Mandela Washington Fellowship

What is the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship?

The YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship brings emerging leaders from all across Africa together on American university campuses for a 6-week intensive academic and leadership institute in either civic leadership or business and entrepreneurship tracks. Following the institutes, fellows all travel to Washington D.C. for a presidential summit featuring a town hall with the President of the United States. During the rest of the summit, fellows take part in networking and panel discussions with leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. The 2017 fellowship will bring 1,000 fellows from across Africa to the United States during the June-August months.

But it gets better! Upon return from the fellowship, renewed with energy and ideas, fellows are given opportunities to come together and network amongst themselves in Zimbabwe, to work on projects and initiatives that strengthen efforts on the ground to create a brighter future here. The connections with other Africans they meet throughout the fellowship are also life-time connections – previous fellows have started international businesses together, created trade routes, and launched major initiatives with fellow Africans outside Zimbabwe. The resulting YALI Network has truly transformative powers.

Who are we looking for?

Any Zimbabwean or other African citizen between the ages of 25 and 35 at the time of application submission (with exceptional applications under 25 also receiving consideration) who has:

  • A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in business and entrepreneurship, civic engagement, or the energy sector.
  • A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship.
  • The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinion of others.
  • A commitment to return to Africa and apply leadership skills and training to benefit the region.

U.S.-based activities 

Academic and Leadership Institutes: Each Mandela Washington Fellow takes part in a six-week academic and leadership Institute at a U.S. college or university in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management. 

Summit: Following the academic component of the Fellowship, the Fellows visit Washington, D.C., for a Summit featuring networking and panel discussions with U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. 

Professional Development Experience: 100 selected Fellows remain in the United States to participate in a six-week professional development experience with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and governmental agencies that relate to their professional interests and goals.

Africa-based activities

Upon returning to their home countries, Fellows continue to build the skills they have developed during their time in the United States through support from U.S. embassies, four Regional Leadership Centers, the YALI Network, and customized programming from USAID, the Department of State, and affiliated partners. Through these experiences, select Mandela Washington Fellows have access to ongoing professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking and training, and support for their ideas, businesses, and organizations.

Apply for the 2017 Cohort at https://yali.state.gov/washington-fellowship/