The 2016 YALI Fellowship will train 1,000 young African leaders across three tracks, which include business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership and public management. The 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship is a six-weeks in-depth academic and leadership training at 20 top American universities.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. The Fellowship provides 1,000 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. higher education institution with support for professional development after they return home.
In the summer of 2016, the Mandela Washington Fellowship will bring 1,000 young African leaders to the United States for academic coursework and leadership training and will create unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organizations, communities, and countries.
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.
Individuals residing in Eritrea and Zimbabwe may not apply to the Public Management track. Residents of Sudan may only apply for the Civic Leadership track.
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.
- The Mandela Washington Fellowship is conducted as a merit-based open competition. After the deadline, all eligible applications will be reviewed by a selection panel.
- Chosen semifinalists will be interviewed by the U.S. embassies or consulates in their home countries.
- If selected for an interview, applicants must provide a copy of their passport (if available) or other government-issued photo identification to verify eligibility.
- October 1, 2015: Application opens
- November 11, 2015: Application closes
- January-February 2016: Semifinalists interviewed by local U.S. Embassies and Consulates
- March 2016: Applicants are notified of their status
- April-May 2016: Visa processing for finalists
- Mid-June 2016: Fellowship starts in the United States
P.S. If you are looking for more information about the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship application, stay tuned to the YALI Network Facebook page for more details on an upcoming #YALICHAT from October 7-9th.
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