Call for Readers for the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship Program in 2024

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The US Department of State and IREX are looking for academic, professional, and regional experts to review and grade applications for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in 2024. Over the first nine years of the Fellowship, the program received nearly 330,000 applications from 49 sub-Saharan African countries for approximately 6,500 Fellow slots. Your skills and knowledge in assisting us in scoring our large volume of applications are tremendously appreciated!

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young Champ African Leaders is an initiative of the United State Department of State, funded by the US Government and run by IREX. It is the centerpiece of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Young leaders are brought to the country by the Fellowship for academic study and leadership development. It offers exceptional chances for Fellows and American citizens to work together to advance democracy, promote economic growth and prosperity, and advance peace and security in both Africa and the US.  

In the summer of 2024, the Fellowship will bring onboard up to 700 young leaders to the United States for a complete executive-style program designed to improve skills and enable Fellows to lead in their respective areas and communities.

Readers will be in charge of evaluating program candidates using predefined rules and a grading methodology. The reading period will begin in September 2023 and will run up to three weeks, each lasting around two weeks, from mid-September until early November. Selected readers will be allocated to one of the reading phases and will each review about 40 applications.


  • Ideal readers include academics and professionals with experience in one or more of the Fellowship’s focus areas (business, civic engagement, or public management), as well as those who have worked in Africa or on sub-Saharan African issues.
  • U.S. Government employees and Fellowship Alumni are eligible. 
  • Applicants for the 2024 Fellowship are not eligible to be readers.

Responsibilities and Reading Period

  • Readers will assess program applications using predefined rules and a grading system. For professionals or degree-seeking individuals, this is an excellent volunteer professional development and résumé-building opportunity.
  • The reading period will commence September 14, 2023, and will extend up to three weeks, each lasting about two weeks, from mid-September to early November. Selected readers will be allocated to one of the reading phases and will be responsible for reviewing about 40 applications. Each application takes 10-15 minutes to read and assess, for a total time commitment of 10 hours.

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