Deadline: November 5, 2014
The application for the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is now open!
The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa. The Fellowship is designed to encourage and foster the ingenuity, confidence, passion, and commitment of the next generation of African leaders. It offers young leaders an unparalleled opportunity to meet and share ideas with some of America’s dedicated leaders from community organizers to the President of the United States.
More Information about the Fellowship
The Mandela Washington Fellowship, which began in 2014, will bring 500 young leaders to the United States in summer 2015 for academic coursework and leadership training and will create unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organizations, communities, and countries. Selected Mandela Washington Fellows should be prepared for an academically and professionally challenging program.
Upon returning to their home countries, the Fellows will have access to professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking, training, and seed funding to support their ideas, businesses, and organizations. They will continue to build the skills they developed during their U.S. coursework. YALI regional coordinators based at U.S. Embassies throughout Africa will provide Fellows with several tools to support their continued work.
100 Fellows will remain in the United States for an additional six to eight weeks after their academic institute and Summit to participate in internships in the public, private and non-profit sectors with organizations throughout the United States. The internship will be a high-level professional development opportunity that relates to the Fellows’ professional experiences.
Fellowship Provisions and Benefits
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 other required travel;
- Customized academic and leadership institute;
- Concluding Presidential Summit in Washington, DC;
- Accident and sickness benefit plan;
- Housing and meals during the program; and
- A potential six to eight-week internship at the conclusion of the academic and leadership institute (optional, and competitive for approximately 100 slots).
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, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Individuals residing in the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Sudan and Zimbabwe may not apply to the public management track. Residents of Sudan may only apply for the Civic Leadership track.
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.
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 eligibility.
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.
For more information and to apply, visit 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship.