Institute of Current World Affairs Fellowships

Multiple Locations
Term: Academic Year

Provide support for self-designed independent projects abroad for at least two years

The Institute of Current World Affairs (ICWA) advances American understanding of international cultures and affairs by sending outstanding young professionals abroad to study countries, regions and globally important issues in self-designed independent study abroad for at least two years. They have become some of this country’s leading journalists, scholars, diplomats, activists and businesspeople. ICWA nurtures the kind of deep understanding future generations will need to ensure America’s role in the world is informed by wisdom, foresight and compassion.

We are looking for promise, curiosity and enthusiasm in candidates, and consider whether they are ready for the rapid personal growth the fellowship makes possible. Extensive professional experience in a proposed area is not always necessary; fellowships are aimed at developing local knowledge and writing skills, not necessarily awarding research or reporting opportunities to those who already possess them. Strong candidates propose compelling fellowship topics.

  • Candidates must be under 36 years of age at the time of the due date for the initial letter of interest.
  • US citizenship is not a requirement but candidates must show strong and credible ties to US society.
  • 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.)
  • We expect candidates to have the necessary language skills to allow to them to carry out their proposed projects. That means enough language proficiency for them to be able to function in the local language within a few months of arriving in country.

A proposed fellowship must hold the promise of enriching public life in the U.S. by enhancing understanding of foreign countries, cultures, and trends. Fellows write monthly newsletters for distribution among ICWA members and other interested parties, including family, friends, and professional associates of the fellows.

ICWA provides full financial support for its fellows during the course of the fellowship experience, allowing them to live in good health and reasonable comfort and to fulfill the purposes of the fellowship.


Candidates must be under 36 years of age when their initial letters of interest are due, and they must have completed at least a bachelor’s degree. U.S. citizenship is not required, but candidates must show strong and credible ties to the U.S. Candidates should have strong communication skills in English, and should also have the necessary language skills to carry out their projects overseas, from the outset—proficiency is ordinarily expected.

Application Process

Applications for 2023 are being accepted now!

Those interested in applying for an Institute of Current World Affairs Fellowship should send an initial letter of interest and resume or CV in English to the institute via email. (Post is also accepted, see website for address.)

In your letter of interest, discuss 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. Please indicate your age, as applicants must be under the age of 36 at the time the letter of interest is due.

The strongest applicants will be invited to submit a more detailed application.

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


Fact Sheet

Arts and Architecture, Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM
Columbia Alumna/us, Not U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident, U.S. Citizen, U.S. Permanent Resident
Fellowship Type:
Multiple Locations
Multiple Regions
Academic Year

Dates & Deadlines

Academic Year
Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Letters of interest are due by May 31st.