Young African Leaders Initiative: Washington Fellows Arrive at U.S. Host Institutions

Office of the Spokesperson

June 17, 2014

This weekend marked the arrival of the 500 Washington Fellows and the formal start of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).  The Washington Fellowship aims to empower 500 of Africa’s most promising young leaders through academic coursework at U.S. colleges and universities, leadership training, networking, and professional opportunities.

The Washington Fellowship is a key component of President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa.  The White House developed this initiative in recognition of the critical and increasing role that young Africans are playing in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.  Over the next six weeks, the Washington Fellows will be hosted by colleges and universities that have generously matched the U.S. Government funding commitment to this initiative.  On campus, Fellows will participate in academic and leadership institutes in one of three areas: business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, or public management.  All Fellows will convene in Washington D.C. for a three-day Presidential Summit, where they will engage in a Town Hall event with President Obama.  One hundred of the 500 Fellows will remain in the United States for professional fellowships at U.S. businesses, non-governmental organizations, and governmental offices.  Upon returning to their home countries, Fellows will engage in networking sessions and have access to seed funding and professional development opportunities.

Over 49,000 candidates from throughout Sub-Saharan Africa between the ages of 25 and 35 applied for the 2014 Washington Fellows, making the Washington Fellowship selection highly competitive.  The selected 500 Washington Fellows, 50 percent of whom are women, represent all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The U.S. colleges and universities serving as academic hosts for the 2014 Washington Fellows are:
Arizona State University
Clark-Atlanta University
Dartmouth College
Florida International University
Howard University
Morgan State University
Northwestern University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Syracuse University
Tulane University

University of Arkansas
University of California, Berkeley
University of Delaware
University of Minnesota
University of Notre Dame
University of Texas at Austin
University of Virginia/College of William and Mary
University of Wisconsin – Stout
Wagner College
Yale University

Follow the Washington Fellows on Twitter at @WashFellowship and Facebook at  The Washington Fellows will be using hashtags #WashingtonFellows and #YALI2014.  The Washington Fellowship is a program of the U.S. Government supported in its implementation by IREX.  For further information, please contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at

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