The Nelson Mandela Washington Scholarship for Young African Leaders, launched in 2014, is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic courses, leadership training and networking. In 2018, the Community will provide 7000 outstanding young leaders from Africa with the opportunity to perfect their skills at a US university. With support for professional development after they return to their homes.
The fellows, who are between 25 and 55 years old, have established records of achievements in the promotion of innovation and the positive impact on their organizations, institutions, communities and countries. In 2017, Fellows represented a diverse group of leaders from 48 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Fifty-one fellows were identified with a disability, and 50 percent of the fellows were women.
What are the criteria for selection?
Selection panels will use the following criteria to evaluate applications (not in order of importance):
- A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement.
- A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship.
- The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of others.
- Strong social and communication skills.
- An energetic, positive attitude.
- Demonstrated knowledge, interest and professional experience in the sector/track selected.
- 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.
Who is eligible to apply?
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 55 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.