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Mandela Washington Fellowship 2019

Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is delighted to announce the 2019 Mandela Washington Fellowship. It is the flagship program of the YALI that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.

The Fellowship is open to young African leaders between the ages of 25 and 35 on or before the application deadline.  In 2019, the Fellowship will provide 700 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. college or university with support for professional development after they return home.

The program, begun in 2014, supports young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.

Who May Eligible:

To eligible, the candidates must be following all the eligibility criteria:

  • 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 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, and other U.S. Government entities)
    • Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English (applicants who are deaf should refer to the English Language instructions below)
    • Are residents of one of the above countries; and
    • Are not alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.
    • Are citizens 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, 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.

How to Apply & Competitions Rules:

To apply, the applicants must need to do register through the given link:


  • 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.
  • They will also request 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.
  • The Mandela Washington Fellowship uses an online application system. You will need access to a computer or mobile device and the internet to apply.
  • You do not have to finish your application in one session. You may save your work and return to complete your application as many times as necessary.
  • Once you have submitted your application, however, you can no longer add any additional information or make any changes.
  • All information and documents must be uploaded prior to your final submission. Be sure to carefully check your entire application and confirm that any supplemental documents uploaded correctly. You must submit your completed application through the online application system by the deadline.
  • Answer all questions on the application in English. If you have supplemental documents in another language, you must also include a full English translation.
  • All fields marked with a red asterisk must be completed.
  • All answers in the application, including written responses to essays and optional internship questions, must be your own original work. Using language copied from other Fellowship applications (including other applicants’, your own submissions from previous years, or those of Fellowship alumni) or from other sources (including websites) is considered plagiarism and will result in the application being disqualified.
  • You may wish to review the application and its questions before filling out the application. Some applicants find it helpful to draft their responses offline (for example, in a separate Word document) and then paste their responses into the appropriate sections of the application.
  • This is the official application for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders of the U.S. Department of State. Only those applicants who complete this application using the online application system will be considered.
  • Applications and information submitted through email or other means will not be considered.

Submission Requirements:

  • Provide your full legal name as spelled on your passport or national identification card.
  • Provide your date of birth using the “month, day, year” format. You will be required to provide documentation verifying age and for eligibility at the interview stage if you are selected as a semifinalist. Provide your country of citizenship and your country of residence.
  • You will be required to provide documentation verifying citizenship at the interview stage if you are selected as a semi-finalist.
  • Provide your place of birth (city or town and country).
  • Indicate if you live in a national capital city, major city, other city or town, or rural area. A national capital city is the seat of your federal or national government (example: Abuja, Nigeria or Dakar, Senegal). A major city is defined as an urban area with a large population of about 100,000+ people (Example: Cape Town, South Africa). A town is roughly defined as a semi-urban area with a population between 2,500 – 100,000 people (Example: Lamu, Kenya). A rural area is defined as any area with fewer than 2,500 inhabitants and that is distinctively not in an urban area (Example: Chachani, Tanzania).
  • Indicate if you have a disability and provide details if applicable. Your application will not be affected in any way if you disclose a disability.
  • Indicate if you currently have a passport and, if so, provide the expiration date. If you indicate that you have a passport, you will be required to present it at the interview stage if you are selected as a semi-finalist. If you indicate that you do not have a passport, you will be required to obtain a passport if you are selected as a finalist.
  • Indicate your marital status (single or married).
  • If applicable, provide the citizenship of your spouse


  • If you are selected for the Fellowship, the U.S. Government will cover all program 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 United States and domestic U.S. travel as required by the program
    • A six-week Leadership Institute
    • A concluding Summit in Washington, D.C.
    • A limited accident and sickness benefit plan
    • Housing and meals during the program; and
    • An optional four-week Professional Development Experience (for up to 70 Fellows).

Application Deadline:

The application will close on October 10, 2018.

Apply Now

Indu Singh

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