Close this search box.

After Obama visit: YALI introduces Washington Fellowship for young African leaders

​In June 2013, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) welcomed United States (US) President Barack Obama to the Soweto Campus for his Young African Leaders Initiative – a town hall meeting with young leaders in Africa. Here President Obama engaged with young leaders from across Africa, via satellite, on the future of their countries, their concerns and challenges, and where they would like to see Africa in the coming years.


Following this engagement with some of Africa’s brightest and innovative minds at the Soweto Campus in Johannesburg, the Washington Fellowship, the new flagship programme of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), has been established.
This programme will see over 500 young leaders go to the US each year, beginning in 2014, for leadership training and mentoring, and will create unique opportunities in Africa to put those new skills to practical use in propelling economic growth and prosperity, and strengthening democratic institutions.
The young leaders accepted into the fellowship programme can expect to have an unparalleled opportunity to:
• Interact with President Obama at a Presidential Summit in Washington, D.C.;
• Participate in a 6-week leadership and mentoring programme at a US institution;
• Meet with US 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.
The Washington Fellowship will invest in a new generation of young African leaders who are shaping the continent’s future. It will also respond to the strong demand by young African leaders for practical skills that can help take them to the next level in their work. The programme will also strengthen partnerships and connections between Africa and the US while building a prestigious network of young African leaders who are at the forefront of change and innovation.
Leaders will attend institutions in the US for training in one of three areas, namely:
• public management and administration
• business and entrepreneurship
• civic leadership.
Training will focus on the skills young leaders need to run better ministries, start and grow businesses and serve their communities. Washington Fellows will spend six weeks at top American universities and colleges that will provide tailored training in the sectors above, leveraging top faculty, cutting-edge curricula, and local opportunities to impart practical professional and leadership training.
The Obama Administration’s YALI is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders, by connecting them with one another as well as with Americans. President Obama launched it in 2010 to support young African leaders as they grow and prosper, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.
In its goal to elevate its international profile when it comes to teaching, learning, and research collaborations, UJ believes in building networks that can provide support for young leaders who can help develop and move South Africa and the African continent forward, and thus aligns itself with YALI’s commitment to develop young talent for the advancement of the African continent.
Applications for the Washington Fellowship programme open in December 2013. More information regarding selection criteria is available on the Young African Leaders Initiative​ website.


Share this