The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Established in 1983 with funding from the U.S. Congress, the Endowment makes hundreds of grants each year to support pro-democracy groups in Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
The Endowment is guided by the belief that freedom is a universal human aspiration that can be realized through the development of democratic institutions, procedures, and values. Democracy cannot be achieved through a single election and need not be based upon the model of the United States or any other particular country. Rather, it evolves according to the needs and traditions of diverse political cultures. By supporting this process, the Endowment helps strengthen the bond between indigenous democratic movements abroad and the people of the United States—a bond based on a common commitment to representative government and freedom as a way of life. More about the NED
INTERNATIONAL FORUM FOR DEMOCRATIC STUDIES
The Endowment established the International Forum for Democratic Studies (the Forum) in 1994 in response to the need for sustained and serious study of democracy’s problems and prospects throughout the world. Since then, the Forum has become the preeminent center for analysis of the theory and practice of democratic development worldwide. It serves as a clearinghouse for information on the varied activities and experiences of groups and institutions working to achieve and maintain democracy around the world. Through its publication of the quarterly Journal of Democracy, its seminars and symposia, and its fellowship programs, the Forum enhances efforts to foster and strengthen democracy while also making important contributions to the field of comparative democratic studies. More about the Forum
REAGAN-FASCELL DEMOCRACY FELLOWS PROGRAM
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 practitioners, scholars, and journalists 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, the program provides a rich intellectual setting for educational exchange and professional development. 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.
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.
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 2017 (October 1, 2017–February 28, 2018) or Spring 2018 (March 1–July 31, 2018)
Helpful Hints for Fellowship Applicants
1. Start early and plan ahead.
Begin your application early so you will have ample time to complete all steps prior to the deadline. The application includes many components, including a personal statement, proposal, and related questions.
Referees cannot submit letters of recommendation until you complete Application Steps 1-3. Submit your application well before the deadline to leave time for your referees.
2. Identify and approach appropriate referees.
Choose your referees carefully and give them advance notice about competition deadlines. Referees should know you well enough to discuss the strength of your proposal and the potential impact of your work in your community or country.
Referees should not send a cursory note restating your accomplishments or certifying that you attended a course.
Type your answers into a word processing document before copying and pasting them into the Online Application System.
Save a backup copy in case of technical difficulties.
4. Clarify your fellowship goals up front.
- State your goals clearly at the beginning of your proposal and throughout your application. Be specific. This helps the selection committee understand your goals and evaluate your application.
- Don’t be afraid to express your passion for democracy and the importance of your proposed project. The application is your only opportunity to express your commitment to your field of work.
5. Be sure your proposal is feasible in the fellowship period.
- Think about the timeline of your proposed project and show that you will be able to complete your proposed work during the five-month fellowship period.
- If your proposal is part of a broader project, clarify and explain this distinction.
- Be sure to meet the minimum word count for each question. Word counts are carefully calculated to ensure that applicants answer each question in sufficient detail. The Online Application System will not let your proceed until you meet the minimum word count required for each question.
- Do not repeat sentences or include filler material in order to meet the minimum word count; this will not reflect well on your overall application.
7. Explain your project’s impact.
- How is your project going to make a difference to your country, your community, and yourself? The most successful applications show how a project will contribute to strengthening democratic institutions and values. They also explain how the fellowship will contribute to the candidate’s ability to promote democratic change.
8. Submit original work.
- Your project proposal should reflect your own original work. The program has zero tolerance for plagiarism and checks all applications for evidence of unacknowledged material. Cite sources if you include quotes or draw on reference materials.
Note: Scholarly track candidates should include a bibliography as part of the application.
9. Show why you need to be in Washington, DC.
- Why is a five-month stay at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C. necessary to conduct your project?
- With advances in technology and broad access to information, much work can be done remotely. Explain how being in
- Washington, D.C. adds value to your project.
- Remember—the fellowship doesn’t fund fieldwork outside the U.S. or Washington, DC.
- List key resources and people you have identified to carry out research, conduct interviews, and achieve your goals.
10. Get feedback, revise, and proofread your application.
- Ask trusted friends or colleagues to read a draft of your application and offer candid feedback. Take time to revise and edit early versions. The most successful proposals are those that have gone through several drafts.
- Proofread carefully one final time before submitting your application.
For more information click "Further official information" below.
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