Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

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Applications are now being accepted for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a flagship program of the U.S. government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The Mandela Washington Fellowship will bring up to 700 young African leaders to the United States during summer 2023.

For information, the YALI was launched in 2010 by the U.S. government to support young African leaders in their efforts to stimulate growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security throughout sub-Saharan Africa.


Leadership Institutes (six weeks):

A six-week program used to support the development of fellows’ leadership skills through academic study, workshops, mentoring, networking with U.S. leaders, and collaboration with U.S. citizens. The institutes offer three skill development tracks: Leadership in Business, Leadership in Civic Engagement, and Leadership in Public Management.

A Summet (two days) :

After the institutes, the fellows gather for a summit in Washington, D.C. This event is an opportunity for Fellows to lay the groundwork for lasting partnerships with American professionals and each other, and to make plans to continue their leadership journey after their Fellowship.

Professional Development Experience (four weeks):

Upon completion of their Leadership Institutes and the Summit, up to 100 fellows are competitively selected to stay in the United States and gain an additional four weeks of work experience with a private, public, or nonprofit organization. Fellows should expect to spend 35-40 hours per week supporting and collaborating with their host organization, as well as learning transferable skills in the U.S. context.

Reciprocal exchanges :

The reciprocal exchange component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship offers U.S. professionals the opportunity to engage in collaborative projects with former fellows in sub-Saharan Africa, building on the professional relationships developed during the fellowship.


If you are selected for the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the U.S. government will cover all the program costs:

  • J-1 visa coverage.
  • Round-trip travel from the scholar’s home city to the United States and domestic travel within the United States as required by the program.
  • A six-week leadership institute.
  • A closing summit in Washington, D.C.
  • A limited accident and illness insurance plan.
  • Housing and meals during the program.

Personal expenses are on the fellow.


The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a merit-based competition open to young African leaders who meet the following criteria:

  • Be between the ages of 25 and 35 on or before the application deadline, although exceptional applicants between the ages of 21 and 24 will be considered.
  • Proficiency in reading, writing and speaking English (additional guidance will be given to deaf applicants).
  • Citizens and residents of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, 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, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia or Zimbabwe.

Applicants for the Mandela Washington Fellowship will not be discriminated based on race, color, sex, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Mandela Washington Fellows are not permitted to have dependents, including spouses and children, accompany them during the program.

People with disabilities are encouraged to apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship.


  • September 13, 2022: Application deadline.
  • November 2022 – January 2023: Semifinalists interviewed by local U.S. embassies and consulates.
  • March 2023: Applicants are notified of their status.
  • May 2023: Visa processing and pre-departure orientation for finalists.
  • June 2023: Fellowship begins in the United States.


Les candidatures à la bourse Mandela Washington doivent être soumises en utilisant le système de candidature en ligne à l’adresse La date limite de dépôt des candidatures est fixée à 16h00/4h00 GMT le mardi 13 septembre 2022.

Applications for the Mandela Washington Fellowship must be submitted using the online application system at The deadline for applications is 4:00 pm/4:00 GMT on Tuesday, September 13, 2022.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is an open competition based on merit. All eligible applications will be reviewed by independent readers. Following this review, selected semifinalists will be interviewed by U.S. embassies or consulates in their home countries. Selected semi-finalists will be required to participate in these interviews in person in their home country in Africa. If advancing to the semifinalist 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 must attend the mandatory pre-departure orientation in their home country in Africa.


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