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DEADLINE: 12 September 2023

Information Session

Want to learn more about the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders application process and our experiences in the various Institutes (Leadership in Civic Engagement, Public Management and Business Entrepreneurship)? Join us tonight, 22 August @6pm at the American Corner U.S. Embassy Eswatini!

About the Fellowship

The Mandela Washington Fellowship will bring up to 700 young leaders to the United States in the summer of 2024 for a comprehensive executive-style program that is designed to build skills and empower Fellows to lead in their respective sectors and communities.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship selection process is a merit-based open competition. After the deadline, independent readers will review all eligible applications. Following this review, chosen semi-finalists will be interviewed by the U.S. embassies or consulates in their home countries. Selected semi-finalists will be required to participate in these in-person interviews in their home country within Africa. If advanced to the semi-finalist round, applicants must provide a copy of their international passport (if available) or other government-issued photo identification at the time of the interview. Selected Finalists are required to attend the mandatory Pre-Fellowship Orientation in their home country within Africa.


Applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, socioeconomic 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 on or before the application deadline, although exceptional applicants ages 21-24 will be considered;

  • Are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States;

  • Are eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa;

  • Are not employees or immediate family members of employees of the U.S. Government (including a U.S. embassy or consulate, USAID, or other U.S. Government entity);

  • Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English (additional guidance coming for applicants who are deaf);

The following criteria will be used to evaluate applications (not in order of importance):

  • A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in business or entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and/or public/government service;

  • ​A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship;

  • ​The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and to respect the opinions of others;

  • ​Strong social and communication skills;

  • ​An energetic, positive, and flexible attitude;

  • ​A demonstrated knowledge of, interest in, and professional experience in the preferred sector/Fellowship track and concrete goals for applying lessons knowledge and skills gained from the Fellowship to current and/or future work; and

  • ​A commitment to return to Sub-Saharan Africa and contribute skills and talents to build and serve their communities.


There is no fee to apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship. You must submit your application through the Mandela Washington Fellowship online application system

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