Mandela Washington Fellowship

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

2019 Mandela Washington Fellows visit Bloomington City Hall.

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. Although the 2020 program was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, OID looks forward to welcoming Fellows back to IU in Summer 2021.

During the Institute, 25-30 accomplished young African professionals engage in academic coursework, community service activities, and networking on the IU campuses in Bloomington and Indianapolis. 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. The presence of young African Fellows on campus and in the Bloomington and Indianapolis 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.