2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship Application for Africans opens till Oct. 26

2017 YALI Fellowship Application

What is YALI?

YALI means Young African Leaders Initiative. It is “a group of young African people with the same goals and the same struggles, the same dynamic problems, trying to find solutions across the African continent.”

Each year since its inception, YALI scouts for exceptional leaders among thousands of innovative and talented professional. You too can be part of the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship.

Who is behind YALI?

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 programme continues even after Obama’ administration.

Application information

The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Nearly 1 in 3 Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35.


Eligibility for the 2017 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 U.S.
  • Are eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa.
  • Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English.

Residents of the following Africa countries can apply for 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship

  • 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
  • Zimbabwe.

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.apply_for_yali_2017_application

Applications not meeting the above technical eligibility requirements will not be forwarded to the selection committee.

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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.

If you do not meet the technical eligibility requirements for this program, we invite you to visit  U.S. Department of State exchange opportunities.

Mandela Washington Fellowship 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.


Application Information:

The application will collect basic information and will include questions regarding the applicant’s

  • professional and academic experience
  • educational background
  • honors and awards received
  • extracurricular and volunteer activities
  • English language proficiency.

Your résumé should contain the following information:

  • dated educational background
  • professional background
  • personal information to include name, address, phone, email, country of citizenship

Are you ready to Apply for 2017 YALI Fellowship

Additional elements, such as letters of recommendation or university transcripts, are OPTIONAL and may supplement your application.

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions about YALI Fellowship Application.

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