International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars

The Program

The International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) for Tenured International Relations Scholars, sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, offers tenured academics whose research and teaching are connected to international peace and security issues practical experience in foreign policy through a twelve-month placement at a U.S. federal government agency, in Congress, or with an international organization.

The fellowship helps close the gap between research and practice, enriching both the teaching and scholarship of tenured academics give selected fellows experience as practitioners. The program also benefits policymakers by exposing them to critical scholarly research relevant to the foreign policy and national security issues facing the United States and the world. Professors from the humanities, social sciences, law, economics, regional studies, and other academic disciplines with research interests in international relations are encouraged to apply.

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.




  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens.
  • Applicants must be full-time tenured professors at a U.S. college or university whose research and teaching focuses on international relations, U.S. foreign policy, or other related fields.
  • Applicants must have arranged a paid sabbatical with their home university.
  • Applicants must hold a PhD.
  • Applicants must propose to spend a year working on peace and security issues in the U.S. government or at an international organization.

Preference is given to candidates with no significant work experience in the U.S. government or at an international organization. 

2017 TIRS Fellows
The IAF-TIRS exposed me to a wealth of new information about U.S. foreign policy pertaining to security, economics, and humanitarian matters. I use these insights to inform my teaching to better link theory and practice in international affairs in the classroom.
George Shambaugh, Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University (2017–18 IAF for TIRS)

Fellowship Award

The fellowship is for twelve months. Selected fellows will begin their one-year fellowship between June and September. Fellows must arrange a paid sabbatical with their home universities. The program will match 50 percent of the fellow’s base salary for the academic year at their university (up to a maximum of $80,000 for the year) as well as provide modest assistance for moving expenses for those who need to relocate for the fellowship. Fellows are considered independent contractors rather than employees of CFR and are not eligible for employment benefits, including health insurance. No indirect costs can be deducted from the stipend award.

CFR will assist fellows in finding a suitable placement for their fellowship. 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 least three days per week. 

Fellows seeking to spend their fellowship 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.

Selection Process

Selection as an IAF for Tenured International Relations Scholars is based on the following criteria: 

  • scholarly qualifications
  • professional experience and accomplishments
  • the merits and feasibility of a proposal that addresses a relevant U.S. foreign policy topic
  • the contribution the fellowship will make to the candidate’s insight on policymaking and its application to the candidate’s future research and teaching on international peace and security issues

The selection process is highly competitive. The selection committee chooses up to five applicants each year as fellows. Strong preference is given to candidates who have never received a CFR fellowship.

How to Apply

Interested candidates who meet the program’s eligibility requirements can apply online between August 15 and October 31, 2024, for the 2025–26 fellowship cycle. 

2023–24 Fellows

Affiliations at the time of the award

Karen Alter
Karen Alter

Norman Dwight Harris Professor of International Relations, Northwestern University

Ayse Kaya Orloff
Ayse Kaya Orloff

Professor of Political Science, Swarthmore College

Jacqueline McAllister
Jacqueline McAllister

Associate Professor of Political Science, Kenyon College

Jonathan Munemo
Jonathan Munemo

Professor of Economics, Perdue School of Business, Salisbury University

This fellowship is a wonderful opportunity for faculty to get a peek at the inner workings of the government... [and] build a network and an ecosystem that can inform their research making it more relevant and impactful.
Leena Thacker Kumar, Professor of Political Science, University of Houston, Downtown (2020–21 IAF for TIRS)


A complete list of former International Affairs Fellows for Tenured International Relations Scholars is available here

Contact Us

For more information, please contact [email protected].

Steven A. Cook, Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies and Director of the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars