2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship Application

2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship Application: The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is now calling for applications for the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship Program. 
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 first class of Mandela Washington Fellows arrived in June 2014 for six weeks of intensive executive leadership training, networking, and skills building, followed by a Presidential
Summit in Washington, D.C. Through this initiative, young African leaders are gaining the skills and connections they need to accelerate their own career trajectories and contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.  Selected Mandela Washington Fellows should be prepared for an academically and professionally challenging program.


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.  The Mandela Washington Fellowship will challenge preconceived ideas and open new horizons for those who embrace the experience.

Who is eligible to apply?
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 Eritrea and Zimbabwe may not apply to the Public Management track. Residents of Sudan may only apply for the Civic Leadership track.

The U.S. Department of State and IREX reserve the right to verify all of the information included in the application. In the event that there is a discrepancy, or information is found to be false, the application will immediately be declared invalid and the applicant ineligible.

Applications not meeting the above technical eligibility requirements will not be forwarded to the selection committee. If you do not meet the technical eligibility requirements for this program, we invite you to visit exchanges.state.gov for information on other U.S. Department of State exchange opportunities.

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 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.
Application Information:
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.

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 eligibility.

Mandela Washington Fellowship Application Process Timeline
October 7, 2014- Application opens
November 5, 2014: Application deadline
January–February 2015: Semifinalists interviewed by local U.S. embassies and consulates
April 2015: Applicants are notified of their status
May 2015: Visa processing for finalists
Mid-June 2015: Fellowship starts in the United States

For more information, follow this LINK to visit the Young African Leaders Website

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