The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Since its start in 2014, the program has empowered young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.
In 2017, the Fellowship will provide up to 1,000 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. higher education institution with support for professional development after they return home. Host institutes focus on leadership and skills development in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management.
The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. The first three classes of Fellows represented all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and included equal numbers of men and women. In 2016, Fellows represented diversity across the continent as 66 Fellows identified as having a disability, and thirty percent came from rural areas or towns of fewer than 100,000 people.