The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program offers five-month fellowships to practitioners to focus on strategies and best practices for developing democracy in their country of interest; and to scholars to conduct original research for publication. Projects may address the economic, political, social, legal, or cultural aspects of democratic development and include a range of methodologies and approaches.
While the two tracks share many common elements, they have different eligibility requirements and distinct goals, activities, and products associated with them.
The Practitioner Track
The Reagan-Fascell program was established with the primary purpose of supporting democracy activists, human rights advocates, journalists, and others who work on the frontlines of building democracy in emerging and aspiring democracies. The program provides practitioners with a needed break from their daily routine so that they may reflect on their work, exchange ideas and experiences with counterparts in the United States, and reevaluate techniques for building democracy in their country of origin.
Practitioner fellowships are typically five months in duration and culminate in a report, short article, op-ed, handbook, or another product, as well as a formal presentation of the fellow’s analysis and ideas.
Applicants interested in 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. A Ph.D., for instance, is not required of practitioner applicants. While there are also no age limits, applicants on the practitioner track are typically mid-career professionals with several years of professional experience in the field of democracy and human rights.
Examples of eligible candidates for the practitioner track include human rights advocates, lawyers, journalists, labor leaders, political party activists, diplomats, professional staff of civic or humanitarian organizations, and other civil society professionals from developing and aspiring democracies.
The Scholarly Track
In recognition of the importance of intellectual contributions to the theory and practice of democracy, the Reagan-Fascell program offers a scholarly track for scholars, professors, and established writers. Applicants for this track may be scholars from emerging and aspiring democracies or accomplished scholars from the United States and other established democracies.
Fellowships on the scholarly track are typically five months in duration. Scholars make at least one public presentation of their work and complete a substantial piece of writing (typically an article or book) for publication.
Applicants interested in the scholarly track are expected to possess a doctorate (a Ph.D., or academic equivalent) at the time of application, to have a proven record of publications in their field, 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, researchers, journalists, and other writers from developing and aspiring democracies. Distinguished scholars from the United States or other established democracies are also eligible to apply. Occasionally, a professional who is planning to write a book or other scholarly publication may qualify to apply on the scholarly track.
Eligibility Requirements for All Applicants
- Citizens of any country may apply
- Proficiency in the English language
- Topics focusing on the political, social, economic, legal, or cultural aspects of democratic development
- Availability to be in residence at the International Forum for Democratic Studies in Washington, D.C., during the year for which candidates are applying for a fellowship
English Language Requirement
Under new visa regulations, exchange program sponsors are required to ascertain prospective J-1 exchange visitors’ proficiency in the English language prior to their arrival in the United States. In compliance with these regulations, fellowship finalists seeking J-1 visa sponsorship will be invited to participate in brief video interviews via Skype with Reagan-Fascell staff.
All application materials must be submitted in English. While fellows’ primary product may be in their native language, they should have a solid command of written and spoken English for general communication purposes.
Individuals Ineligible to Apply:
- Students enrolled in an ongoing degree-granting program at the proposed start of the fellowship period
- Students seeking scholarships, or other types of financial aid, to defray the cost of their education
- Ph.D. candidates & postdoctoral scholars seeking funding to pursue doctoral/postdoctoral research
- Professionals seeking financial assistance to pay for trainings, attend conferences, or pursue internships
- Individuals without proficiency in the English language
- Applicants whose projects fail to draw a connection to democracy and human rights
- Candidates unavailable for a fellowship in Fall 2018 (October 1, 2018–February 28, 2019) or Spring 2019 (March 1–July 31, 2019)