Stanford University Fully Funded Summer Fellows Program, 17 July - 5 August 2016, USA

Publish Date: Nov 10, 2015

Deadline: Nov 18, 2015

Event Dates: from Jul 17, 2016 12:00 to Aug 05, 2016 12:00

Launched in 2005, the Draper Hills Summer Fellowship on Democracy and Development Program (DHSFDD) is a three-week academic training program that is hosted annually at Stanford University's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. The program brings together a group of 25 to 30 mid-career practitioners in law, politics, government, private enterprise, civil society, and international development from transitioning countries. This training program provides a unique forum for emerging leaders to connect, exchange experiences, and receive academic training to enrich their knowledge and advance their work.

For three weeks during the summer, fellows participate in academic seminars that expose them to the theory and practice of democracy, development, and the rule of law. Delivered by leading Stanford faculty from the Stanford Law School, the Graduate School of Business, and the departments of economics and political science, these seminars allow emerging leaders to explore new institutional models and frameworks to enhance their ability to promote democratic change in their home countries.

Guest speakers from private foundations, think tanks, government, and the justice system, provide a practitioners viewpoint on such pressing issues in the field. Past program speakers have included: Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California Honorable Tino Cuéllar; Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy; Stacy Donohue, director of investments at the Omidyar Network; Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google; and Judge Lucy Koh, judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Summer Fellows also visit Silicon Valley technology firms such as Google and Twitter to explore how technology tools and social media platforms are being used to catalyze democratic practices on a global scale.

Alumni of the DHSFDD become part of the Omidyar Network Leadership Forum, an alumni program that strives to build a global community of democracy activists. Fellows continue to strengthen their connection to Stanford and with members of the network through regional workshops, reunions and capacity-building opportunities around the world

The program is funded by generous support from Bill and Phyllis Draper and Ingrid von Mangoldt Hills. View last year’s program agenda and read the 2015 class bios


Our program curriculum combines a style of five different sessions, which include:

1. Academic sessions provide a framework and theory to understand democratic development taught by interdisciplinary faculty from across Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Sessions examine political development, democratic transitions, the relationship of law to economic development, public administration, administrative law, transitional justice, food security, and global health policy, among others. Lectures are accompanied by a set of academic readings drawn from books and journals that participants are asked to complete before each lecture. Please reference our program agendas to learn more about our academic sessions.

2. Case study workshops are rooted in real-world stories and scenarios of specific policy reforms that have taken place in developing countries. Rather than serve as examples of “best practices” or “how-to” guides, the cases are designed to encourage participants to think critically about the key decisions that have led to policy reforms. They are written from the perspective of decision-makers who have designed or executed specific policies and they demonstrate how effective public officials think and act strategically. They show how these leaders address technical obstacles while simultaneously taking into careful consideration the political, cultural and social constraints to reforms. The cases we use for teaching can be found in our case study library

3. Ted-style talks allow fellows to tell their story to the group to uncover more about their work, personal life, and struggles to overcome injustice and advance democracy. These talks begin in the first week of the program and conclude by the second week, allowing fellows a chance to connect on a personal level and develop peer connections early in the program. Fellows are asked to begin preparing their Ted-style talk in advance of the fellowship program. You can watch select Ted-style talks from our 2015 fellows here.

4. Guest lectures feature prominent figures in public service, the technology industry, and the philanthropic community who provide a practitioners' perspective for our fellows, and allows them to make strategic connections to these organizations.

5. Site visits to leading technology firms, such as Google and Twitter, allow fellows to get an inside perspective on Silicon Valley’s leading tech giants and how their platforms can help support democracy leaders.

The program's interdisciplinary faculty includes leading political scientists, lawyers, and economists pioneering innovative research and analysis in the fields of democracy, development and the rule of law. Faculty engage the fellows to test their theories, exchange ideas and learn first-hand about the challenges activists face in places where democracy is at threat. CDDRL Draper Hills Summer Fellows core faculty includes: Francis Fukuyama, Larry Diamond, Kathryn Stoner, Erik Jensen, Stephen Krasner, Stephen Stedman and Michael McFaul.


This program is aimed at mid-career practitioners working actively in the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law. Applicants can be working as policy-makers, academics, legal professionals, social entrepreneurs, business entrepreneurs, and leaders of civil society organizations (such as representatives of trade unions, nongovernmental organizations, the media, business and professional associations). In their present capacity, applicants should play important and influential roles in their country's political, economic, and social development. Participants should have demonstrated professional and personal achievements in a relevant sector of democracy, development, and the rule of law.

Each year we strive to recruit a diverse group of 25 to 30 individuals who are at the right stage in their professional trajectory to benefit from a rigorous academic training to enhance their potential to promote democratic change in their home countries. Successful applicants will have academic credentials necessary to participate and contribute to the six-hour seminars each day, and tackle advanced academic readings to complement the classroom-based curriculum. Ninety-nine percent of our alumni hold a bachelor's degree at the time of their participation in the program but this is not a requirement for admission to the program.

A working knowledge of English is an important prerequisite for participation in the program. It is expected that each fellow have a solid command of written and spoken English to fully benefit and participate in the program. Semi- finalists may be asked to participate in a short phone interview and/or submit a short 3-4 min video testimonial. The ideal participant will have extraordinary motivation and a keen interest in learning as well as sharing knowledge and experiences to help build and enrich the alumni community.


Due to the large volume of applications we receive each year to the fellowship program, we take our selection criteria very seriously. Please review the criteria below very carefully before submitting your application to the program. If you do not meet these criteria your application will not be reviewed.

1. This is not an academic fellowship but meant for practitioners only. We value practical experience over academic credentials, and we admit scholars only to the extent that they are active in government, public policy, civil society, economic development and rule of law. They should hold leadership roles in their respective sector.

2. Applicants must be mid-career practitioners and have at least ten to 12 years of experience to qualify for the fellowship. Those with more experience are much more competitive in the selection process.

3. Candidates must be from and currently reside in a country where democracy is not well entrenched. Candidates residing outside their home country due to war or conflict may be granted exceptions. Applicants will not be accepted from countries such as: the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and member states of the European Union.

4. Candidates must be at least 28 years of age at the start of the fellowship in July 2016. The average age of our fellows at the time of the program is 38.

5. Candidates must be actively working in the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law. We do not accept candidates who are in the midst of full-time university degree programs.

6. Candidates must have a solid command of written and spoken English. All program materials and sessions are in English. Participants will also be required to give 9-minute TED-style talks throughout the three-week program regarding their work and motivation. English language proficiency is very important in order to benefit and contribute to the program dialogue.


Stanford will pay travel, accommodation, and living expenses for the duration of the three-week program for applicants. Participants will be housed on the Stanford campus in residential housing during the program. When possible, applicants are encouraged to supply some or all of their own funding from their current employers or international nongovernmental organizations. The program is unable to provide funding for families to accompany fellows to Stanford for the program or to accommodate them during the program's duration.


We ask that all applicants carefully read the application guidelines in their entirety before applying to the program. You should also carefully review the frequently asked questions section at the end of the booklet to address any questions you may have concerning the application process. The guidelines cover all steps in the application process. We ask that you please do not reach out to the program team unless a question is not covered in this booklet. If there are any questions or difficulty with the application, please email:



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