In 2016, 1,000 young leaders from sub-Saharan Africa will hone their leadership skills at a U.S. university and work with leaders from the U.S. public, private and nonprofit sectors.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Fellows undertake a six-week academic program in leadership prior to the Presidential Summit in Washington — which includes a town hall with President Obama. After returning home, the fellows will enjoy ongoing professional-development support from U.S. embassies and the YALI Network.

You’re eligible if you meet these conditions:

  • You’re between 25 and 35 when you apply.

  • You’re eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa.

  • You can read, write and speak English.

  • You’re a citizen of one of the 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Diversity among Mandela Washington Fellows is valued, and applicants are not discriminated against on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The deadline for applications is November 11, 2015. Visit YALI’s application page for more information on requirements and a timeline with details on applicant notifications and other dates. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions and suggestions for writing your personal essay.