About the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship
Named in honor of NED’s principal founders, former president Ronald Reagan and the late congressman Dante Fascell (D-Fl.), the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program is a federally funded, international exchange program that offers democracy activists, journalists, civil society leaders, and scholars from around the world the opportunity to spend five months in residence at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), in Washington, D.C., in order to undertake independent research on democracy in a particular country or region. Located within NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies, a leading center for analysis of global democratic developments, the program provides a collegial environment and rich intellectual setting for educational exchange and professional development.
The program offers five-month fellowships for practitioners to improve strategies and techniques for building democracy abroad and five-month fellowships for scholars to conduct original research for publication. While in residence, fellows reflect on their experiences; engage with counterparts; conduct research and writing; consider best practices and lessons learned; and develop professional relationships within a global network of democracy advocates. Fellows are expected to complete a written product relating to their proposed research project. The fellowship culminates in a formal presentation in which fellows typically focus on their research project or another topic relating to the state of democracy in their country.
Prospective applicants may apply on either the practitioner or scholarly track. The Reagan-Fascell program is intended primarily for practitioners from developing and aspiring democracies, and those from non-democratic countries. Applicants applying to the practitioner track are expected to have substantial practical experience working to promote democracy or human rights in their country of origin or interest. There are no specific degree requirements for the practitioner track. While there are also no age limits, applicants on the practitioner track are typically mid-career professionals with several years of work experience in the field of democracy and human rights. Examples of eligible candidates for the practitioner track include human rights advocates, civil society leaders, political party figures, human rights lawyers, parliamentarians, labor union activists, journalists, and other members of the media.
Prospective applicants may apply on either the practitioner or scholarly track. While the program is intended primarily for practitioners from around the world, distinguished scholars from the United States and other established democracies are also eligible to apply. Applicants applying to the scholarly track are expected to possess a doctorate (a Ph.D., or academic equivalent) at the time of application, to have published in their field of expertise, and to have developed a detailed research outline for their fellowship project. Examples of eligible candidates for the scholarly track include college and university professors, analysts at research centers and think tanks, writers, and public intellectuals.
All applicants should:
-Demonstrate proficiency in the English language
-Propose a project focusing on the political, social, economic, legal or cultural aspects of democratic development
-Be available to work in residence at the International Forum for Democratic Studies in Washington, D.C. during the 5 month fellowship period (October 1-February 28 or March 1-July 31). No other fellowships or jobs may be held at this time.
Applicants on the practitioner track should:
-Have substantial practical experience working to promote democracy or human rights in their country of origin or interest
-Be mid-career professionals
Applicants on the scholarly track should:
-Possess a doctorate (a Ph.D., or academic equivalent) at the time of application
-Have a proven record of publications in their field
-Have developed a detailed research outline for their fellowship project
How to Apply
In order to apply for the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship you must first create an account through our online portal. For detailed instructions on how to create an account, click here. Once you have set up an account, the application process requires you to submit:
1. Applicant information
2. Project proposal for the practitioner or the scholarly fellowship track
3. Letters of recommendation
4. Resume/CV and Biography
Please submit all application materials in English.
The Reagan-Fascell program holds an annual competition for fellowships, with applications due by November 1 and letters of recommendation due by November 8.
While in Washington, D.C., fellows work on a project related to the prospects for democracy in a particular country or region. Projects may focus on the political, social, economic, legal, and cultural aspects of democratic development and may include a range of methodologies and approaches. Projects should reflect the interests and expertise of the applicant and are not expected to include a study of, or comparison with, democracy in the United States.
Program staff consult with fellows on the theme and scope of their project, as well as their final product. Fellows must complete a written product (article, report, manual, book manuscript, etc.), in English or any other language, related to their research project.
Program Activities: Through its calendar of seminars, roundtables, field trips, and other events, the program seeks to: (a) build knowledge about the work of the Endowment and its core institutes; (b) provide education concerning democracy through field trips and seminars; (c) support outreach for dialogue and interaction with the governmental, nongovernmental, academic, and media communities around town and beyond; and (d) promote a sense of collegiality among fellows as a group. In addition, fellows benefit from the many informal social and cultural activities that the program has to offer, including trips to sporting events, museums, movies, and happy hours.
Financial Support: Each fellow receives a monthly stipend for living expenses, plus basic health insurance and roundtrip travel to and from Washington, D.C., at the beginning and end of the fellowship period. Fellowship payments are calculated to cover cost of a short-term, furnished rental apartment, plus “cost of living” for food, local transportation, and other necessities. Fellows are provided with a fully equipped office, plus a limited budget for long-distance phone calls and professional travel within the United States. Please note that fellows who wish to bring family members with them to Washington, D.C., will be expected to cover the costs of their dependents’ roundtrip travel and stay within the United States.
Research Associates: Research associates are assigned to work with several fellows and provide critical support in a variety of ways: consulting with fellows on the shape and direction of their projects, providing research, written, and editorial support on issues relating to the theory and practice of democracy, facilitating outreach, aiding in the preparation and follow-up of fellows’ public presentations, and providing other assistance as necessary.
Democracy Resource Center: Housed at NED, the Democracy Resource Center (DRC) is staffed by four librarians and contains approximately 20,000 works, including books, journals, grantee reports, and other publications on democracy.
Visas: Prior to their arrival in the United States, prospective fellows who are neither citizens nor permanent residents of the United States must obtain a J-1 exchange visitor visa in order to travel to the United States. Accompanying family members must obtain a J-2 visa.
Fellowship applicants cannot have participated in a J-1 research scholar program within the 24 months immediately preceding their Reagan-Fascell fellowship. Fellows who are sponsored on our J-1 visa are typically required by U.S. law to return to their home country for two years following the completion of their fellowship before they may apply for an H visa, an L visa, or for legal permanent residence.
The Reagan-Fascell program holds an annual competition for fellowships, with applications due by November 1. Applications are assessed through a rigorous evaluation process, including expert external and internal review, culminating in the selection of finalists by the Endowment’s Board of Directors. All applicants are notified of the competition’s outcome in mid-April.
In order to ensure a competitive selection process for the many candidates who apply each year, the Reagan-Fascell program is unable to offer fellowship deferrals except under extraordinary circumstances. Awardees who are unable to accept a fellowship in the year for which they applied may be asked to reapply if they remain interested in pursuing a fellowship in a future year.
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