Applications for The Mandela Washington Fellowship 2016 Open


    Applications for the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders are being accepted from October 1, 2015 through Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 11:00PM CAT.

    The good news is that this time the Mandela Washington Fellowship will double in size to bring 1,000 young African leaders to the United States. Fellows will travel to U.S. university and college campuses for six-week academic and leadership Institutes in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management. New in 2016 will also be the pilot for a specialized Institute on Energy. For more details on the sector tracks, please review the application instructions.

    The intensive Institute model includes linkages between academic sessions, site visits, professional networking opportunities, community service, and organized cultural activities to maximize learning and cultural exchange. The Institutes will culminate in a Presidential Summit in Washington, DC. Additionally, up to 100 selected Fellows will take part in a six-week, U.S.-based professional development experience with U.S. organizations following the Summit. The U.S. Government and its partners have also created unique follow-on opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put their new skills to practical use in leading organizations and communities.

    “It is an amazing experience.  YALI changed my life completely. I am no longer the same person you used to know before I went to US. The program helped me to turn my dreams into reality. It taught me how the world should be. It helped me to realise my leadership potentials.  I learned a lot of things and gained more skills about business. The people, their culture is just awesome. It is when I realized that Africa”s problems can be solved by African themselves and that we as young leaders we have a lot of responsibilities. So I encourage every Malawian to apply if they care about the problems people are facing in their communities.  If they are passionate about making a difference in our country,” says Marshall Dyton, #MWF2015 Fellow.


    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.

    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.

    Applications not meeting the above technical eligibility requirements will not be forwarded to the selection committee. If you do not meet the technical eligibility requirements for this program, you are invite to visit for information on other U.S. Department of State exchange opportunities.


    There is no fee to apply to the Mandela Washington Fellowship. If you are selected for the Fellowship, the U.S. government will cover all participant costs.

    Financial provisions provided by the U.S. Government will include:

    • J-1 visa support;
    • Round-trip travel from fellow’s home city to the U.S. and travel as required by the program;
    • A six-week academic and leadership institute;
    • Concluding Summit in Washington, DC; Accident and sickness benefit plan;
    • Housing and meals during the program; An optional six-week Professional Development Experience (for up to 100 Fellows).
    • Please note: the Fellowship will not cover salary while Fellows are away from work or funds for personal purchases such as gifts.

    Application Information:

    The application will collect basic information and will include questions regarding the applicant’s professional and academic experience, including educational background; honors and awards received; extracurricular and volunteer activities; and English language proficiency. You will also be requested a résumé (with dated educational and professional background), and personal information (name, address, phone, email, country of citizenship). Additional elements, such as letters of recommendation or university transcripts, are OPTIONAL and may supplement your application.

    Application Form

    Read the Application instructions carefully before applying.

    Good luck!