ICWA Fellowship Program

Institute of Current World Affairs (ICWA) (Crane-Rogers Foundation)

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Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Anticipated deadline: Jun 15, 2019 (Letter of inquiry)

Applicant type: Postdoctoral Researcher Faculty Unaffiliated Researcher Research Scientist

Funding uses: Fellowship

Location of project: Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, Caribbean Expand all

Location of residency: United States

Age restriction: No more than 35 years of age

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The ICWA Fellowship Program

What would you do with two years to study anything in the world?

The ultimate aim of the 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.

Fellowship Activities

Fellows are required to write monthly newsletters made available through our website to institute members and other interested parties, including family, friends and professional associates of the fellows. While the institute has funded and will continue to fund artists, performers and others who find various ways to participate in the societies they study, the immediate fruits of fellows’ learning are communicated principally through writing. Fellows should be prepared to share their experience with a general, well-educated audience, and not only with specialists in their fields. Fellows work closely with the executive director, who serves as writing coach, editor and mentor.

While many fellows go on to pursue political or social causes at home and abroad, the purpose of a fellowship is to learn about other societies, not to change them. Fellows are not permitted to engage in overtly political activities during their fellowships. The institute does not accept any government funds. Fellows must preserve that independence in letter and in spirit.

Fellows should not expect to return to the United States during the two years of their fellowships. ICWA fellowships are immersive; a vital component of the fellowship experience is remaining, without interruption, in the area of study for the duration of a fellowship.

Financial Support

The institute 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.

Fellowship Opportunities

Donors’ Fellowship

The generous support received from contributors enables ICWA to periodically appoint a Donors’ Fellow every two years. Topics and areas of study are unrestricted.

Fellows with appropriate topics may receive support from specially endowed funds, including:

John Miller Musser Memorial Forest & Society Fellowships offer people with graduate degrees in forestry or forest-related specialities an opportunity to broaden their understanding of the relationship of forest-resource problems to humans, including policy-makers, environmentalists, farmers, scientists and forest-product industrialists.

John O. Crane Memorial Fellowships provide support for study in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


    • Language Skills
      • 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.
    • Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English-language skills and must have completed the current phase of their formal education.


  • 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.
  • We do not accept applications from currently enrolled undergraduate students.