Institute for Current World Affairs (ICWA) Fellowship Program

The aim of the ICWA fellowship program is to cultivate deep expertise in foreign countries and cultures through supporting fellows over two-year periods during which they carry out immersive programs of self-designed, independent study project abroad. 

ICWA’s mission is to identify and cultivate rare potential.  It seeks candidates 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 ICWA offers have the best chance of being awarded a 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.

Given our interest in achieving wide geographic distribution over time, ICWA is generally less inclined to select projects in countries where it currently or very recently has had fellows. ICWA is 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.


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.

ICWA expects candidates to have the necessary language skills to allow to them to carry out their proposed project.

Period of Study

The fellowship consists of two years of support.


ICWA provides full financial support for its fellows and their immediate, accompanying families. “Full financial support” does not mean that ICWA provides a salary or stipend to its fellows.  Rather, the institute provides them with sufficient funding to cover their expenses, enabling them to fulfill the purposes of the fellowship and allowing them and their families (if accompanying the fellowship) to live in good health and reasonable comfort.  “Full financial support” also does not mean unlimited financial support; fellows are expected to live and spend modestly.


Those interested in applying for an Institute of Current World Affairs Fellowship should send an initial Letter of Interest and a resume or CV in English to the institute via email. (Post is also accepted.)

In your letter of interest, tell us what you would do if you had a two-year, self-designed fellowship overseas and why you’re the right person to carry it out. There is no fixed length for the letter of interest. Take the space that you need to make a cogent case for yourself. Please indicate your age, as applicants must be under the age of 36 at the time that the letter of interest is due.

Selected fellows are expected to depart for their fellowships within six months of their selection.


Deadline for letters of interest is mid December.


Class Year

  • Recent Graduate


  • Arts
  • Business
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Health
  • Humanities
  • International Affairs
  • Public Affairs/Government
  • Social Sciences
  • Multiple


  • English


  • Yearlong

Program Type

  • Professional


  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Central America
  • Europe
  • Middle East
  • South America

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