The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Initiated by President Obama in 2010, YALI aims to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.
In the summer of 2017, the Mandela Washington Fellowship will bring up to 1,000 young African leaders to the United States for six weeks of academic coursework and leadership training at a US university or college, focusing on one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management. The intensive Institute model combines academic sessions, leadership training, site visits, professional networking, community service, and cultural activities to maximize learning and cultural exchange. Up to 100 Fellows will also have the opportunity to participate in additional six-week professional development experiences at US NGOs, private companies, and government agencies.
The 2,000 Mandela Washington Fellow alumni from 2014 to 2016 include entrepreneurs, innovators, NGO leaders, community activists, journalists, agriculture specialists, health professionals, educators, civil servants, and political leaders from all 49 sub-Saharan African countries.
For many young African leaders, the Fellowship is a life-changing experience. A 2016 Fellow remarked, “The Mandela Washington Fellowship has given me the knowledge and networks that will help me excel. I know now that there are no limits to what I will achieve.”
Fellows make lasting connections with Americans and with each other, both professionally and personally, and are supported in their efforts to share their talents and experience to benefit their communities when they return home.