An extraordinary program - substantive on the key foreign policy issues of the day, conducted in an environment conducive to open and nonpartisan discussion and debate. It encourages the building of professional relationships across the aise that will stand both the participants and our nation in good stead in the years ahead.”

– Stephen Hadley, former National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush

The Need

Every day, Congressional staff advise Members on the conduct of U.S. foreign and defense policy. It is critically important that both Members and staff be well-versed in a range of complex issues.

What the Fellowship Offers

The core of the Fellowship Program is a six-week seminar series that encourages Fellows to debate key issues with some of the nation’s leading foreign policy thinkers and practitioners. Each session will encourage analytical approaches and fresh perspectives on a key issue, and will include a recommended reading list.

Each week's seminar also includes an interactive exercise, in which Fellows are divided into four core groups and given scenarios to roleplay that emphasize the role of the legislative branch.

Alumni Program

Fellows who attend 5 out of 6 sessions will receive a certificate of completion from the Wilson Center and join the Woodrow Wilson Foreign Policy Fellowship Alumni Network. Alumni will be invited to attend exclusive Wilson Center events and programs, including private briefings, study trips, and high-level roundtables.

During the seminar series, Fellows will also be able to draw on the expertise and knowledge of the 150 resident scholars that the Wilson Center hosts each year – a diverse group of policymakers, academics, and executives from both the public and private sectors.

Who Should Apply

The Wilson Center invites mid- to senior-level Congressional staff to participate in the Fellowship Program; the Program is also open to exceptional rising leaders with a keen interest in foreign policy who staff other U.S. policymakers. Each year, the Center hosts two seminar series (Spring and Fall) with roughly 50 participants each. Applicants should possess a strong understanding of the legislative process and aspire to a career shaping foreign policy.

Application Requirements and Dates

Applications for the Spring 2016 Fellowship Program will be open from February 21st until March 18th. 

The dates for the Spring 2016 Seminar Series are April 8th, April 15th, April 22nd, April 29th, May 6th and May 13th . If accepted, each fellow is required to attend at least five out of the six sessions, which run on Fridays from 2:30pm - 5:30pm. Please do not apply unless you know you can meet the attendance requirements.


"Every institution in town promises bipartisanship; the Foreign Policy Fellowship Program delivers. The experts know their topics front-to-back, the simulations push past clichés, and the last connections that Fellows make prove that politics can truly stop at the water's edge."

- Tyler Houlton, Chief of Staff to Rep. Glenn Grothman