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Fully Funded YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship For Young African Leaders, USA 2023

Application is now open for the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship For Young African Leaders. Interested applicants are encouraged to send their applications in before the deadline date.

About the Fellowship

Up to 700 young leaders will travel to the US in the summer of 2024 as part of the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship, an extensive executive-style program that aims to provide Fellows with the leadership abilities they need to take charge in their particular industries and communities.

There is an open competition for the Mandela Washington Fellowship that is merit-based. Independent reviewers will go through all qualified submissions after the deadline. The U.S. embassies or consulates in the candidates’ home countries will interview the semi-finalists who made it through this assessment process. These in-person interviews will be held in the semi-finalists’ home countries in Africa if they are chosen. 


If they advance to the semi-finalist round, candidates must provide a copy of their foreign passport (if available) or other government-issued photo identification at the time of the interview. The shortlisted finalists must go to their native Africa to take part in the Pre-Fellowship Orientation.

The Fellowship provides an unrivaled chance to…

  • To share your experiences with locals and other Fellows while also benefiting from them, enroll in a six-week Leadership Institute at a college or institution in the United States.
  • Investigate subjects outside of your usual career to broaden your understanding.
  • Participate in a Summit with future African leaders.
  • Meet with representatives of the American business community, government, and community.
  • To improve your work, develop new relationships, skills, and concepts.
  • Join an Alumni Network in your area or around the world to aid in your search for novel solutions to common issues.

Details about YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship For Young African Leaders:

Scholarship Sponsor: U.S. Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)

Scholarship Value: Varies

Number of awards: N/A

Study level: Masters

Host Institution(s): U.S. Government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)

Eligibility Criteria for YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship For Young African Leaders

It is prohibited to discriminate against candidates based on their gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or socioeconomic status. The YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship is open to young African leaders who meet the following criteria:

  • As of the application deadline, are 25 to 35 years old, with outstanding individuals between the ages of 21 and 24 also being considered;
  • Neither citizens nor permanent residents of the United States;
  • Are eligible to get a J-1 visa for the US;
  • Are not affiliated in any manner with any government employee, including USAID or any other component of the government, and do not work for the United States government;
  • Possess the ability to read, write, and speak English (applicants who are deaf will get additional instruction);
  • Are citizens of one of the following countries: Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, or Zimbabwe, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau;
  • Are citizens of one of the aforementioned nations and are not former Mandela Washington Fellows.

Please be aware that during the Fellowship, Fellows are not permitted to bring along their wives or children.

Selection Criteria

The following criteria will be used to evaluate applications (in no particular order of importance):

  • an established history of achievement and leadership in business, entrepreneurship, community service, and/or public or government service; 
  • a history of community involvement, mentorship, or public or private service; the ability to accept others’ viewpoints and work well with people in a variety of groupings; 
  • high levels of social and communicative ability; 
  • a vivacious, upbeat, and adaptable attitude; 
  • a clear plan for incorporating the information and abilities obtained during the Fellowship into one’s present and/or future job, as well as a proven understanding of, interest in, and professional experience in the desired industry or Fellowship track; 
  • a promise to go back to Sub-Saharan Africa and use their abilities to help their neighbors and communities grow. 

Application Procedure for YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship For Young African Leaders

Log in or register for the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship here. Got questions? See Frequently Asked Questions about the Fellowship application to learn answers to common questions.

Check out the Resources page to download and learn more about:

  • Instructions for the 2024 Fellowship Application
  • Information for Prospective Fellows Who Are or May Become Pregnant
  • Information for Prospective Fellows with Disabilities

The Application Deadline is: 12 September 2023

Not interested in this particular scholarship? See other USA scholarships here.