Wanted: African leaders for a 6-week fellowship

Imagine six weeks at a U.S. university where you can sharpen your skills in public management, civic leadership or business; get advice from experts in the U.S. public, private and nonprofit sectors; and build a network of Africans and Americans to support your professional development.

Chart showing Mandela Washington Fellowship 2018 application and selection timeline (State Dept.)
(State Dept.)

That is what the Mandela Washington Fellowship is all about. And between September 13 and October 11, the program will accept applications to fill up to 700 slots for the 2018 fellows.

Started in 2014, the fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which also includes the YALI Network and the YALI Regional Leadership Centers.

The 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship is looking for young Africans with established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities and countries.

You are eligible to apply if you meet these conditions:

  • You’re between 25 and 35 when you apply, although exceptional applicants under 25 will be considered.
  • 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.

Sylvester Sede, a 2016 Fellow from Nigeria, says the experience “helps you to reprioritize your goals and objectives, and it gives you confidence to do things you wouldn’t have done previously.”

“Being a Fellow is a great honor, and I think it’s something all African leaders should be a part of if possible,” says Sede.

Infographic with points to remember when applying for the Mandela Washington Fellowship (State Dept.)
(State Dept.)

Be forewarned: The competition is fierce. More than 64,000 people applied for the 2017 fellowship. Fortunately, the YALI Network is here to offer tips. By becoming a network member and following the YALI Network Facebook page, you can find tips for your application and connect with alumni for helpful advice.

Good luck!