Institute of Current World Affairs Fellowship
The ultimate aim of the Institute of Current World Affairs (ICWA) fellowship program is to cultivate deep expertise in foreign countries and cultures. We achieve that by supporting fellows over two-year periods during which they carry out immersive programs of self-designed, independent study abroad. An ICWA fellowship represents a generous investment in a fellow’s future.
ICWA’s mission is to identify and cultivate rare potential, so we are looking for promise, curiosity and enthusiasm in our candidates. We consider whether a candidate is ready for the rapid personal growth the fellowship makes possible. Candidates with a passion for their project country and who are sufficiently prepared to take advantage of the opportunity we offer have the best chance of being awarded an ICWA fellowship. Extensive professional experience in the proposed area is not always necessary; fellowships are aimed at developing advanced knowledge and professional skills, not necessarily awarding research or reporting opportunities to those who already possess them.
Strong candidates generally propose compelling fellowship topics. Given our interest in achieving wide geographic distribution over time, we generally are less inclined to select projects in countries where we currently or very recently have had fellows. We are naturally drawn to areas of the world and topics that are less well understood and are relevant to the United States. Candidates are encouraged to browse ICWA’s archives to see the kind of projects that the institute has supported.
The institute does not restrict topics or regions for consideration.
We expect candidates to have the necessary language skills to allow to them to carry out their proposed project. Candidates proposing to go to China, Russia, Indonesia, India or Brazil, for example, should have proficiency in Chinese, Russian, Bahasa, Hindi (or another relevant language) or Portuguese. It is too costly and time consuming to start from scratch, so we expect enough language proficiency for candidates to be able to function in the local language within a few months of arriving in the country. Exceptions have been made for unusual languages or situations, but they are rare.
Criteria for Consideration
Candidates must be under 36 years of age at the time of the due date for the initial letter of interest.
U.S. citizenship is not a requirement, but candidates must show strong and credible ties to U.S. society. A proposed fellowship must hold the promise of enriching public life in the United States by enhancing the understanding of foreign countries, cultures and trends. Public service, social activism or contribution to wider understanding in the United States is our ultimate purpose, from a belief that the public can benefit from the knowledge and wisdom our fellows acquire.
While we expect candidates to design projects of topical interest, fellowships are not aimed at covering news events. We do not send fellows into war zones, or places where intense security concerns prevent them from interacting with the local populace.
Fellowships are not scholarships. We do not support degree programs at universities, the writing of books or research projects aimed at answering specific questions in a particular academic discipline.
Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English-language skills and must have completed the current phase of their formal education. We do not accept applications from currently enrolled undergraduate students.
Learn more about the Fellowship and application process at www.icwa.org/apply/.
- International Affairs - General
- Current Graduate Students