Cameroonian Young Leaders Embark on the 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Yaoundé, Cameroon – U.S. Embassy Yaoundé is proud to announce that 17 young Cameroonian leaders will participate in the 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship.  Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies the U.S. commitment to invest in the future of Africa.  YALI supports young Africans as they spur economic growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.  Since 2014, nearly 4,400 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in the Fellowship.  

Each year, Cameroon sends an average of 17 participants to the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program.  The recruitment process is highly selective, attracting thousands of applicants from all ten regions of the country.  To date, 125 Cameroonians have benefitted from the program.  Fellows are accomplished leaders in the fields of business, public management, and civic engagement.  

While Fellows normally travel to the United States for six weeks, the 2021 Mandela Washington Fellowship program will be virtual due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, with the health, safety, and well-being of Fellows and Partners as the highest priority.  While remaining in their home countries, Fellows will participate in virtual Leadership Institutes between June 21 and July 30, which will include leadership training, mentoring, and professional development.

On June 9, Embassy Yaoundé organized a virtual Pre-Fellowship Orientation to set up Cameroon’s Fellows for success.  Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Vernelle Trim FitzPatrick encouraged fellows to make the most of their program.  “Africa’s future lies on capitalizing on its human resources, offering all of you opportunities to formulate home-grown solutions to the continent’s challenges.  You represent not just a new generation but also new ways of thinking, new approaches.  The success of the next generation will be on your shoulders.  The Mandela Washington Fellowship is an investment to make sure that you are ready to take up that mission.  Rise to the challenge and be the leaders that Cameroon needs you to be,” she stated. 

For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit mandelawashingtonfellowship.org.