Meet the 2023 Leadership Impact Award Winner

Jamila Mayanja, 2015 Fellowship Alumna, is a social entrepreneur and educator who empowers women and girls to transform their lives and communities across Uganda.

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2022 Catalyst Grant Winner Increases Food Security

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

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Embarking on a Transformative Journey

Learn more about 2023 Alumna Rose Joseph’s Fellowship experience in her own words.

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Making Waves in South Africa

2018 Fellowship Alumnus Nigel Savel’s non-profit organization is helping promote positive change across Cape Town’s coastal townships.

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Amplifying African Voices in Climate Change

Read about 2022 LIA Winner Marie Christina Kolo’s experience at COP 27 in this photo essay.

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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). YALI was created in 2010 and celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2020. Established in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship 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
  • 67,000

    Since 2014, Fellows have dedicated more than 67,000 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


Navigating Through The Unfamiliar: Finding Our Place As Leaders With Disabilities

Brian Waihenya is a 2023 Fellowship Alumnus from Kenya. Brian is a writer and disability rights advocate, focusing on creating awareness about issues faced by people who are disabled in...

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Hundreds of Young African Leaders Continue Collaboration in Washington

August 7, 2023


Meet the 2023 Leadership Impact Award Winner: Jamila Mayanja

August 2, 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