Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Is Now Accepting Applications for 2016 Fellowships

The U.S. Embassy announces the opening of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Applications are open and available online through November 11, 2015 at

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. The program includes six weeks of intensive executive leadership training, networking, and skills building at premier U.S. universities, followed by a Presidential Summit in Washington, DC. Through this initiative, young African leaders are 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.

Since the program’s inception in 2014, one thousand young African leaders have participated, eleven from Lesotho. For the 2016 program, as a result of the overwhelming response from across the African continent, the number of participants will double from 500 to 1,000. Those selected for the Mandela Washington Fellowship represent the extraordinary promise of an emerging generation of entrepreneurs, activists, and public officials.

As President Obama said to the Fellows in 2014, “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 must be between 25 and 35 years old; have proven track records of leadership in a public, private, or civic organization; and demonstrate a strong commitment to contributing their skills and talents to building and serving their countries and communities.

Applications will be accepted through November 11, 2015. The application is internet based and available at

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 visit the American Corner at the State Library in Maseru.