Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program
President Derek Bok established the Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program (HSAFP) in 1979 to address the needs of South Africans who were denied access to advanced education by the apartheid system. This program was established, and is still intended, for mid-career professionals educationally disadvantaged by past laws and resource allocations in South Africa. HSAFP seeks to expand its reach to institutions and organizations across South Africa in a continued effort to draw the broadest possible range of candidates for the program. In addition, the University – reflecting the current South African constitution – has expanded its applicant pool to extend to all South Africans, regardless of ethnicity or race.
Fellows are selected because they have shown considerable skill in their chosen fields, and are expected to benefit from advanced training. Fellowships are for a year of study in one of Harvard’s Professional Schools or Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, with tuition waivers provided by the School once fellows are admitted. General administrative funds for program management, stipends, and airfare for the fellow are provided by the Office of the President, and administered by the Center for African Studies, under the directorship of Professor John Mugane. Since the inception of the Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program, the Center for African Studies has awarded over 200 fellowships.
The HSAFP was conceived largely to provide educational enrichment for men and women in mid-career, that is, individuals in various occupations who have shown considerable skill in their chosen fields and leadership and are expected to benefit from advanced training. Thus candidates who have just completed, or who have not yet completed, a first degree are not selected unless this degree has been pursued concurrently with, or subsequent to, experience in the workplace. Fellows usually range in age from 30 to 45 years. Fellows must be South African citizens.
Fellows submit their applications directly to the Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program at Harvard University. A committee of HSAFP alumni, Center staff and the CAS Faculty Director will interview the short-listed applicants in South Africa. Successful candidates must then apply to and be admitted at the specific Harvard school where they intend to study.
Applicants should determine well in advance whether, if awarded a fellowship, they can be granted leave by their employers for Harvard’s academic year. They should generally plan to be in residence at Harvard from September until June. However, some programs require fellows to begin residence on July 1st. No candidate should accept an interview unless assured that such leave will be granted. The Center does not wish to assign fellowships to anyone who subsequently finds it impossible to use the opportunity.
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