International Affairs Fellowship in India

The Program

The IAF in India program is not accepting applications for the 2024–25 fellowship year.

The International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) in India, created with a grant contributed by Bharti Enterprises, seeks to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation between rising generations of leaders and thinkers in the United States and India. The program is intended for mid-career U.S. professionals who have had little or no experience in India. The program enables selected fellows to spend three to twelve months conducting research in India, developing a new professional network, and gaining deeper insights into the opportunities and challenges facing the world’s most populous democracy. Fellows come from academia, business, government, journalism, NGOs, and think tanks.

Hear From Past International Affairs Fellows


"We see the folks that really have a huge impact on the conversations that we are having, the questions that we are asking, and the direction that we are headed,” says historian Melissa Jane Taylor about her experience as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow. Described as the “Jewel of the Council,” the International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) programs aim to bridge scholarship and practice by giving participants transformative opportunities to work in a new environment they will give them a different perspective at a critical point in their careers. Whether at home in the United States, or abroad in Canada, Europe, Indonesia, and Japan, fellows work in government, international organizations, and think tanks and universities. Join the more than 650 alumni–including Condoleezza Rice and Samantha Power–in shaping the field of foreign policy and the world.

I feel tremendously fortunate to have gotten to spend time working on my research topic, the India-Russia relationship, for a few months on this fellowship. But more than that, I feel luckier than I will ever be able to put into words to have gotten to spend time in India.
Emily Tamkin, Freelance Reporter (2019–20 IAF in India)
2019 IAF in India Fellows


  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens.
  • Applicants must be mid-career professionals.
  • Applicants must have a U.S. passport, valid through six months after the fellowship end date.
  • Applicants must possess a strong record of professional achievement.
  • Applicants must have a demonstrated commitment to a career in foreign policy and have an interest in U.S.-India relations.
  • Applicants must hold at least a bachelor's degree.

Although the program is intended primarily for those without experience in India, applicants with experience will be considered if they can demonstrate that the fellowship would add a significant new dimension to their careers. Knowledge of Hindi or other local languages is not required. 

Fellowship Award

The fellowship runs between three and twelve months. The program awards a stipend of $90,000 for a period of twelve months (or a prorated amount if the duration is shorter) as well as a modest travel allowance. Fellows are considered independent contractors rather than employees of CFR and are not eligible for employment benefits, including health insurance.

CFR will work with its network of contacts to assist selected fellows in finding a host organization that best matches the fellow's proposed work in India. Possible placements include but are not limited to CFR’s local partner, the Centre for Policy Research, as well as the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, the Observer Research Foundation, United Services Institution of India, and others. 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 least two to three days per week.

Luke Bronin on the streets of chennai
The program gave me access to meet with leaders and senior officials in almost every field and I took full advantage of building a deeper understanding of India. It’s hard to imagine a better opportunity to immerse yourself in one of the most consequential countries in the world.
Luke A. Bronin, Mayor of Hartford, State of Connecticut (2008–09 IAF in India)

Selection Process

Selection as an IAF in India is based on the following criteria:

  • scholarly qualifications
  • professional experience
  • firm grounding in foreign policy
  • merits and feasibility of a project proposal that relates to U.S.-India relations
  • character and personal qualities conducive to promoting cross-cultural communication and cooperation

The selection process is highly competitive. The selection committee chooses one to three applicants each year as fellows.

How to Apply

The IAF in India program is not accepting applications for the 2024–25 fellowship year.


A complete list of former International Affairs Fellows in India is available here.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact [email protected]