Fifteen Basotho Young African Leaders Head to the U.S.

Today U.S. Ambassador Matthew T. Harrington introduced this year’s fifteen participants from Lesotho for the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. These fifteen Basotho young leaders will leave next week for six weeks of intensive leadership training, networking, and skills building at different universities across the United States. At the end of the six weeks, they will attend a Presidential Summit for Young African Leaders in Washington, D.C. where they will have the opportunity to meet U.S. President Barack Obama.

These fifteen 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows were selected from more than 40,000 applicants from across Sub-Saharan Africa. As Ambassador Harrington said, “These young Basotho leaders represent the extraordinary promise of an emerging generation of entrepreneurs, activists, and public officials and we are excited about their futures.”

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies the United States’ commitment to invest in the future of Africa. Through this initiative, young African leaders gain the skills and connections they need to accelerate their own career trajectories and contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.

As President Obama said to an earlier group of Fellows, “The great thing about being young is you are not bound by the past, and you can shape the future…I have no doubt that you’re going to leave behind for the next generation and the generation after that an Africa that is strong and vibrant and prosperous, and is ascendant on the world stage.”

Mandela Washington Fellows are between 25 and 35 years old; have proven track records in public administration; business and entrepreneurship; or civic leadership and demonstrate a strong commitment to contributing their skills and talents to building and serving their countries and their communities.

For further information, please contact the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy at 2231-2666 ext. 4314 or email You can also visit or