The Mandela Washington Fellowship for 2015 will commence receiving applications from October 7, 2014. The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the new flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.
Submission deadline is on November 5, 2014.
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 semi-finalists 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.
To be eligible for the fellowship, every applicant should be aged between 25 and 35 years at the time of application submission, although exceptional applicants younger than 25 will be considered. Applicants should not be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. Interested candidates that are eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa can apply and they should be proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English.
The Fellowship is open to citizens and residents of any 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, and Niger.
The Fellowship is also open to citizens from Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Individuals residing in the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Sudan 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 applications. According to the organizers, 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 technical eligibility requirements will not be forwarded to the selection committee.
Those who do not meet the technical eligibility requirements for this program, are encouraged to visit www.exchanges.state.gov for information on other U.S. Department of State exchange opportunities.
The criteria to be used by the selection panels to evaluate applications will include proven record of leadership and accomplishment in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement; demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship; ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of others; and strong social and communication skills.
Other evaluation criteria are: energetic, positive attitude; demonstrated knowledge, interest and professional experience in the sector/track selected and commitment to return to Africa and apply leadership skills and training to benefit the applicant’s country and/or community after they return home.
The application will collect basic information and will include questions regarding the applicant’s professional and academic experience, including educational background; honours and awards received; extracurricular and volunteer activities; and English language proficiency. the Fellowship 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 applications.
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