The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship programme of President Barack Obama’s YALI, created in 2014 to deepen the United States’ engagement with the youth of Africa.
The US Embassy said the fellowship has been successful beyond its expectations in the past three years. The fellowship will engage up to 1 000 young leaders from all over the continent.
“The programme begins with six weeks of academic and leadership training at a US university, with a focus in one of three tracks: business and entrepreneurship; civic leadership and public management, followed by a summit in Washington DC, attended by business, government and NGO leaders,” the US Embassy said.
One hundred selected fellows will also participate in a six-week professional development experience with an American NGO, company or government office.
Upon return to their home countries, fellows continue to build their skills through support from US Embassies, the United States Agency for International Development, the United States African Development Foundation and other partners.
In South Africa, YALI alumni are already growing innovative businesses, forging durable networks with young leaders across Africa and deploying freshly honed skills in their communities.
Applicants for the fellowship must be citizens and residents of South Africa (or one of the other participating countries).
They must speak and write English proficiently and be between 25 and 35 years old when the application is submitted.
They must have a proven record of leadership and accomplishment in public service, business or entrepreneurship or civic engagement, and demonstrate commitment to public or community service, volunteerism or mentorship.
They must be committed to return to Africa and use their skills to serve their community.
The embassy has assured that applicants will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, colour, gender, religion, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.