to the United States for academic and leadership training. The Fellows, between the ages of 25 and 35, are accomplished innovators and leaders in their communities and countries.

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The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX.

Program Impact

  • 49

    Fellows have come from all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Sub-Saharan African Countries
  • 6,500

    Since 2014, nearly 6,500 Fellowship Alumni have completed the program.
    Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Network
  • 78,000

    Since 2014, Fellows have dedicated more than 78,000 hours to support U.S. communities during their Leadership Institutes.
    Hours of Support Dedicated to U.S. Communities
  • 2,400

    Since 2014, the Fellowship has engaged approximately 2,400 institutions from the private, nonprofit, governmental, and multilateral sectors across the United States during Institutes, PDEs, Reciprocal Exchanges, and the Summit.
    Companies and Organizations Engaged


Tackling food insecurity in Lesotho and rural southern Indiana

An agricultural startup founded by Purdue University alumni is addressing international food insecurity in the Kingdom of Lesotho and rural southern Indiana, with a goal to expand domestically and internationally.

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U.S. Educational Institutions to Host Mandela Washington Fellows  

January 31, 2024


Workplace Equity and Inclusion: Takeaways from the 2023 PDEs

October 31, 2023

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Learn more about the 2024 Mandela Washington Fellowship!

“I believe that the Mandela Washington Fellowship has made me a stronger and better leader and has challenged me to think outside the box… There can only be more, bigger, and better to come from me, my fellow Fellows, and the continent of Africa as a whole.”
– Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumna

Learn more about the 2024 Fellowship selection timeline and process, eligibility information, and more. We can't wait to meet the next Mandela Washington Fellows!

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  • September 13, 2023

    Application Deadline

  • Nov 2023-Jan 2024

    Semifinalists interviewed by local U.S. embassies and consulates

  • March 2024

    Applicants are notified of their status

  • May 2024

    Finalist visa processing and Pre-Fellowship Orientations

  • June 2024

    Fellowship begins in the United States

  • July 2024

    Summit takes place in Washington, D.C.