Deadline: November 11, 2015 | Apply here
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Type: Fully funded
Fellowship program starts: Middle of June, 2016
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

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is conducted as a merit-based open competition.

In the summer of 2016, the Mandela Washington Fellowship will bring 1,000 young African leaders to the United States. Fellows will travel to U.S. universities and college campuses for six-week academic and leadership Institutes in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership or Public Management.

After the deadline, all eligible applications will be reviewed by a selection panel and the 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 or other government-issued photo identification to verify eligibility.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship


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 US
  • ŸAre eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa
  • Are proficient in English
  • ŸAre 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, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
  • ŸIndividuals residing in Eritrea and Zimbabwe may not apply to the Public Management track. Residents of Sudan may only apply for the Civic Leadership track.


Strong social and communication skills; energetic and positive attitude; Demonstrated knowledge, interest and professional experience in the selected sector; a proven record of accomplishments in the public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement; ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of others; A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship and 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.


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. A résumé (with dated educational and professional background), and personal information (name, address, phone, email, country of citizenship) will be required. Additional elements, such as letters of recommendation or university transcripts, are optional and may supplement your application.

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