Institute of Current World Affairs (ICWA) Fellowships nurture deep expertise in foreign cultures by supporting fellows engaged in self-designed independent study abroad for at least two years. ICWA aims for geographic distribution of fellowships over time, but is typically most interested in areas of the world and topics that are less well understood and have strategic or other importance to the U.S.—these include the Arab Middle East and Southeast Asia.
A proposed fellowship must hold the promise of enriching public life in the U.S. by enhancing understanding of foreign countries, cultures, and trends. ICWA believes that the U.S. needs the sort of knowledge and wisdom that its fellows acquire through intense immersion overseas. To this end, 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.
Candidates are encouraged to browse the ICWA website to see the kind of projects it has previously supported. Each fellowship amounts 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. ICWA looks for candidates who are sufficiently prepared to take advantage of the opportunity it offers.