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Celebrating Ten Years of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders 

Mandela Washington Fellowship

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa, July 3, 2024 – The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is proud to celebrate ten years of  the Mandela Washington Fellowship.  

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, the U.S. government’s signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders,  supports young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic  governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. The Mandela Washington  Fellowship is funded by the U.S. Department of State, designed and managed by the Bureau of  Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), and implemented by IREX. The Mandela Washington  Fellowship is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2024.  

Since its inception in 2014, nearly 6,500 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa  have participated in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, including more than 300 from  Ethiopia.  

Nearly all Mandela Washington Fellowship alumni agree that being a Mandela Washington  Fellowship alumni has been beneficial for their professional development. Mandela Wahington  Fellows are positioned to impact their communities through their expertise, networks, and  initiatives. For example, YALI Mandela Washington Fellow alumnus Dr. Addisu Fekadu from  Arba Minch University has leveraged his fellowship experiences and connections at Kansas  State University to develop Ethiopia’s first enset scrubbing and bleaching center, implemented  upon returning from his fellowship. 2021 Fellow Dr. Emnet Shimber collaborated with her host  institute, Appalachian State University, to spearhead the Healthcare Simulation Educational  Exchange project in Ethiopia. She trained more than 200 Ethiopian nurses with high-fidelity  simulation technology to enhance their skills as emergency first responders. 

This year’s cohort of Fellows from Ethiopia will be part of a group of 700 Mandela Washington  Fellows hosted at 28 educational institutions across the United States. Fellows were selected  from a pool of over 50,000 applications submitted across the continent. 

After the Leadership Institute in the United States this summer, Fellows will participate in the  Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit in Washington, D.C. where they will take part in  networking and panel discussions with each other and with U.S. leaders from the public,  private, and nonprofit sectors. Following the Summit, up to 100 competitively-selected Fellows  will participate in four weeks of additional professional development with U.S. non governmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies. 

Upon completion of the Fellowship, Fellows will join the larger alumni community where they  embody the shared aspirations of the United States and Ethiopia for mutual prosperity through  strengthened partnerships and enhanced mutual understanding.  

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding  provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX. For more information about the  Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit and join the  conversation at #MWFCelebrates10 and #YALI2024.  


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