Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Is Now Accepting Applications for 2017 Fellowships

The U.S. Embassy announces the opening of the application period for the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Applications will be accepted online through October 26, 2016.  The application is internet based and available 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 gaining 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, two thousand young African leaders have participated, 27 from Lesotho.  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 2016, I launched the Young African Leaders Initiative because I’ve always believed that one person can be a force for positive change; that one person,…can be like a stone, a pebble thrown in a lake, creating ripples — ripples of hope.”

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.