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Race for 2017 Mandela fellows opens


Participants required from all across Africa

US President Barack Obama gives the thumbs up as he walks out of the White House in Washington on October 7, 2012 before departing for a campaign swing in California.   AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GettyImages)

By Ada Anioji


The U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria has announced a call for applications for the 2017 Nelson Mandela fellows.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship programme of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative, and a key part of the U.S. commitment to invest in the future of Africa.

African youth are encouraged to pursue this opportunity to access a six-week training course at a top U.S. university in one of three tracks: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership or Public Management.

Eligible candidates should be between the ages of 25 and 35 at the time of application and have a demonstrated track record of leadership in a public, private, or civic organization, and a commitment to contributing their skills and talents to build and serve their communities.

Interested candidates have been asked to visit to apply and seek further information. The application deadline is October 26, 2016. Applicants needing access to the Internet may visit the Information Resource Center at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or U.S. Consulate General in Lagos or one of the 11 American Corners in Nigeria.

With nearly one in three Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and around 60 percent of Africa’s total population below the age of 35, the Mandela Washington Fellowship is part of President Obama’s overall effort to invest in the education and training of the continent’s next generation of leaders.

In 2010, President Obama launched YALI as a vehicle to support an emerging generation of African leaders. In 2014, the program was expanded to include 500 young African leaders from sub-Saharan Africa. In 2016, 1,000 young Africans participated in the Fellowship.

Since its inception, 186 young Nigerians have participated in the Fellowship, and over 45,000 young professionals in Nigeria have joined the YALI network. In 2016 alone, a record 100 young Nigerians participated in the Fellowship.


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