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Mandela Washington Fellowship

The Fellowship is the flagship program of the US Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. In 2020, the Fellowship will provide 700 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.

About

Since 2014, nearly 4,400 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in the Fellowship. The Fellows, between the ages of 25 and 35, are accomplished leaders and have established records of promoting innovation and positive impact in their communities and countries. 

Each year, the Fellows participate in six-week Leadership Institutes, studying Business, Civic Engagement, or Public Management at U.S. colleges or universities.  During their time on campus, Fellows connect with Americans and enrich local U.S. communities while sharing best practices.

After the Institutes, Fellows convene for a multi-day Summit in Washington, D.C., where they forge connections with one another and U.S. leaders from the private, public, and non-profit sectors, setting the stage for long-term engagement between the United States and Africa.

Following the Summit, a group of competitively-selected Fellows remains in the United States for four weeks to work with private, public, and non-profit organizations. Both Fellows and Hosts benefit from discussing shared issues and challenges in their sectors, broadening their perspectives, and positioning U.S. organizations for international engagement.

Upon returning home, Fellows continue to build on the skills and connections developed during their time in the United States through access to ongoing professional development, networking, and collaboration opportunities with support from the U.S. Department of State and affiliated partners.

Eligibility

  • Between the ages of 25 and 35 on or before the application deadline;
  • Citizen 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, Eswatini, 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, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, or Zimbabwe;
  • Not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and eligible for a J-1 visa;
  • Not an employee or immediate family member of a U.S. Government employee;
  • Proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English;
  • Not a former participant of the Mandela Washington Fellowship program.

Selection Process

The Mandela Washington Fellowship selection process is a merit-based open competition.  After the deadline, all eligible applications will be reviewed by independent readers.  Following this review, chosen semi-finalists will be interviewed by the U.S. embassies or consulates in their home countries.  Selected semi-finalists will be required to participate in these in-person interviews in their home country within Africa.  If advanced to the semi-finalist round, applicants must provide a copy of their international passport (if available) or other government-issued photo identification at the time of the interview.  Selected Finalists are required to attend the mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation in their home country within Africa.

Contact and Information

For more information visit the programme website: https://www.mandelawashingtonfellowship.org/about/