Mandela Washington Fellowship 2023
The application for Mandela Washington Fellowship 2023 for young African leaders will be open on the 16th August, 2022. The fellowship offer an unparalleled opportunity for young African leaders to enjoy the following rare benefits:
- Participate in a six-week Leadership Institute at a U.S. college or university to share your experiences with and learn from U.S. citizens and other Fellows.
- Explore industries beyond your daily work and expand your expertise.
- Attend a Summit with young African leaders in Washington, D.C.
- Meet with U.S. Government, civic, and business leaders.
- Strengthen your work through new connections, skills, and ideas.
Join a continental and global Alumni Network to help you seek innovative solutions to common challenges.
See other opportunities
- Apply for the Youth Innovation Challenge
- How to write a winning business plan
- Shell liveWIRE program ($30,000) for 10 innovators
- Fintech Incubation Program ($10,000)equity free
- August 12, 2023, | Application opens
- September 12 2023 | Application deadline
- November 2023 – January 2023 | Semi-finalists interviewed by local U.S. embassies and consulates
- Late March 2024 | Applicants are notified of their status
- May 2024 | Visa processing and Pre-Departure Orientations for Finalists
- Mid-June 2024 | Fellowship begins in the United States
Selection Eligibility and Criteria:
The Mandela Washington Fellowship selection process is a merit-based open competition. After the deadline, all eligible applications will be reviewed by independent readers. 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-Departure Orientation in their home country within Africa.
Eligibility For Mandela Washington Fellowship 2023
Applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, hsexual 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);
- Are citizens of one of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, 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, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, or Zimbabwe;
- Are residents of one of the above countries; and
- Are not Alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.
For more information visit the official webpage of Mandela Washington Fellowship 2023
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Mandela Washington Fellowship 2023 Application FAQs
Can I access the application from my phone or tablet?
Yes, you can access the application from any device that is connected to the internet. The application is mobile-friendly, so it is easy to apply from your phone or tablet.
I don’t have reliable access to high-speed internet. Can I still complete an application?
Yes. The application system functions in low-bandwidth environments and can be saved. As such, you can complete the application over multiple sittings, which may be useful if you do not have constant access to the internet or are traveling to internet cafés or co-working spaces to complete your application. Please save your application often to avoid losing your responses due to potential internet disruptions.
How do I enter my name into the application?
You should type your name exactly as it appears on your passport or other official government identification documents. For example, John’s passport lists Ngozi as his surname and John Michael as his given name. He should type John Michael in the First Name(s) (Given Name(s)) field and Ngozi in the Last Name (Surname or Family Name) field of the application.
I am unable to move past the Eligibility section. How do I apply?
Please review the eligibility requirements. The application will not let you proceed unless you meet the technical eligibility requirements and have fully completed the section.
What if I am not eligible for the Fellowship?
If you are not eligible to apply, we encourage you to join the YALI Network and explore other exchange program opportunities offered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
I signed up for email updates from the YALI Network and cannot get into the Mandela Washington Fellowship online application system. What do I do?
Signing up for YALI Network email updates does not create an account for you in the online application system. You must create a separate account at apply.mandelawashingtonfellowship.org to apply through the Mandela Washington Fellowship online application system.
How can I log in to the application system and see my information from last year?
All previous applications have been erased. You will need to register again at apply.mandelawashingtonfellowship.org to complete the 2023 application.
Can I submit a paper copy of the Mandela Washington Fellowship application?
No, you must submit your application through the Mandela Washington Fellowship online application system (apply.mandelawashingtonfellowship.org). Paper applications or applications via email attachment will not be accepted.
Can I submit more than one application for the Mandela Washington Fellowship?
No, you may submit only one application. Submitting additional applications will disqualify you.
I have multiple email addresses, including some for personal use and some for my work. Which one should I use for the Mandela Washington Fellowship application?
You should use the email address that you access most frequently and that can be accessed from any internet connection. Work email addresses that cannot be accessed outside your office, or that you will not be able to access if you change jobs, are not recommended. It is highly recommended that you include an alternate email address, in case you are no longer able to access your primary email address.
I cannot afford to pay an application fee. How should I apply?
There is no fee to apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship.
The application instructions say all answers must be my “own, original work.” What does that mean?
All answers must be your own ideas and in your own words. Be certain not to plagiarize, which is taking someone else’s work or ideas and presenting them as your own. If you use another person’s writing, ideas, words, or materials, you must credit the source. Do not cut and paste ideas from the internet or other sources. Plagiarism is strictly forbidden at many organizations and academic institutions in the United States, and those who plagiarize their application materials will be disqualified. This also includes using wording from another applicant or Fellowship Alumni in your application. The U.S. Department of State and IREX will be checking all applications for plagiarism. For more information, please visit the Plagiarism.org website.
After I complete and submit my application, can I go back in and make changes or add supplemental documents at a later date?
No, all submitted applications are final. Once you have submitted your application, you can no longer add any additional information or make any changes either through the online system or via email. All information and documents must be uploaded prior to your final submission, so be sure to check everything carefully before you submit. If you have any questions about or problems with your application, please contact [email protected] before you submit. If your technical eligibility for the Fellowship changes at any point, please email [email protected], as well as your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately.
I’m not sure which track to list as my first choice. How should I choose how to rank them?
You should list the tracks according to what best aligns to your current work and/or long-term professional goals. All tracks will have a focus on leadership development and will help Fellows strengthen widely transferable skills including strategic planning, communications and marketing, financial management, and organizational management. For more detailed information on each track, please review the Institute Track section in the Application Instructions.
My current work doesn’t seem to fit into any of the tracks (Leadership in Business, Leadership in Civic Engagement, Leadership in Public Management). Should I still apply?
Absolutely! Past Mandela Washington Fellows have come from many different backgrounds and work in a wide variety of fields. All three tracks instill transferable skills, and the overarching topics are applicable to a variety of sectors, including but not limited to: entrepreneurship, non-profit management, healthcare, journalism, public service, education, tourism, human rights, agriculture, and environmental protection. Check out the bios of past Mandela Washington Fellows in our online directory to get a better idea of the variety of industries that Fellows represent.
Disability and Other Accommodations
I have a physical disability or other special need and I need another person’s assistance to complete my application. Is this considered plagiarism?
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship. Applicants with physical disabilities or special needs who require Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship. Applicants with physical disabilities or special needs who require another person’s assistance to complete an application may use such assistance. However, the thoughts, ideas, and content of your application must be your own; you cannot collaborate with the person assisting you on the content of your application.
Can applicants with disabilities apply? Why does the application ask if I have a disability?
Yes, applicants with disabilities are encouraged to apply. The Mandela Washington Fellowship does not discriminate against applicants because of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other protected characteristic as established by U.S. law. The Fellowship is committed to fairness, equity, and inclusion. The application includes a question about disability so that we are aware of what kinds of accommodations might be needed if you are interviewed or selected. Your answer to the question regarding disabilities is voluntary and will not impact your chances of acceptance.
How are Fellows with Disabilities supported during the Fellowship?
Each Fellow’s needs are evaluated individually so that the Institute Partner and IREX can determine reasonable accommodations to ensure the Fellow’s full participation in program activities. Please review the information for applicants with disabilities for more on what types of reasonable accommodations may be available during the Fellowship.
How are pregnant Fellows supported during the Fellowship?
Applicants who are pregnant are encouraged to apply. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is committed to supporting a positive learning and networking environment for all Fellows. The Fellowship is an intensive program, which includes long days and extended periods of time sitting in a classroom or walking on excursions and site visits. Airlines also have different policies for flying while pregnant and may restrict travel for individuals who are pregnant after a certain period in their pregnancy. If you are pregnant and are at less than 20 weeks by the start of the Fellowship in early June, you should be able to fully participate in the program. Please review the information for Fellows who are pregnant for more on the support and resources available to pregnant Fellows during the Fellowship.
Technical Eligibility Requirements: Age
I am currently 35 years old but will turn 36 before the Mandela Washington Fellowship application deadline closes. Am I eligible for the Mandela Washington Fellowship?
No, you are not eligible to apply for the Fellowship. Applicants must be between the ages of 25 and 35 on or before the application submission deadline, although exceptional applicants ages 21-24 will be considered. If you are still 35 on September 13, 2022, you are eligible to apply. No exceptions will be made for candidates older than 35.
I am younger than 25 years old. Am I eligible for the Mandela Washington Fellowship?
Yes, you may be eligible to apply for the Fellowship. Exceptional candidates between the ages of 21 and 24 on or before the application submission may be considered. If you are 21 on September 13, 2022, you are eligible to apply. No exceptions will be made for candidates younger than 21.
I have submitted my application. How do I report future changes to my employment or residency that affect my technical eligibility prior to the start of the 2022 Fellowship?
If If you do not meet all technical eligibility requirements in this section currently or at the start of the program, you will not be able to participate in the 2023 Fellowship. If your technical eligibility for the Fellowship changes at any point, please email [email protected], as well as your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately.
Technical Eligibility Requirements: Citizenship
I am not sure if people from my country are eligible for the Fellowship. Where can I find a list of eligible countries?
Please visit the Fellowship application and eligibility information page to view the list of countries eligible for the 2023 Mandela Washington Fellowship or reference the Technical Eligibility Requirements section in the Application Instructions.
I left my African home country as a refugee and am now a U.S. citizen. Am I eligible to apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship?
No, you are not eligible to apply for the Fellowship. U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and green card holders are not eligible to apply for the Fellowship under any circumstances.
I have dual citizenship in my African home country and another country. Am I eligible to apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship?
Maybe. If you live in one of the sub-Saharan African countries eligible for the Fellowship and reside in another sub-Saharan African country that is eligible, you are eligible to apply.
Also, If you are accepted as a Fellow, you must apply for your U.S. visa and enter the United States on your eligible country passport.
Lastly, If you live in any country outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, you are not eligible to apply for the Fellowship regardless of your citizenship. Please see the information on residency below for more details.
I am an employee of the U.S. Government but am a citizen and resident of an eligible country. Am I eligible to apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship?
No, you are not eligible to apply for the Fellowship. Employees and immediate family members of employees of the U.S. Government are not eligible to apply for the Fellowship.
Technical Eligibility Requirements: Residency
What do you mean by country of residence?
Your country of residence is the country in which you currently live and have a physical address. You must live in one of the countries eligible for the Fellowship to apply.
I am a citizen of Ghana currently living in South Africa. Am I eligible to apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship? What option do I choose for my country?
Yes, you are eligible for the Fellowship. Applicants living outside their country of citizenship but in another eligible country may apply. Select the correct country of citizenship and list your current permanent address.
I am a resident of the United States, but I am originally from an African country. Am I eligible to apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship?
No, you are not eligible for the Fellowship. Residents of the United States, or of any non-eligible country, are not eligible for the Mandela Washington Fellowship under any circumstances, even those with temporary residency such as students.
I am an African student studying in France (or another non-eligible country). Am I eligible to apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship?
No, you are not eligible for the Fellowship. Residents of non-eligible countries are not eligible for the Fellowship under any circumstances, even those with temporary residency such as students. You may be eligible for a future Fellowship year once you permanently return to your home country, provided that you meet the other technical eligibility requirements.
I previously resided in the United States for school or work but have returned and am now a resident in an eligible African country. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes, if you are currently both a citizen and a resident of an eligible African country, you are eligible to apply, provided that you meet the other technical eligibility requirements.
I am a citizen of a non-eligible country but have lived all my life in Sub-Saharan Africa. Am I eligible to apply for the Mandela Washington Fellowship?
No, you must be both a citizen and resident of an eligible country to apply for the Fellowship.
Technical Eligibility Requirements: Language
I am not proficient in English. Can I participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship using another language?
No. The Fellowship will be conducted entirely in English. High-level proficiency in written and spoken English is required for the Fellowship. Applicants who are deaf: please note that interpretation in the United States may only be available in American Sign Language (ASL). If you are selected as a Fellow you should be proficient in, or be prepared to learn, ASL prior to arrival in the United States.
How will language abilities be assessed?
Language abilities will be assessed through the online application and, if you are chosen for the next stage, during an interview at your local U.S. embassy or consulate. TOEFL scores are not required. You can practice and improve your English language skills for free through the Online Professional English Network or through Voice of America’s Learning English website. Selected Fellows will also have access to Fellowship-provided ESL materials to help them prepare for the Fellowship.
My native language is not English. Can I submit my application documents in my native language?
No. All applications must be written in English. Any supplemental documents originally written in another language must be submitted with an English language translation.
Technical Eligibility Requirements: Miscellaneous
Must I have attended university or have a university degree to apply?
No. Formal education plays a role in terms of what we are looking for in applicants, but you will not be disqualified if you do not have a formal diploma or degree.
I am currently serving in my country’s military, defense ministries, police, and other law enforcement. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes. Previous restrictions for this program have been lifted and we are able to consider applications from members of the military, defense ministries, and police.
Will I be able to apply for a visa to another country while in the United States?
If you are selected as a Fellow and are planning to pursue business, education, or other opportunities in a foreign country after the Fellowship, we encourage you to secure the required visas prior to your travel to the United States. In most instances, it is impossible to apply for visas to travel to other countries while you are away from your home country.
Will I be able to take time off during the Fellowship to attend to other matters?
No, Fellows are expected to be fully engaged during the Fellowship. This includes full attendance at and participation in all required activities, events, and sessions during the Institute, the Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit, and, if applicable, the Professional Development Experience.
I have a family and would like to bring them with me to the United States if I am selected as a Fellow. Is this allowed?
No, you may not bring any members of your family with you to the United States. Program rules prohibit Fellows from bringing their dependents or other family members, and no dependent visas will be issued.