Mandela Washington Fellowship

The Mandela Washington Fellowship—a flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)—empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities, and local community engagement.

Since 2014, through the Mandela Washington Fellowship, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 4,400 young leaders from across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals.  

We look forward to welcoming a cohort of Africa’s bright, emerging leaders for the six-week Business in Leadership Institute, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, in the summer of 2023. Read more about this year's program.

Are you looking to connect with past Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni from Rutgers University? Visit the Mandela Washington Fellows Alumni Database below.

Mandela Washington Fellows Alumni Database button

Below are two videos featuring the 50 Mandela Washington Fellows Rutgers University hosted during two Institutes in the summer of 2019:

  • The civic leadership institute, with a curriculum developed through a partnership between Rutgers Global, the School of Social Work, and the Center for African Studies.


  • The sustainable business and entrepreneurship institute, with a curriculum developed through a partnership between Rutgers Global, the Rutgers Business School, and the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.


View photos from the 2022 Program.

Video: Exploring Innovative Responses To Global Disasters

RWJBH and Rutgers Hackathon 2019: Exploring Innovative Global Response to Disasters +

RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) and Rutgers University collaborated with partners and RWJBarnabas corporate interns, Mandela Washington Fellows, and GrassROOTS Community Foundation #SuperGirls for a problem-solving exercise focusing this summer on #CycloneIdai and #HurricaneMaria. Together, participants shared their perspectives to bring awareness to the way we think about disasters and #disasterresponse.

Rutgers Mandela Washington Fellowship Virtual Reunion 2020

Rutgers Mandela Washington Fellowship Virtual Reunion 2020

On July 16, 2020, Rutgers Global hosted the first-ever Rutgers University Mandela Washington Fellowship Virtual Reunion. Rutgers has hosted cohorts of Mandela Washington Fellows since the inception of the program in 2014, and is one of the few select universities to host two institutes—one for Civic Engagement and one for Leadership in Business—since 2016. There are now 250 Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni of the Rutgers Programs, representing a significant number of Fellows who are engaging in transformational work on the continent. This reunion offered our Fellows the opportunity to reconnect, share information and updates, and make new connections.