Ford Foundation International Fellowships

The Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program (IFP) provides opportunities for advanced study to exceptional individuals who will use this education to become leaders in their respective fields, furthering development in their own countries and greater economic and social justice worldwide. To ensure that Fellows are drawn from diverse backgrounds, IFP actively seeks candidates from social groups and communities that lack systematic access to higher education.
IFP is the largest single program ever supported by the Ford Foundation. By investing $280 million over twelve years through 2012, the Foundation intends to build on its half century of support for higher education. Foundation programs have long promoted the highest educational standards and achievement. Ford fellowship recipients have become leaders in institutions around the world and have helped build global knowledge in fields ranging across the natural and social sciences as well as the humanities and arts. IFP draws on this tradition and underscores the Foundation's belief that education enables people to improve their own lives as well as to assist others in the common pursuit of more equitable and just societies.
IFP is a program of the New York City-based International Fellowships Fund. The Fund (IFF) is an independently incorporated supporting organization of the Institute of International Education (IIE). The IFP Secretariat is housed at IIE headquarters in New York, which disburses Fellows' funds, and provides university placement for many IFP Fellows. IFP also works closely with Ford Foundation offices around the world, which have played a key role in the program's development.

General Guidelines

The Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program provides support for up to three years of formal graduate-level study leading to a masters or doctoral degree. Fellows are selected from countries and territories in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Russia, where the Ford Foundation maintains active overseas programs. U.S. nationals are not eligible, although Fellows may study in the United States.
Fellows are chosen on the basis of their leadership potential and commitment to community or national service, as well as for academic excellence. Fellows may enroll in masters or doctoral programs and may pursue any academic discipline or field of study that is consistent with the interests and goals of the Ford Foundation. The Foundation currently works in thirteen fields to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement.
Once selected, Ford Foundation International Fellows may enroll in an appropriate university program anywhere in the world, including their country of residence. The program provides placement assistance to those Fellows not yet admitted to graduate school.
IFP support also enables Fellows to undertake short-term language study and training in research and computer skills prior to graduate school enrollment. In addition, new Fellows attend orientation sessions, while current Fellows actively participate in learning and discussion activities designed to create information and exchange networks among Ford Foundation IFP Fellows worldwide. Finally, the program encourages IFP alumni to maintain contact with the program after completing the fellowships to help them remain current in their respective fields through the expanding Ford Foundation IFP network.
Because local requirements vary widely among IFP countries, applicants should carefully follow the specific application guidelines provided by the relevant IFP International Partner organizations, including deadlines for the submission of applications.

Who Can Apply?

Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program applicants must be resident nationals or residents of an eligible IFP country or territory. Currently, these are: Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Palestinian Territories, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, and Vietnam. IFP selects Fellows on the strength of their clearly-stated intention to serve their communities and countries of origin, and expects that they will honor this obligation.
Successful candidates will:
  • Demonstrate superior achievement in their undergraduate studies and hold a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent.
  • Have substantial experience in community service or development-related activities.
  • Possess leadership potential evidenced by their employment and academic experience.
  • Propose to pursue a post-baccalaureate degree that will directly enhance their leadership capacity in a practical, policy, academic, or artistic discipline or field corresponding to one or more of the Foundation's areas of endeavor.
  • Present a plan specifying how they will apply their studies to social problems or issues in their own countries. Commit themselves to working on these issues following the fellowship period.
IFP Fields of Study
Ford Foundation International Fellows may choose to study in any academic discipline or field of study related to the Ford Foundation's three grant-making areas, which are:
Asset Building and Community Development
  • Community Development
  • Development Finance and Economic Security
  • Work-force Development
  • Environment and Development
Knowledge, Creativity, and Freedom
  • Arts and Culture
  • Education and Scholarship
  • Media
  • Religion, Society and Culture
  • Sexuality and Reproductive Health
Peace and Social Justice
  • Civil Society
  • Governance
  • Human Rights


The Application Process


All applications must be submitted to the appropriate IFP International Partner in the country or region where the applicant resides. IFP International Partners determine application deadlines and selection schedules in their region or country. Applications are reviewed and final selections decided by panels composed of practitioners and scholars from various fields of work and study. The level and duration of awards are determined as part of the selection process. Ford Foundation staff and their family members may not serve on selection panels and are not eligible to apply for IFP awards. Members of selection committees, staff of the organizations managing the program in the various regions, and their family members are also ineligible for IFP awards.

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