The Fisher Family Summer Fellows Program 2024 – The Fisher Family Summer Fellows Program on Democracy and Development is a training program hosted annually by Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI).
Launched in 2005 and formerly known as the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program, the program brings together a group of approximately 28-30 mid-career practitioners from transitioning countries who are working to advance democratic practices and economic and legal reform in contexts where freedom, human development, and good governance are fragile or at risk. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, our program participants are selected from among hundreds of applicants every year for the significant contributions they have already made to their societies and their potential to make an even greater impact with some help from Stanford.
The Summer Fellows alumni network includes 449 alumni from 97 developing democracies worldwide. Their professional backgrounds are as diverse as the problems they confront in their home countries, but the one common feature is their commitment to building sound structures of democracy and development. The regions of Eurasia, which includes the former Soviet Union and Central Asia, along with Africa, constitute almost half of our alumni network. Women represent 47% of the network, and the program is always looking to identify strong female leaders working to advance change in their local communities.
Previous Summer Fellows have served as presidential advisors, senators, attorneys general, lawyers, journalists, civic activists, entrepreneurs, judges, think-tank directors, and influential members of the international development community.
2024 Program Dates
*Please note these dates may evolve based on the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.
This program is aimed at mid-career practitioners working actively in the fields of democracy, development, and the rule of law. Applicants can be working as policy-makers, academics, legal professionals, social entrepreneurs, business entrepreneurs, and leaders of civil society organizations (such as representatives of trade unions, nongovernmental organizations, the media, business and professional associations). In their present capacity, applicants should play important and influential roles in their country’s political, economic, and social development. Participants should have demonstrated professional and personal achievements in a relevant sector of democracy, development, and the rule of law.
Each year we strive to recruit a diverse group of 25 to 30 individuals who are at the right stage in their professional trajectory to benefit from rigorous academic training to enhance their potential to promote democratic change in their home countries. Successful applicants will have academic credentials necessary to participate and contribute to the six-hour seminars each day and tackle advanced academic readings to complement the classroom-based curriculum. Ninety-nine percent of our alumni hold a bachelor’s degree at the time of their participation in the program but this is not a requirement for admission to the program.
A working knowledge of English is an important prerequisite for participation in the program. It is expected that each fellow has a solid command of written and spoken English to fully benefit and participate in the program.
Due to the large volume of applications we receive each year to the fellowship program, we take our selection criteria very seriously. Please review the criteria below very carefully before submitting your application to the program. If you do not meet these criteria your application will not be reviewed.
- This is not an academic fellowship but is meant for practitioners only. We value practical experience over academic credentials, and we admit scholars only to the extent that they are active in government, public policy, civil society, economic development and rule of law. They should hold leadership roles in their respective sector.
- Applicants must be mid-career practitioners and have at least 10 to 12 years of experience to qualify for the fellowship. Those with more experience are much more competitive in the selection process.
- Candidates must be from and currently reside in a country where democracy is not well entrenched. Candidates residing outside their home country due to war or conflict may be granted exceptions. Applicants will not be accepted from countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and member states of the European Union.
- Candidates must be at least 28 years of age at the start of the fellowship in July 2024. The average age of our fellows at the time of the program is 38.
- Candidates must be actively working in the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law. We do not accept candidates who are in the midst of full-time university degree programs.
- Candidates must have a solid command of written and spoken English. All program materials and sessions are in English. Participants will also be required to give a 7-minute “TED”-style talk during the three-week program regarding their work and motivation. English language proficiency is very important in order to benefit and contribute to the program dialogue.
For more Information: Visit the website for The Fisher Family Summer Fellows Program 2024