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Fostering Sustainable Tourism Development in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Call for Applications

Fostering Sustainable Tourism Development in Latin America and the Caribbean:  A Call for Applications

Fostering Sustainable Tourism Development in Latin America and the Caribbean    

Click here to download the Wilson Center-Vidanta Foundation Fellowship brochure.

The Wilson Center's Latin American Program and the Vidanta Foundation launch a call for applications for a six-month residential fellowship in Washington, D.C., to conduct research and propose solutions for “Fostering Sustainable Tourism Development in Latin America and the Caribbean.” The residential fellowship will begin in September 2018.

Travel and tourism currently represent over 10 percent of global GDP. In the Americas alone, the industry accounted for over 16 million direct jobs in 2016 and generated some 8.5 percent of regional GDP, surpassed only by the construction, financial services, and retail sectors. Travel and tourism’s share of GDP in the region is expected to grow substantially in the future. For example, the World Travel and Tourism Council projects that the industry’s total contribution to GDP will rise in Costa Rica from 12.9 percent in 2017 to 14.7 percent in 2028; and in Colombia from 5.8 percent to 6.1 percent in the same period.

The level of competition for international visitors and overall improvement in country rankings is also on the rise. Mexico jumped eight positions in 2017, making it the leading country for travel and tourism in the Americas and 22nd globally according to the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report.

As countries of the region actively embrace tourism as part of a strategy for economic development, nations and local communities face ever greater challenges to reconcile the growth benefits of tourism with current and future social and environmental impacts. The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “taking full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.” How can the goals of sustainability—involving such issues as land use, impact on watersheds and native flora and fauna, pollution, and waste removal—become part of a strategy that integrates the goals of tourism development with the protection of vulnerable ecosystems and local communities? The landscapes, climate, biodiversity, and historical and cultural heritage of Latin America and the Caribbean will continue to attract visitors from within the region and all over the globe. As these flows expand, the need to embrace sustainability criteria in a host of areas becomes ever more crucial.

The Wilson Center and Vidanta Foundation seek applications for a six-month residential Fellowship on the issue of sustainable tourism in Latin America and the Caribbean. Applicants can address sustainability from a variety of perspectives, including tourism’s environmental, social, and local and national impacts.

The selection committee is seeking a candidate that ideally combines cooperative arrangements among key stakeholders, including government, the private sector, civil society and local communities, in order to generate innovative ideas, policies, and successful models or best practices for sustainable tourism.

Who is Eligible?

Applicants must be citizens of any Latin American or Caribbean country and currently reside in the region. Applicants must hold a valid passport and be eligible to obtain a J-1 visa. We welcome applications from outstanding women and men from a wide variety of backgrounds, including business, civil society, academia, journalism, and other professions.  Former government officials are eligible but current officials are not.

A command of spoken English is necessary since the Center encourages the exchange of ideas among its Fellows and with the broader Washington policy community.

Applicants must have an undergraduate or graduate degree and a minimum of five years of relevant work experience. The Fellowship is not open to current students or to those working on a Master’s-level or doctoral dissertation.

Benefits & Access

The residential Fellowship will take place at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. Each fellow is assigned a furnished office available to him or her every day around the clock. The Center is located in the heart of Washington, D.C., and includes conference rooms, a reference library, and a dining room. The building is a smoke-free environment.

The Wilson Center Library provides loan privileges with the Library of Congress and access to digital resources, its book and journal collections, and to university and special libraries in the area, and other research facilities.

Windows-based personal computers are provided, and each fellow is offered a part-time research assistant. Although fellows are responsible for locating their own housing in the Washington, D.C. area, the Center provides written materials to help facilitate the search process, if desired.

Fellows are provided with a monthly stipend and are required to purchase health insurance unless they have a medical plan that covers them while in the United States. The Fellowship includes round-trip airfare in economy class to and from Washington, D.C.

Length of Appointment

The Fellowship is for a minimum of four months and a maximum of six months.

Selection Process

Applications will be reviewed by the Latin American Program and Vidanta Foundation staff as well as outside experts. Specific application criteria are outlined below. The deadline for receipt of applications is June 15, 2018.  Appointment decisions will be made by July 15, 2018, for fellowships beginning in September 2018.

Selection Criteria

-  Significance of the proposed research, including the importance and originality of the project;
-  The quality of the proposal in organization, clarity, and scope; and
-  The capabilities and achievements of the applicant and the likelihood that he or she will accomplish the proposed project.

Projects should involve fresh research, in terms of both the overall issue and the applicant’s previous work. It is essential that projects have relevance to public and private decision makers, and fellows should want, and be prepared, to interact with policymakers throughout the Washington policy community and with others at the Wilson Center working on similar issues.

How to Apply?

Application materials should be submitted in English in the order listed below within a single PDF file via email:

1.    A current CV indicating educational and professional background, nationality, date of birth, and contact information (address, email, and telephone number). Only the first three pages of an applicant’s CV will be accepted.

2.    A project proposal not to exceed five double-spaced, typed pages, using a 12-point font.

3.    A short bibliography (optional and not to exceed one page) for the project that includes relevant print or on-line sources.

4.    An indication of why residency at the Center will be beneficial to the project.

5.    The names and contact information for two references, with an indication of how they know the applicant.

Please make your project clear to individuals outside your own field and explain its practical significance.  Applications that are not in English or submitted in a single PDF file will not be accepted. Completed applications, as well as any questions, should be submitted via email to:  The deadline for applications is June 15, 2018.

Image Source:  Babak Fakhamzadeh

Related Program

Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more