The U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria has announced that Applications for the 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), and a key part of the U.S. commitment to invest in the future of Africa is currently on-going. It began on Wednesday, September 20, 2016.
Nigerian youths are encouraged to pursue this opportunity to access a six-week training course at a top U.S. university in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership or Public Management.
Interested candidates should visit yali.state.gov to apply and seek further information. The application deadline is October 26, 2016. Applicants needing access to the Internet may visit the Information Resource Center at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or U.S. Consulate General in Lagos or one of the 11 American Corners in Nigeria.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship is open to young African leaders who meet the following criteria:
- Are between the ages of 25 and 35 at the time of application submission, although exceptional applicants younger than 25 will be considered.
- Are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.
- Are eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa.
- Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English.
- Are citizens and residents of one of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Selection panels will use the following criteria to evaluate applications (not in order of importance):
- A proven record of leadership and accomplishment in public service, business and entrepreneurship, or civic engagement.
- A demonstrated commitment to public or community service, volunteerism, or mentorship.
- The ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and respect the opinions of others.
- Strong social and communication skills.
- An energetic, positive attitude.
- Demonstrated knowledge, interest and professional experience in the sector/track selected.
- A commitment to return to Africa and apply leadership skills and training to benefit the applicant’s country and/or community after they return home.
About the Mandela Washington Fellowship
Nearly one in three Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and around 60% of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is part of the President Obama’s overall effort to invest in the education and training of the continent’s next generation of leaders.
In 2010, President Obama launched YALI as a vehicle to support an emerging generation of African leaders. In 2014, the program was expanded to include 500 young African leaders from sub-Saharan Africa. In 2016, 1,000 young Africans participated in the Fellowship.
Since its inception, 186 young Nigerians have participated in the Fellowship, and over 45,000 young professionals in Nigeria have joined the YALI network. 100 young Nigerians participated in the Fellowship. in 2016.