Mandela Washington Fellowship

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

Members of IU's 2019 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, including an all-virtual program in 2021.

In Summer 2022, Indiana University is pleased to welcome Fellows back to Bloomington for in-person programming. During the IU Institute, a cohort of 25 accomplished young professionals from 19 countries across sub-Saharan Africa will develop skills, experiences, and 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 faculty and surrounding 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 sharing ideas and best practices. One-on-one coaching and mentoring around individual “focus projects” will further empower them to make an impact on important issues in their home countries and communities.

The 2022 Institute agenda connects Fellows with a deep well of partners and resources on and off campus. University collaborators include the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Kelley School of Business, O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, Maurer School of Law, The Media School, Bradford Woods, and Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. Community partners include The Mill, Ivy Tech Community College, Cook Medical, City of Bloomington, The International Center, and non-profit organizations such as the Lotus Education and Arts Foundation, American Printing House for the Blind, Middleway House, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, and other community agencies and local leaders.

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.