Mandela Washington Fellowship

The flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)

Members of IU's 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship

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


While remaining in their home countries, this group of accomplished young African professionals will engage with IU's virtual leadership institute, which includes leadership training, networking, mentoring and professional development.

The six-week program helps Fellows develop skills and experiences in civic leadership and community service, as well as technical capacity in areas such as community development, volunteerism, grassroots activism, leadership, social entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and fundraising for non-profits. Engaging young African Fellows with IU's communities also creates mutually beneficial opportunities for learning and exchange as Fellows share their personal and professional experiences, meet with Americans and peer collaborators, offer diverse cultural perspectives, and work toward building strong networks for developing and sharing ideas and best practices.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX.