Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). YALI was launched in 2010 to support young Africans as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. The Mandela Washington Fellowship, which began in 2014, brings young leaders to the United States for academic coursework and leadership training and creates unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organizations, communities, and countries.

Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). YALI was launched in 2010 to support young Africans as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. The Mandela Washington Fellowship, which began in 2014, brings young leaders to the United States for academic coursework and leadership training and creates unique opportunities in Africa for Fellows to put new skills to practical use in leading organizations, communities, and countries.

Partners

US flag, US Department of State seal, and logos for USAID and USADF

Goals

The Mandela Washington Fellowship will:

  • Invest in a new generation of young African leaders who are shaping the continent’s future.
  • Respond to the strong demand by young African leaders for practical skills that can help them take their work to the next level in the fields of public service and business.
  • Deepen partnerships and connections between the United States and Africa.
  • Build a prestigious network of young African leaders who are at the forefront of change and innovation in their respective sectors.
This [was the] experience of a lifetime. The [Fellowship] provides a medium for interacting and networking with each other, sharing our dreams … and learning ways to change our continent for the better. I am so privileged to be a part of this generation that [will] foster change for the betterment of our … communities, cities, countries, and Africa. 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow

Project Activities

The Mandela Washington Fellowship includes:

  • Academic and Leadership Institutes: Each Mandela Washington Fellow takes part in a six-week Academic and Leadership Institute at a US university or college in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management.
  • Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit in Washington, DC: Following the academic residency of the Fellowship, Fellows visit Washington, DC for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit. During this multi-day event, Fellows take part in networking and panel discussions with each other and US leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
  • Professional Development Experience: Up to 100 competitively-selected Fellows remain in the United States after the Summit to participate in individually tailored six-week professional development experiences. Fellows are placed in US non-governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies that relate to their professional interests and goals.
  • Activities in Africa: Upon returning to their home countries, Fellows continue to build the skills they developed during their time in the United States through support from US embassies, USAID, and affiliated partners, including regional conferences, professional practicum experiences, and mentoring opportunities. Fellows may also apply for their American partners to travel to Africa to continue project-based collaboration through the new Reciprocal Exchange component.

Quick Facts

  • The network of Mandela Washington Fellows includes 1,000 current Fellows and 1,000 Fellows from 2014 and 2015.
  • As of June 2016, IREX has partnered with more than 300 institutions from the private, nonprofit, governmental, and multilateral sectors.
  • Fellows have completed nearly 245,000 hours of workforce development training through the practicum program.

  • More than 80% of Fellows have reported sustained relationships with other Fellows to foster a strong network across 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

People

Contact

General e-mail address: mwfellowship@irex.org
For Fellowship alumni only: MWFalumni@irex.org