Institute of Current World Affairs Fellowship
The ICWA fellowship program aims to nurture deep expertise in foreign countries and cultures by supporting a Fellow who carries out a program of self-designed, independent study abroad for a minimum of two years. We do not support degree programs at universities. Candidates are encouraged to browse the ICWA archives on this website to see the kind of projects that the Institute had previously supported.
The fellowships amount to a generous investment in the future of the Fellow. A primary selection criterion is whether a candidate is ready for the rapid personal growth that the fellowship makes possible. We look for candidates who are sufficiently prepared to take advantage of the opportunity we offer, but extensive professional experience in the proposed area is not always an advantage. Fellowships are aimed at developing knowledge and professional skills, not awarding research or reporting opportunities to those who already have them.
We are primarily focused on the potential of the candidate and secondarily on the project. That said, strong candidates will naturally propose and passionately pursue a project that’s topical and important. We’re a small organization with few hard-and-fast rules, but generally we will postpone consideration of a project in a country where we currently or very recently have had a fellow. Over time, we try to achieve a good geographic distribution of fellowships and are naturally drawn to areas of the world and topics that are less well understood and have strategic or other importance to the United States. These could include thematic fellowships, for example examining questions related to economic development or the environment that could be effectively pursued using the method of our fellowships.
Candidates who meet the eligibility requirements are encouraged to propose fellowships in areas that interest them. They must present a strong rationale for the topic of their proposed fellowship. Areas of particular interest to the Institute include the Arab Middle East, Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia, but candidates may seek fellowships in any country.
Most fellows are supported from the Institute’s endowment. Fellows with appropriate topics may receive support from specially endowed funds, including:
John O. Crane Memorial Fellowship
For fellows in Central and Eastern Europe or the Middle East.
John Miller Musser Memorial Forest & Society Fellowships
For fellows with graduate degrees in forestry or forest-related specialties. To broaden their understanding of the relationship of forest resource problems to humans, including policy makers, environmentalists, farmers, scientists, and forest-product industrialists.
In addition, the generosity of our contributors enables the Institute to appoint Donors’ Fellows every two years. Topics and areas of study are unrestricted.
Specific Eligibility Criteria
- 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.
- Fellows are required to write monthly newsletters, which are distributed to Institute members and other interested parties, including family, friends and professional associates of the fellows.
- 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.
- Fellowships are not scholarships and are not awarded to support work toward academic degrees or the writing of books or for research projects, meaning focused projects aimed at answering specific questions, usually in a particular academic discipline. Applicants must have a good command of written and spoken English and must have completed the current phase of their formal education. We do not accept applications from currently enrolled undergraduate students.