The Mandela Washington Fellowship, how to be chosen.

The Washington Mandela fellowship. Each year the program brings about 700 young Africans to the united States for an executive style leadership training which is designed to impact them with skills and build fellows with knowledge that will make the. Outstanding irrespective of their sectors or communities.

the mandela washington fellowship for young african leaders

The Mandela Washington fellowship for young African leaders is probably the most well known fellowship program in Africa. Also, the fellowship seeks to empower young African leaders through a comprehensive academic coursework , leadership training and networking . The program gathers 700 outstanding African leaders from sub saharan Africa and provides them with the opportunity to hone their skills at a US college or university  with complete  support for professional development after their return to their home countries .


The fellows of Mandela Washington fellowship are within the age range of 25- 35 years and have an established track record of accomplishment in promoting innovative  and positive change in their organisations, institutions , communities and countries. The fellowship has being going on yearly since 2014 and it is very popular among young change makers.

mandela washington fellowship 2019

 The Mandela Washington fellowship held in 2019 like in other  years . The deadline   was on 10th October 2018. The set up of the program is fundamentally the same for every year. The program invited  young  Africans who are distinguished in their careers and who have served their community.

irex mandela  washington fellowship 

IREX is a global education and development institution that has the mandate of developing  leadership potential  and works with more than 100 countries. each year, IREX in partnership with the US State  department to organise Mandela Washington  fellowship which is one of the greatest  leadership  development  for Africans. The program is organised and implemented by IREX with support from the US State department of state.

who is eligible to apply for the fellowship

In addition to all that we have said above, it is important to know that this is an equal opportunity fellowship so no applicant will be discriminated against as a result of race, religion , gender, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation  or gender identity. All young African leaders who meet he following criteria can apply.

  • Applicants must be between the ages of 25-35 years on or before the application deadlines  but exceptional candidates who fall between 21-24 years will be considered .
  • Applicant should not be US citizens or permanent residents.
  • Applicants must be eligible to receive a US J-1 visa. They must meet the criteria for the visa.
  • No applicant should be an employee or immediate family members of employees of the United States government , this includes those working in the US consulates, embassies, USAID and other US government entities .
  • All applicants must be proficient in reading , writing  and speaking  English language ( Applicants who are deaf should read the English language instruction on the resources page of the fellowship website )
  • Applicants must be citizens of one of the following countries ;

Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Botswana,Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Chad, Cape Verd, Central African republic, Comoros, DRC, Republic of Congo, Cote di’voire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia , Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mauritania, Mozambique , Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles , Sierra Leon Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan ,Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

  • No applicant should  be an alumni of the Mandala Washington fellowship.

It should be noted that fellows are not allowed to have dependents including  spouse and  children  who will accompany them during the fellowship . The US department of state and IREX may decide to verify all the information provided by each applicant in the application  form once any information is found to be false or if there is a discrepancy , the applicant will be disqualified.

how the candidates are selected.

 The Mandela Washington fellowship selection process is merit based and transparent . The selection panel picks semi finalists who will be interviewed at the US embassies or consulate in their home country with an international passport or national ID serving as a means of Identification .

These are the criteria by which candidates will be assessed

  • A proven record of accomplishment in Leadership , business , civic engagement or public service.
  • A demonstrable commitment to community service , volunteerism and mentorship.
  • The ability to work with diverse groups of respect different opinions 
  • A strong social and communication skills.
  • An energetic and positive attitude.
  • A demonstrated knowledge and interest in and professional experience in preferred sectors/ track .
  • A commitment to return to africa and apply the acquired knowledge to benefit the home country .


The US government will provide funds that will cover for

-J-1 visa

-Round trip from home city to US.

  • housing , feeding etc

how to apply

Go the to the website


The Mandela Washington fellowship for young African leaders is one of the best programs which prepare young African leaders for greater impact .