Call for Applications

Apply Now to Host a Mandela Washington Fellowship Institute

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Application Deadline: October 27, 2015 at 5pm EDT.

The U.S. Department of State and IREX seek U.S.-based colleges and universities to implement the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Academic Institutes. Hosting a cohort of young African leaders provides universities with a unique opportunity to internationalize the campus and create lasting connections between young Africans and students, faculty, and the local community.

The Fellowship will welcome 1,000 of Africa’s most promising young leaders between the ages of 25 and 35 to the U.S. in summer 2016. The application process for Fellows is extremely selective, with 80,000 applicants in the first two years alone.

The Fellowship

  • The selected Fellows will travel to U.S. university and college campuses for six-week academic and leadership Institute in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship; Civic Leadership; Public Management. New in 2016 will also be the pilot for a specialized Institute on Energy.
  • The intensive Institute model includes linkages between academic sessions, site visits, professional networking opportunities, community service, and organized cultural activities to maximize learning and cultural exchange.

Benefits to the host university’s campus and community are numerous and long-lasting.

  • As cultural ambassadors of their countries, Fellows bring diversity and new perspectives, and are eager to make meaningful connections with Americans.
  • As one 2015 Host Institute reports, “Students and faculty have a better understanding of cultural differences between African nations along with the challenges and opportunities that exist between each country. They have also established new friendships and bridged new partnerships that will last a lifetime.”

By engaging and volunteering with community service organizations in the area, Fellows immerse themselves within the broader university community and build links between the university, the community, and Africa at large. Whether they are mentoring local youth or assisting area food pantries in preparing for distributions, Mandela Washington Fellows are eager to engage and give back to their adopted community.

In collaboration with the U.S. Department of State, and pending availability of funds, IREX will select up to 40 U.S. university partners to host the Mandela Washington Fellowship in the summer of 2016. The Institutes will culminate in a Summit in Washington, DC that will include a Town Hall with President Barack Obama. Additionally, up to 100 selected Fellows will take part in a six-week U.S.-based internship following the Summit.

How to Apply:

  • U.S.-based universities and colleges interested in applying to host exceptional young African leaders should visit IREX’s website for application materials, and should also complete this contact information form to receive additional information and updates as they become available.
  • Applications should be submitted to IREX at no later than October 27, 2015 at 5pm EDT.
  • For questions, please contact Patrick Freeman, Senior Program Officer, at or 202.628.8188.

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