US President Barack Obama's Washington Fellowship Programme for Young Africans

Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

Course(s) Offered: Business, Leadership, Management
Course Level: Skills development (training, internships)
Provider: U.S. Department of State
Country to Study in: USA, Africa

Scholarship Description
The Obama Administration’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Nearly one in three Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35.

President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.

The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the new flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). This new program was first announced back in July 2013.

Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders
Competition for the Washington Fellowship is merit-based and 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; and
  • Are citizens and residents of one of the countries listed below.
Individuals residing in the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Sudan, and Zimbabwe may NOT apply to the public management track. Residents of Sudan may ONLY apply for the Civic Leadership track.

Eligible groups
Citizens and residents of one of the following countries:
Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape 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.

Participating Institutions
All accredited top U.S. universities and colleges

Fields of study
The Washington Fellowship includes:
  • A 6-week Academic and Leadership Institute: Fellows are placed at U.S. colleges and universities for academic institutes. Institutes will focus on skills development in one of three areas: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, or Public Management. Institutes will take place from mid-June to late July 2014.
  • A Summit with President Obama in Washington, DC: At the conclusion of the academic and leadership institute, all Fellows will participate in a Presidential Summit. The Summit will take place in late July 2014.
  • An optional 8-week U.S. Internship: As part of the Fellowship application, individuals may apply to receive practical training at a U.S. business, civil society organization, or public agency in the United States. Approximately 100 Washington Fellows will be selected for U.S.-based internships. The U.S. internships will take place in August and September 2014.
  • Activities in Africa: Fellows will have the opportunity for continued networking opportunities, ongoing professional development, access to seed funding, and community service activities upon their return home after the Fellowship.
Number of awards
Five hundred (500) positions will be awarded EVERY YEAR. Within the next five years, the initiative aims to grow to 1000 young leaders each year.

Sponsorship duration
Washington Fellows will spend six (6) weeks at top American universities and colleges for tailored training in the areas mentioned above, and another optional eight (8) weeks Internship period to receive practical training.

Scholarship benefits
There is no fee to apply to the Washington Fellowship. If you are selected, the U.S. government will cover all participant costs.

Financial provisions provided by the U.S. Government will include:
  • J-1 visa support;
  • Round-trip travel from fellow’s home city to the U.S. and other required travel;
  • Customized academic and leadership institute;
  • Concluding Presidential Summit in Washington, DC;
  • Accident and sickness benefit plan;
  • Housing and meals; and
  • A potential eight-week internship at the conclusion of the academic and leadership institute (optional, and competitive for approximately 100 slots).
Method of Application
To prepare and submit your application for the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, applicants must visit the IREX Online Application System.

All applications must be submitted via the online application system.

The application instructions(pdf) provide detailed information regarding the financial provisions of the fellowship, eligibility and selection criteria for the program, and details on applying. Please read the application instructions carefully prior to beginning the application. It is recommended that you print these instructions and refer to them while completing the application.

Please note that aside reading carefully through the 'Application Instructions', other important and Required Documents are:
It is very important to visit the official website (link to it is below) for details.

Completed applications, including all supporting documents, are due by 12:00 midnight Eastern Standard Time, January 27, 2014.

Washington Fellowship Application Process Timeline:
  • January 27, 2014 - Application deadline
  • February-March 2014 - Semifinalists interviewed by local U.S. embassies and consulates
  • April 2014 - Applicants are notified of their status
  • May 2014 - Visa processing for finalists
  • Mid-June 2014 - Fellowship starts in the United States
The trainings aim to leverage top faculty, cutting-edge curricula, and local opportunities to impart practical professional and leadership training to young Africans.

This fellowship programme is an unparalleled opportunity to:
  • Interact with President Obama at a Presidential Summit in Washington, D.C.;
  • Participate in a 6-week intensive academic and leadership program at a U.S. institution;
  • Meet with U.S. government, civic, and business leaders;
  • Access exceptional internship and apprenticeship opportunities;
  • Expand your business or project through access to millions of dollars for small grant funding; and
  • Join a continent-wide and global alumni network to help you seek innovative solutions to common challenges.
Read more from the initial announcement of the Washington Fellowship Program.

If you have questions about the application, please email

Application Deadline: 27 January 2014
Open to International Applicants: No (ONLY Africans)

More Scholarship Information and Application

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