About the Program
Despite historic changes that have taken place in Russia over the past two decades and its subsequent emergence into the global community, there are still too few experts in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany with direct, meaningful experience in the modern business, government, public policy, and cultural environment of Russia. The Alfa Fellowship Program is designed to address this problem by providing a new and exciting opportunity for young professionals from the U.S., U.K., and Germany to live and work in Russia and to enable them to develop a genuine expertise through individualized professional assignments. As the program continues to expand, a new generation of American, British and German leaders is being exposed to Russian professional life and society.
The Alfa Fellowship Program sent the first group of Fellows from the U.S. to Russia in 2004. The program was expanded to include U.K. citizens in 2009, and German citizens in 2014.
The Program is funded by Alfa-Bank, and is administered in the U.S., U.K., and Germany by Cultural Vistas and in Moscow by the Fund for International Fellowships and Cultural Dialogue.
The Alfa Fellowship Program includes the following provisions:
- Round-trip transportation to New York City, London or Berlin and accommodation (if needed) for selection interviews
- U.S./U.K./Germany-based language training as required based on proficiency evaluation
- Orientation seminar in Washington, D.C., including speakers, activities, travel, and accommodation
- Program-related transportation between U.S./U.K./Germany and Russia
- Russia-based language training
- Moscow Seminar Program, including meetings, briefings, assignment planning, and excursions
- A generous monthly stipend during the program in Russia
- All program-related travel within Russia
- Accommodation in Russia
- Limited international health, accident, and liability insurance during the program in Russia
Alfa Fellows have a demonstrated interest in Russian and European/Eurasian affairs, exceptional academic and professional credentials, proven personal initiative, and clear goals and expectations for their professional assignments. Fellows tend to be between the ages of 25 and 35 with graduate degrees and professional experience in business, economics, journalism, law, public policy or a related field. Fellows possess leadership potential and are active in community or public service. While Russian language skills vary, most Fellows have studied Russian for at least two years at the post-secondary level.
- U.S., U.K., or German citizen between the ages of 25 and 35 (Russian citizens are ineligible to apply, including individuals who are also citizens of the United States, United Kingdom or Germany)
- Graduate degree and at least two years of relevant professional experience in business, economics, journalism, law, public policy or a related field. Candidates without a graduate degree completed or in progress must have an undergraduate degree and approximately 5-6 years of professional experience in their field.
- Outstanding professional achievement and academic qualifications
- Active involvement in community or public service
- Russian language experience is preferred, however not required, at the time of application. If an applicant does not speak
- Russian, he or she will need to demonstrate proficiency in a second language to qualify for the program
- Evidence of leadership potential
The Alfa Fellowship Program is a professional-level initiative focused on the Fellows' assignments in Russia. The Alfa Fellowship Program will not sponsor independent or academic research.
The Alfa Fellowship Program online application must be submitted by 11:59PM EST on December 1 and all supporting documents must arrive by the same date. In order to gain access to the online application system, please click on the "Apply Now" button on the left to fill out an application request.
Please be sure to review both the instructions below and the frequently asked questions here prior to beginning your application.
Please review these instructions before completing and submitting your application:
- The Alfa Fellowship Program application must be submitted online no later than 11:59PM EST on December 1, and any supporting documents not submitted online or via email must arrive in hard copy by the same date.
- You may log into, edit, and log out of your application at any time until you have clicked on the “Submit” button. Once an application has been submitted, it is considered final. Please make sure to click “Save” in each section you edit before exiting your application to ensure that all data is saved.
- Prior to submitting your application, please be sure to review the information you provided very carefully by clicking on the “Print Version” tab.
- Once you have submitted your application, you will not be permitted to view or make any changes to the information you provided. However, if you submit the application ahead of the deadline, your recommenders will still be able to submit their letters until 11:59PM on December 1.
- We recommend saving your resume, personal statement, and writing sample as PDF files in order to avoid formatting issues.
The following documents are required as part of your Alfa Fellowship Program application:
To be uploaded by the applicant in the “Documents” section:
- Current resume/CV
- Personal statement
Two pages maximum; please make sure to include your name on this document.
The personal statement should contain very specific information on the applicant’s background, experience, career aspirations, and interest in Russia. It should also include anticipated benefits of participation in the Alfa Fellowship Program for both the applicant and the host institution. It must also include realistic proposals for specific institutions that the applicant believes to be appropriate for his/her professional assignment.
For a complete list of past Alfa Fellows’ work placements, please visit the Professional Assignments page. Please note that while the personal statement must contain proposals for specific organizations, it is not required to include institutions from this list.
Russian writing sample
One page maximum on a topic of your choice. Please make sure to include your name on this document.
Please note: if you have ever studied Russian, you must submit a writing sample in Russian, regardless of your level. If you have never studied Russian, please submit a statement in English detailing other languages in which you are proficient, and when and where you acquired those language skills. Statements in languages other than English or Russian will not be reviewed.
To be submitted either in hard copy or electronically:
- Official graduate transcripts
These may either be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by the registrar or mailed directly to the Alfa Fellowship Program in a sealed envelope.Please note: if your degree is from a European university that does not issue official transcripts to third parties, a high-quality color scan of an official version will suffice. If possible, please request a scan to be emailed to email@example.com by your university registrar. If that is not possible, you can email it to us directly yourself.
Please do not submit copies or scans of your diploma verifying your degree. Instead, we require a transcript that contains a list of courses you completed and grades you received. For German applicants, this is a Zeugnis.
- Two letters of recommendation
At least one from someone who knows you in a professional capacity, ideally a current or former supervisor, either submitted by the recommender via the online system or mailed in a sealed envelope to the Alfa Fellowship Program. Please note: regardless of the method of submission, letters of recommendation must be on letterhead and be hand-signed by the recommender.
Additionally, please note that all letters of recommendation must be in English and should be addressed to the Alfa Fellowship Program Selection Committee.
The following documents are optional and can be uploaded online by the applicant in the “Documents” section:
- Undergraduate transcripts
If you feel it would be in your favor for the Selection Committee to review your undergraduate transcript, please upload it. Please note: If you do not have a graduate degree completed or in progress, you must submit an official undergraduate transcript following the instructions for graduate transcripts that are outlined above.
If you choose to upload a photo, please be sure that it is a professional-looking image that depicts you alone.
Please mail any hard copy materials to the following address:
Alfa Fellowship Program
440 Park Avenue South, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10016
Please do not submit any documents other than those outlined above. Please note that we are unable to return application materials.
Application and Selection
Selection for the Alfa Fellowship Program will be conducted on a competitive basis. A joint Russian-U.S.-U.K.-German Selection Committee will nominate up to eighteen Americans, Britons, and Germans to be awarded Alfa Fellowships at selection interviews held in New York City for U.S. candidates, in London for U.K. and German candidates. Please see the Program Year page for additional details.
Notifications of selection will be sent within several weeks of completing the selection interviews.
For more information click "Further official information" below.
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