Searching for South Africa’s Young Leaders

PRETORIA – The US Embassy in South Africa is excited to announce the opening of the application for the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship on Tuesday, October 7.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship invites 500 young African Leaders to spend six weeks in June and July 2015 at a leading US university studying one of three tracks: public management, civic leadership, or business & entrepreneurship. After completing their studies, all Fellows will travel to Washington, DC for a summit hosted by President Obama and attended by leaders in the business, government, and NGO communities.

The training is supplemented with over 200 internship opportunities in the US and Africa, follow-on professional mentoring and over $1 million in seed money to grow new businesses and initiatives.

South Africa’s Mandela Washington Fellow Alumni are some of the best and brightest South Africa has to offer. 2014’s Fellows include eTV’s Faith Mangope, KZN Science Centre CEO Candice Potgieter, and Zulu chief iNkosi Sbonelo Mkhize. They also include dozens of young South Africans making a difference in rural communities, including villages in Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape. With committed environmental activists, education reformers, and small business owners, Mandela Washington Fellows come from different backgrounds and walks of life.

If you know someone who is committed to South Africa’s future success, please recommend they visit and apply for the program. Applicants must be ages 25-35 and have a proven track record in leadership in their chosen field. The application period closes November 5.

For interviews with the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellows or U.S. Embassy officials about this program, please contact Ryan Ingrassia at the number or email listed above. High resolution photos are also available for publication.


Frequently asked questions on YALI and Mandela Washington Fellowship

Q: What is YALI?

A: YALI is the Young African Leaders Initiative. Started by President Barack Obama in 2010, YALI aims to enhance young Africans’ leadership skills, promote entrepreneurship, and connect young Africans to one another and to Americans.

Q: What is the Mandela Washington Fellowship?

A: The Fellowship embodies President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa, It invites 500 young African leaders ages 25-35 to spend 6 weeks in extensive executive leadership training, networking, and skills building, followed by a Presidential Summit in Washington, DC. The fellowship also includes competitions for follow-on grant funding and internships in both the US and Africa.

Q: Why is it named after Nelson Mandela?

A: President Mandela embodies the ideals of servant leadership to all Africans, and to Americans as well. By offering his legacy to the fellowship, the Mandela family supports the goals of this program for young Africans to work together to develop the full potential of the continent.

Q: Who can become a South African Mandela Washington Fellow?

A: To qualify as a Mandela Washington Fellow, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

•          Be between the ages of 25 and 35 at the time of application submission

•          Not be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.

•          Be eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa.

•          Be proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English.

•          Be a citizen of South Africa.

Q: What are the criteria for selection?

A:           •          A proven record of leadership and accomplishment

•          A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, or mentorship.

•          The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups

•          Strong social and communication skills.

•          An energetic, positive attitude.

•          Demonstrated knowledge and professional experience in the sector/track selected.

•          A commitment to return to Africa and apply leadership skills and training gained.

Q: How do I apply?

A: Visit our website to apply for the program. There is no cost.