Robert A. Belfer International Affairs Fellowship in European Security

The Program

The Robert A. Belfer International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) in European Security seeks to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation between rising generations of leaders and thinkers in Europe and the United States. The program enables mid-career U.S. professionals to spend up to twelve months conducting research and working in Europe at a think tank, university, government agency, or international organization on issues pertaining to European security. Individuals from academia, business, government, journalism, NGOs, and think tanks are all 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 mid-career professionals.
  • Applicants must have a strong record of professional achievement.
  • Applicants must have a demonstrated commitment to a career in foreign policy and have an interest in European security.
  • Applicants must hold at least a bachelor's degree.
  • Applicants must have a U.S. passport, valid through six months after the fellowship end date.

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 begins. The fellowship is intended primarily for applicants without substantial experience working in Europe. Applicants with experience working in Europe will be considered if they can demonstrate that the fellowship would add a significant new dimension to their career. Similarly, applicants without prior experience working on European security issues will be considered for the fellowship if they can demonstrate that it would add a significant new dimension to their career.

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IAF is a once in a lifetime opportunity to challenge our assumptions, evaluate status quo, reflect on past and present foreign policy decisions while addressing national security priorities and redefining and restating the importance of the U.S. global footprint and reach.
Nora Brito, Economic Officer, U.S. Embassy Mexico City (2021-22 IAF in National Security)

Fellowship Award

The fellowship runs between four and twelve months. The program awards a stipend of $120,000 for a period of twelve months (or a prorated amount if the duration is shorter) as well as a modest travel grant. Fellows are considered independent contractors rather than employees of CFR and are ineligible for employment benefits, including health insurance.

CFR will assist fellows in finding a host organization that matches their proposed work in Europe. However, all placements are made at the discretion of the host institution. CFR cannot guarantee placement at any specific agency or organization. The fellowship is intended as an in-person experience; fellows should expect to work on-site with their host organization at least three days per week.

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The fellowship has provided me with an absolutely critical opportunity to step back and be thoughtful about development as a tool for U.S. national security objectives.
Kristen Cordell, Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Agency for International Development (2020-21 IAF)

Selection Process

Selection as the Robert A. Belfer IAF in European Security is based on the following criteria:

  • scholarly qualifications 
  • professional experience
  • a demonstrated interest in European security issues
  • the merits and feasibility of a research proposal on some aspect of European security
  • character and personal qualities conducive to promoting cross-cultural communication and cooperation
  • the contribution the fellowship will make to the applicant’s career development

The selection process is highly competitive. The selection committee awards one to two fellowships each year. 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. 

Contact Us

For more information, please contact [email protected]