The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. In 2016, the Fellowship will provide 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. New in 2016 will be a pilot Institute focused on Energy.
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 two classes of Fellows represented all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and included equal numbers of men and women. For 76 percent of 2015 Fellows, it was their first experience spending substantial time in the United States.