International Affairs Fellowship

The IAF program has produced 650 alumni who constitute a whos who of the U.S. foreign policy community, including a former secretary, several undersecretaries of state, and ambassadors. 

The Program

Established in 1967, the International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) aims to bridge the gap between the study and making of U.S. foreign policy by creating the next generation of scholar-practitioners. The program offers its fellows the unique chance to experience a new environment and gain a different perspective at a pivotal moment in their careers. Academics are placed in public service and policy-oriented settings and government officials in scholarly settings. The IAF program now has more than 650 alumni, constituting a who’s who of the U.S. foreign policy community, who include a former secretary of state, several undersecretaries of state and defense, ambassadors, and many other influential leaders in government, academia, and the private sector.


  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens. 
  • Applicants must be mid-career professionals.
  • Applicants must have a strong record of professional achievement and a firm grounding in the field of foreign policy. 
  • Applicants must hold at least a bachelor's degree or equivalent. 

A PhD is not required for university-based applicants, though successful candidates from academia typically hold an advanced degree. The program does not fund pre- or postdoctoral research, work toward a degree, or the completion of projects on which substantial progress has been made before the fellowship period. For candidates from academia and the private sector looking to go into government, preference is given to candidates with no significant work experience in the U.S. government or at an international organization.

2019 IAF Keynote
If it had not been for my experience as an IAF, I would not have been able to negotiate the New START Treaty. Working on START I in Geneva with negotiators Linton Brooks and Rick Burt and their teams was a formative experience, one I never forgot.
Rose E. Gottemoeller, Deputy Secretary-General, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1989–90 IAF)

Fellowship Award

The fellowship runs for twelve months, preferably starting in September. The fellowship stipend is $120,000. Fellows are independent contractors rather than employees of CFR and are not eligible for employment benefits, including health insurance.

CFR will assist selected fellows in finding a suitable placement for their fellowship year. However, all placements are made at the discretion of the host institution. CFR cannot guarantee placement at any particular agency, office, or organization. The fellowship is intended as an in-person experience; fellows should expect to work on-site with their host organization or agency at two to three days per week. 

Fellows seeking to spend the fellowship year working at a U.S. government agency likely will need to obtain a security clearance. The process for obtaining a security clearance can be lengthy, and the U.S. government alone determines when a clearance can be granted. Because of the time needed to obtain a security clearance, affected fellows need to be flexible about their fellowship start date or be willing to begin their fellowships in a position that does not require a security clearance. Placements at international organizations and on Capitol Hill typically do not require security clearances.

Each year, to ensure that national security remains a focus within the program, two or more awardees whose proposed research focuses on existing or emerging national security threats are given the special designation of International Affairs Fellow in National Security.

If given the rare opportunity to have an experience that redefines your career trajectory ... take it! That’s what my IAF did for me!
Curtis Valentine, Deputy Director, Progressive Policy Institute (2013–14 IAF)

Selection Process

Selection as an IAF is based on the following criteria: 

  • scholarly qualifications
  • professional experience
  • merits and feasibility of project proposal that relates to a relevant U.S. foreign policy topic
  • contribution that the fellowship will make to the applicant's career development

The selection process is highly competitive. A selection committee reviews all applications and selects twenty applicants for interviews. The selection committee typically awards eight to ten fellowships each year. 

How to Apply

Interested candidates who meet the program’s eligibility requirements can apply online between July 1 and October 31, 2023, for the 2024–25 fellowship cycle. 

2022–23 Fellows

Affiliations at the time of the award

Adam  Auerbach
Adam Auerbach

Associate Professor, School of International Service, American University

Colin Cookman*
Colin Cookman*

Program Officer, United Stated Institute of Peace

Duyeon Kim
Duyeon Kim

Adjunct Senior Fellow, Indo-Pacific Security Program, Center for New American Security

Jamie Morgan*
Jamie Morgan*

Staff Director, Subcommittee on Asia, The Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation

Aroop Mukharji*
Aroop Mukharji*

Visiting Scholar, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Faith Okpotor
Faith Okpotor

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Moravian University

Renard  Sexton
Renard Sexton

Assistant Professor, Emory University

Aqil  Shah*
Aqil Shah*

Associate Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Oklahoma

Benjamin Spatz
Benjamin Spatz

Senior Lecturer, Graduate School of Business, University of Capetown

Melissa Jane Taylor
Melissa Jane Taylor

Historian, Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State

Anna Van Hollen
Anna Van Hollen

Director of Policy Planning, Meta

* International Affairs Fellow in National Security


The complete list of former International Affairs Fellows is available here.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact [email protected]