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The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training and networking. In 2018, the Fellowship will provide 700 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.
The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive impact in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. In 2017, Fellows represented all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. They also represent diversity across the continent as 66 Fellows identified as having a disability, thirty percent came from rural areas or towns of fewer than 100,000 people, and fifty percent of Fellows were women.
Working closely with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and its implementing partner, IREX, host institutions have designed academic programs that will challenge, inspire, and empower these inspiring young leaders from Africa.
The Fellowship serves as the beginning of their training. The U.S. government has a long-term investment in YALI, planning to work with institutions and the next generation of African entrepreneurs, educators, activists and innovators to create meaningful opportunities in Africa.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the U.S. government and is supported in its implementation by IREX. ASU is a sub-grantee of IREX and is supporting the U.S.-based academic program of the Fellowship.