Home > International, Opportunities > 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship Application- YALI Fellowship O pportunity

2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship Application- YALI Fellowship O pportunity

940x362_mwf_billboardThe Mandela Washington Fellowship, also known as YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative), is now accepting applications. President Barack Obama first launched YALI in 2010 to build links with an emerging generation of leaders as they work to drive economic growth, enhance democratic governance, and strengthen the civil society structures. The President announced the creation of this Fellowship during his 2013 trip to South Africa to connects young African leaders to training opportunities at some of America’s top universities. All 25-35 year olds who reside in their home country are eligible to apply including previous recipients of USG Exchange Programs. Deadline is November 11, 2015.

I have no doubt that you’re going to leave behind for the next generation – and the generation after that – an Africa that is strong and vibrant and prosperous, and is ascendant on the world stage.”
President Barack Obama at a Town Hall with Mandela Washington Fellows, July 2014

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, begun in 2014, 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.

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. In 2015, Fellows represented all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Fifty percent of Fellows were women; and for 76 percent of Fellows, it was their first experience spending substantial time in the United States.

U.S.-based activities

Academic and Leadership Institutes: Each Mandela Washington Fellow takes part in a six-week academic and leadership Institute at a U.S. university or college in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management. In 2016, there will be a pilot Institute on Energy.

Presidential Summit: Following the academic component of the Fellowship, the Fellows visit Washington, D.C., for a Presidential Summit featuring a town hall with President Obama. During the three-day event, Fellows take part in networking and panel discussions with U.S. leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Professional Development Experience: 100 selected Fellows remain in the United States to participate in a six-week professional development experience with U.S. non-governmental organizations, private companies, and governmental agencies that relate to their professional interests and goals.

Africa-based activities

Upon returning to their home countries, Fellows continue to build the skills they have developed during their time in the United States through support from U.S. embassies, four Regional Leadership Centers, the YALI Network, and customized programming from USAID and affiliated partners. Through these experiences, Mandela Washington Fellows have access to ongoing professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking and training, and seed funding to support their ideas, businesses, and organizations.

Selection Process

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is conducted as a merit-based open competition. After the deadline, all eligible applications will be reviewed by a selection panel. Chosen semifinalists will be interviewed by the U.S. embassies or consulates in their home countries. If selected for an interview, applicants must provide a copy of their passport (if available) or other government-issued photo identification to verify eligibility.

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, socio-economic 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 at the time of application submission, although exceptional applicants younger than 25 will be considered.
  • Are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.
  • Are eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa.
  • Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English.
  • Are citizens and residents of one of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Individuals residing in Eritrea and Zimbabwe may not apply to the Public Management track. Residents of Sudan may only apply for the Civic Leadership track.

The U.S. Department of State and IREX reserve the right to verify all of the information included in the application. In the event that there is a discrepancy, or information is found to be false, the application will immediately be declared invalid and the applicant ineligible.

Applications not meeting the above technical eligibility requirements will not be forwarded to the selection committee. If you do not meet the technical eligibility requirements for this program, we invite you to visit exchanges.state.gov for information on other U.S. Department of State exchange opportunities.

What are the criteria for selection?

Selection panels will use the following criteria to evaluate applications (not in order of importance):

  • A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement.
  • A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship.
  • The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of others.
  • Strong social and communication skills.
  • An energetic, positive attitude.
  • Demonstrated knowledge, interest and professional experience in the sector/track selected.
  • A commitment to return to Africa and apply leadership skills and training to benefit the applicant’s country and/or community after they return home.

Application Information:

The application will collect basic information and will include questions regarding the applicant’s professional and academic experience, including educational background; honors and awards received; extracurricular and volunteer activities; and English language proficiency. We will also request a résumé (with dated educational and professional background), and personal information (name, address, phone, email, country of citizenship). Additional elements, such as letters of recommendation or university transcripts, are OPTIONAL and may supplement your application.

APPLY HERE

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