The Mandela Washington Fellowship 2023 for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the U.S. Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Since 2014, nearly 5,800 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.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship will bring up to 700 young leaders to the United States in the summer of 2023 for a comprehensive executive-style programme that is designed to build skills and empower Fellows to lead in their respective sectors and communities.
The Fellowship Provides an Opportunity to…
- Participate in a six-week Leadership Institute at a U.S. college or university to share your experiences with and learn from U.S. citizens and other Fellows.
- Explore industries beyond your daily work and expand your expertise.
- Participate in a Summit with young African leaders.
- Meet with U.S. Government, civic, and business leaders.
- Strengthen your work through new connections, skills, and ideas.
- Join a continental and global Alumni Network to help you seek innovative solutions to common challenges.
See also, CWW Tech Africa Training for Young Africans.
Mandela Washington Fellowship 2023 Components
During the Fellowship, the Fellows participate in six-week Leadership Institutes, studying Business, Civic Engagement, or Public Management hosted by U.S. colleges or universities. Throughout the Institutes, Fellows enrich local U.S. communities while sharing best practices.
Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit
After the Institutes, Fellows convene for a Summit, 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.
Professional Development Experiences (PDEs)
Fellows may apply for the opportunity to work with private, public, and non-profit organizations for up to six weeks, either immediately following the Summit during their Fellowship or as Alumni. Both Fellows and Hosts benefit from discussing shared issues and challenges in their sectors, broadening their perspectives, and positioning U.S. organisations for international engagement.
U.S. citizens have the opportunity to apply to implement projects in sub-Saharan African countries to continue collaborative work with Fellowship Alumni on the continent. These partnerships and professional connections are intended to form lasting relationships, expand markets and networks, and increase mutual understanding.
Opportunities for Alumni
Fellowship Alumni continue to build the skills and connections developed during the program through access to ongoing professional development, networking, and collaboration opportunities with support from the U.S. Department of State and affiliated partners.
The Fellowship leverages stakeholder expertise to deliver a suite of virtual programming for the Fellowship Network to support their continued leadership development and strengthen their access to networks and resources.
See also, UNCTAD eTrade For Women Masterclass 2022.
Applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, socioeconomic 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 on or before the application deadline, although exceptional applicants ages 21-24 will be considered;
- Are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States;
- Are eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa;
- Are not employees or immediate family members of employees of the U.S. Government (including a U.S. embassy or consulate, USAID, or other U.S. Government entity);
- Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English (additional guidance coming for applicants who are deaf);
- Are citizens of one of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 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;
- Are residents of one of the above countries; and
- Are not Alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.
What are the Criteria for Selection?
The following criteria will be used to evaluate applications (not in order of importance):
- A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in business, civic engagement, or public service;
- A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship;
- The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and to respect the opinions of others;
- Strong social and communication skills;
- An energetic, positive attitude;
- A demonstrated knowledge of, interest in, and professional experience in the preferred sector/track; and
- 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.
See also, The Mo Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships 2023.