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. More than 700 Fellows from across sub-Saharan Africa are selected annually through a highly competitive process. Through OID, IU has hosted Mandela Washington Fellow cohorts since 2016 for a Leadership in Civic Engagement Institute.
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 program was postponed. With the health, safety and well-being of all participants as their highest priority, the U.S. Department of State shifted to a virtual fellowship for 2021.