About the Foundation:
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 20 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 subSaharan
Africa. Fifty-one fellows were identified with a disability, and 50 percent of the fellows were
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
- 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 and 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.
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. We 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.
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 20 and 55 at the time of application submission, although exceptional
applicants younger than 20 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.
Application and Selection Process:
The Mandela Washington Fellowship is conducted as a merit-based open competition. After the deadline,
all eligible applications will be reviewed by a selection panel. Chosen semifinalists will be interviewed by
the U.S. embassies or consulates in their home countries. If selected for an interview, applicants must
provide a copy of their passport (if available) or other government-issued photo identification to verify
How to Apply:
Application is Online and Free