2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship Application Now Available (500 young leaders)

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. The Mandela Washington Fellowship, which began in 2014, will bring 500 young leaders to the United States in summer 2015 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.

 Click here to  Apply for a Mandela Washington Fellowship

The online application for the Mandela Washington Fellowship is currently available. Completed applications, including all supporting documents, are due by 12:00 noon Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, November 5, 2014. All applications must be submitted via the online application system. The application instructions provide detailed information regarding the financial provisions of the fellowship, eligibility and selection criteria for the program, and details on applying. Please read the application instructions carefully prior to beginning the application. We recommend printing these instructions and referring to them while completing the application.

Mandela Washington Fellowship Application Process Timeline

October 7, 2014 Application opens
November 5, 2014 Application deadline
January – February 2015 Semifinalists interviewed by local U.S. embassies and consulates
April 2015 Applicants are notified of their status
May 2015 Visa processing for finalists
Mid-to-late June 2015 Fellowship begins in the United States


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 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;
  • Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English;
  • Are citizens of one of the following countries:

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape 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;

• Are residents of one of the above countries; and

• Are not alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

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.

The U.S. Department of State and IREX reserve the right to verify all of the information included in the application. In the event that there is a discrepancy, or information is found to be false, the application will immediately be declared invalid and the applicant ineligible.


How To Apply

 Click here to Apply for Mandela Washington Fellowship