: United States of America.Type
: Fully Funded.
Application period for the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, is now open. The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. In 2017, the Fellowship will provide up to 1,000 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. college or university with support for professional development after they return home.
Academic and Leadership Institutes: Each Mandela Washington Fellow takes part in a six-week academic and leadership Institute at a U.S. college or university in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management.
Summit: Following the academic component of the Fellowship, the Fellows visit Washington, D.C., for a Summit featuring networking and panel discussions with U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
Professional Development Experience: 100 selected Fellows remain in the United States to participate in a six-week professional development experience with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and governmental agencies that relate to their professional interests and goals.
Africa-based Activities: Upon returning to their home countries, Fellows continue to build the skills they have developed during their time in the United States through support from U.S. embassies, four Regional Leadership Centers, the YALI Network, and customized programming from USAID, the Department of State, and affiliated partners. Through these experiences, select Mandela Washington Fellows have access to ongoing professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking and training, and support for their ideas, businesses, and organizations.
There is no fee to apply to the Mandela Washington Fellowship. If you are selected for the Fellowship, the U.S. government will cover all participant costs. Financial provisions provided by the U.S. Government will include:
- J-1 visa support;
- Round-trip travel from Fellow’s home city to the U.S. and domestic U.S. travel as required by the program;
- A six-week academic and leadership institute;
- Concluding Summit in Washington, DC;
- Accident and sickness benefit plan;
- Housing and meals during the program;
- An optional six-week Professional Development Experience (for up to 100 Fellows).
Please note: the Fellowship will not cover salary while Fellows are away from work or funds for personal purchases such as gifts.
Applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is open to young African leaders who meet the following criteria:
- Are between the ages of 25 and 35 at the time of application submission, although exceptional applicants younger than 25 will be considered;
- Are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.;
- Are eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa;
- Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English;
- Are citizens and residents of one of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Selection panels will use the following criteria to evaluate applications (not in order of importance):
- A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement;
- A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship;
- The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of others;
- Strong social and communication skills;
- An energetic, positive attitude;
- Demonstrated knowledge, interest and professional experience in the sector/track selected;
- A commitment to return to Africa and apply leadership skills and training to benefit the applicant’s country and/or community after they return home.
- September 21, 2016: Application opens;
- October 26, 2016: Application deadline;
- December 2016 – February 2017: Semifinalists interviewed by local U.S. embassies and consulates;
- Late March 2017: Applicants are notified of their status;
- April-May 2017: Visa processing for finalists;
- Mid-June 2017: Fellowship begins in the United States.
- The application will collect basic information and will include questions regarding the applicant’s professional and academic experience, including educational background; honors and awards received; extracurricular and volunteer activities; and English language proficiency.
- They will also request a résumé (with dated educational and professional background), and personal information (name, address, phone, email, country of citizenship).
- Additional elements, such as letters of recommendation or university transcripts, are OPTIONAL and may supplement your application.