Mandela Washington Fellows

A group of 27 people gathered on the grass of north campus smiling for a group photo.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship, the 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. YALI was created in 2010 and supports young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance and enhance peace and security across the African continent. The Mandela Washington Fellowship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Young African Leaders Initiative.

Through the Northern Nevada International Center, the University has hosted 200 Mandela Washington Fellows for the Leadership in Business Institute since 2015.

Since 2014, nearly 5,100 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in the Mandela Washington Fellowship. The Fellows, between the ages of 25 and 35, are accomplished leaders and have established records of promoting innovation and positive impact in their communities and countries. In 2024, the Fellowship will provide 700 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. college or university with support for professional development after they return home.

If you would like more information about the Fellowship or how you can potentially engage with the Fellows in summer of 2024, please contact Program Coordinator Jennae Frederick at

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by IREX.

Mandela Washington Fellows by year

Meet our Mandela Washington Fellows and learn more about their exceptional work.

2023 Fellows | 2022 Fellows