Point of View

by Rosemary Lyon, director, Scholar Selection and Services

Jun 11, 2003

From the earliest days of its existence, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has had an international fellowship program. Hundreds of distinguished fellows have come to the Center over the years, including eminent professors in virtually all disciplines, widely known journalists, and outstanding practitioners working in both government and the private sector. Past fellows include such luminaries as Shlomo Avineri, Bronislav Geremek, General Andew Goodpaster, Gertrude Himmelfarb, George Kennan, and many other people who have achieved the top ranks of their disciplines and professions.

With the passage of time, the nature of the fellowship program has changed. In 1997, the U.S. Congress, conscious of its obligation to spend U.S. tax dollars wisely, mandated that the fellows funded by the Center work on issues important to public policy.
Since then, many more fellowship applicants have been in the fields of political science and international
relations.

The Center wants to emphasize, however, that the fellowships are not restricted to scholars in these disciplines. When Center staff members attend academic conferences and professional meetings, we sometimes hear that historians do not think they are welcome to apply. On the contrary, we are very interested in receiving applications from historians, as well as from anthropologists, economists, sociologists and scholars in other social science/humanities disciplines.

It is true that applicants must make a good case for linking their proposed research with public policy. However, research proposals that provide the historical background against which current public policy issues can be understood are very welcome and are actively encouraged.

We value diversitydiversity in discipline, country of origin, geographic focus, gender, age, and ethnicityand that diversity definitely includes historians.