The 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship


101 Nigerian 2017 Mandela Washington Fellows

Late 2016

After staring for ages at my application,  I was honestly very frustrated.  It was the last day to apply and I had one question left. Just one! I rubbed my eyes wearily and closed it.  Two hours later,  determined,  I went back to it, finished and clicked ‘Submit’. As it is with almost anything I apply for,  I simply moved on and didn’t think about it.  

January 2017

I started the year with just one goal,  ‘personal development,  so I could help empower more people’. I also thought to myself that it will be a quiet year for me in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, because service year.  Everything was going well, according to plan until the 15th. It began to change with a mail. “…Congratulations…interview at the US Embassy, Lagos…” I froze. Cue impostors’ syndrome. “Ooooh, they are about to find out I’m not impressive at all. Blah blah.” I attended the interview. It got super personal during the interview. I cried. Yes,  I cried at my interview and swore never to tell a soul, after all I ruined my chances with the tears. #shrugs.

March 2017

Phone rang. “Congratulations….. ”  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Omg, omg, omg!!! Ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Opened email. “Ehn! Abi e ya mo ni?! Alternate ke?!! But… but…” A few hours later, the error was corrected. Omgggg, I’m A Fellow!!!!!!

April/May 2017

Checked email every 4 hours per day.  Hit the refresh button so much, it’s like

Ewooo! *in Memkoh’s voice*

Attended the Pre-Departure Orientation. Attended Reception hosted by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington in honour of 2017 Fellows. Met a ton of amaaaayzing Nigerians doing incredible things, heard their amazing stories and I was truly humbled to be part of such a group.

Aunty Folu and Ambassador Stuart Symington

Caught a nasty cold on the last day of PDO. Still have the cold but getting better. Came home. Got engaged. Witnessed my older sister getting married in a gown that took me 3 long months to produce. (These two incidences casually mentioned deserve their own blog post, right?)

Anyway, I’m really excited to share with you that I am a Mandela Washington Fellow for this year. And you know what makes this so special? I’m not even ‘qualified’ to apply. Application age 25-35. I’m 23! I’m the youngest Nigerian Fellow for this year. Not sure about the entire program. 

Interested in knowing more about the Mandela Washington Fellowship?  Click here. Thinking of applying? Yep, read all about it in the link and try it out this year. 

I leave for the United States in June and I am very very excited about the fellowship  and everything it represents for me, my business but most importantly, those that will benefit from my experience! 

I leave you with a couple more pictures!

Till next time, 



8 thoughts on “The 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship

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