Five Basotho Young African Leaders Are Headed to the U.S.

Today Ambassador Matthew T. Harrington introduced this year’s five participants from Lesotho for the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. These five 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 five 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows were selected from over 30,000 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 very much look forward to what their futures hold.”

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 the 2014 Fellows at the Presidential Summit last year, “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