The Woodrow Wilson Foreign Policy Fellowship is a highly competitive program offering qualified mid- to senior congressional staff an opportunity for in-depth focus and engagement on critical foreign policy issues relevant to the Congressional agenda. The Fellowship Program is also open to exceptional rising leaders who staff other U.S. policymakers who are keenly interested in foreign policy issues.
Please Note: This Fellowship is open only to to mid- to senior level Congressional Staff as well as exceptional rising leaders who staff other U.S. policymakers.
Every day, Congressional staff advise Members on the conduct of U.S. foreign and defense policy. There is a critical need for both Members and their personal staff to be both up-to-date and well-versed in the nuances of a wide range of complex issues.
The Woodrow Wilson Foreign Policy Fellowship Program helps fulfill this need by offering an exclusive six-week Seminar Series, conducted by leading scholars, analysts, and policy practitioners.
"The Woodrow Wilson Foreign Policy Fellowship Program presents a great opportunity for Congressional staff to engage with thought leaders and colleagues on a bipartisan and informal basis to discuss and analyze the top foreign policy and national security issues facing our nation today. This sort of bipartisan, bicameral collaboration is an invaluable resource to provide a framework for good, informed policy making on these important topics.” --Representative Richard L. Hanna (R-NY)
Past Topics and Speakers:
- China as an Emerging Global Power featuring Jeffrey Bader, Former Senior Director for East Asian Affairs on the National Security Council;
- The United States in a Globalized World featuring New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman and Stephen Hadley, Former National Security Adviser under President George W. Bush;
- The Future of the Arab Awakening;
- Maximizing Congress' role in Foreign Policy
All Fellows will be selected on a competitive, bipartisan basis.
What the Fellowship Offers
The core of the Fellowship Program is a six-week Seminar Series which will allow the Fellows to interact, debate, and discuss key issues with some of the nation’s leading foreign policy thinkers and practitioners. Each session will focus on encouraging analytical approaches and fresh perspectives on a specific issue and will include a recommended reading list. The program will also include opportunities for Fellows to develop materials relevant to the Congressional agenda, such as one-minute speeches, op-eds, and policy briefs.
A key component of the program is the interactive session in which Fellows are divided into four core groups and given scenarios to simulate, role play, and field questions from their colleagues. Examples of interactive sessions include:
- A role play between Congressional staff and Leader(s) of the fictitious “Bipartisan” party in Congress. Staffers were asked to present to the Leader(s) recommendations on how to fix Congress.
- Simulating mock summits between the President (of the United States) and world leaders such as Ali Khameni; Raul Castro; Kim Jong-un; and Bashar al-Assad. Groups were asked to identify contentious issues in the bilateral relationship and outline a plan to resolve them.
In addition to the substance, the Seminar Series will help foster bipartisanship and create, over time, a cadre of alumni who are knowledgeable about the issues as well as committed to a more collegial and open dialogue.
Fellows who attend 5 out of 6 sessions will receive a certificate of completion from the Wilson Center and will be inducted into the Woodrow Wilson Foreign Policy Fellowship Alumni Program. All Fellows, alumni, and Congressional Members will be invited to attend exclusive Wilson Center events, panels, and programs including our signature Day at the Wilson Center event, National Conversations (run in partnership with NPR), and an annual dinner featuring keynote speakers and expert panels on timely foreign policy issues.
During the Seminar Series, Fellows will also be able to draw on the expertise and knowledge of the 150 resident scholars – a diverse, competitively-selected group of policymakers, academics, and executives from both the public and private sectors – the Wilson Center hosts each year from the United States and around the world.
The Woodrow Wilson Foreign Policy Fellowship Program is generously supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.