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Mandela Washington Fellowship Application Information

Due - November 5, 2014

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. 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.

The online application for the Mandela Washington Fellowship is currently available. Completed applications, including all supporting documents, are due by 12:00 noon Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, November 5, 2014. All applications must be submitted via the online application system. The  application instructions provide detailed information regarding the financial provisions of the fellowship, eligibility and selection criteria for the program, and details on applying. Please read the application instructions carefully prior to beginning the application. We recommend printing these instructions and referring to them while completing the application.

If you have questions about the application, please email washingtonfellowship@irex.org

Participating countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape 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, 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.

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-to-late June 2015

Fellowship begins in the United States

 

Eligibility

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 United States;

• Are eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa;

• Are not employees or immediate family members of employees of the U.S. government;

• Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English;

• Are citizens of one of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape 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, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe;

• Are residents of one of the above countries; and

• Are not alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.

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 http://exchanges.state.gov/non-us for information on other U.S. Department of State exchange opportunities.

Additional Information

Detailed Application Instructions (printable PDF)

FINANCIAL PROVISIONS OF THE FELLOWSHIP

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).

Please note that Fellows will be housed in university dorms or similar accommodations. Fellows may be expected to share a bedroom and bathroom with another fellow of the same gender. Most meals will be provided at campus cafeterias or restaurants, though participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own. It is important that applicants are aware of these arrangements and that they are comfortable with such accommodations. To the extent possible, care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.

GENERAL APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND TIPS

• The Mandela Washington Fellowship uses an Internet-based application system. You will need access to a computer and the Internet to apply.

• You do not have to finish your application in one session. You may save your work and return to complete your application as many times as necessary. You must, however, submit your completed application by the deadline.

• Answer all questions on the application in English.

• Spaces marked with a red asterisk (*) must be completed.

• All answers in the application, including written responses to essays and optional internship questions, must be your own, original work.

• You may wish to review the application and its questions before filling out the application. Some applicants find it helpful to draft their responses offline (in a separate Word document for example) and then cut and paste their responses into the appropriate sections of the application.

• This is the official application for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders administered by the U.S. Department of State. Only those applicants who complete this application will be considered. Applications and information submitted through email or other means will not be considered.