IRP Fellowships in International Journalism


Yoruba interviews Obed Moja, 103 years old. The man was recently given land by Roger Roman, a white farmer.

The IRP Fellowships aim to strengthen the U.S. public’s understanding of key international topics by helping to educate early- and mid-career U.S. journalists by providing them with access to leading international experts in the United States, and offering them opportunities to do reporting projects overseas.

The program enables U.S. journalists to study international issues in Washington, D.C., at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of The Johns Hopkins University before traveling abroad.

During the program, journalists have access to some of the world’s leading specialists in international issues at SAIS and other institutions in the nation’s capital.

As part of their 13-week program, IRP Fellows travel for five weeks to the country or region of their choice. While overseas, journalists work on an important global story, which they discuss with other Fellows on their return to Washington. Fellows may offer this story, but are not required to do so, to their own news organizations at the conclusion of the program.

A unique feature of the IRP Fellowships is that two programs are offered each year. One group of journalists attends a session in the fall, another group in the spring.

At least two fellows in each session will be sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to cover health-related topics. One fellow from each session will be sponsored byNational Public Radio/ Kay and Matthew Bucksbaum to do radio reporting.

Program Schedule

Two groups of eight IRP Fellows will be selected for the 2006/2007 program, one for the fall of 2006 and another for the spring of 2007. Journalists may apply for either program, but each program requires a new and separate application.

The Fellows selected for the fall 2006 program arrive in Washington in September 2006, for orientation, registration and start of classes. They spend the next six weeks at SAIS in special seminars and in SAIS courses.

After their study period, the IRP Fellows depart for their international destinations to spend five weeks on their overseas reporting projects. All Fellows return to Washington for the final two weeks of the program, which consist of seminars, a conference on the journalists’ activities and time for Fellows to work on their stories. The program concludes in early December.

Deadline for applications for the Fall 2006 program: April 1, 2006.

The Fellows selected for the spring 2007 program arrive in Washington in January 2007, for orientation, registration and start of classes. They will spend the next six weeks at SAIS in special seminars and courses on international affairs.

Following their six weeks of study and research, the Fellows depart for their various international destinations and spend five weeks abroad pursuing their reporting projects. All Fellows return to Washington for the final two weeks of the program, which consist of seminars, a conference on the journalist’s work and time for Fellows to work on their stories. The program concludes in April.

Deadline for applications for the Spring 2007 program: October 1, 2006.

Study in Washington

Seminars and Classroom Studies

The IRP Fellowships program aims to provide journalists with a brief but intensive education on international affairs. All IRP Fellows are required to attend daily morning seminars on a wide range of international topics arranged by the program staff with assistance from SAIS scholars. These 90-minute seminars are designed to introduce Fellows to international topics that may be of use to them in their future journalistic pursuits and are an integral part of the program.

The seminars are conducted by a variety of leading specialists, including SAIS faculty and experts from local universities, think tanks, embassies, the World Bank, government and media. The sessions give special attention to subjects such as international economics and trade, environment, population and refugee issues, humanitarian topics and human rights, and international peacekeeping and politics.

Speakers have included Ted Koppel of ABC News; Anthony Lake, former assistant to the President for National Security Affairs; China expert Harry Harding; U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy; Russia scholar Dmitri Simes; Middle East expert Shibley Telhami, and many others.

In addition to the seminars, IRP Fellows may seek permission from SAIS faculty to audit any of the school’s regular courses on international affairs. No credit is granted for these courses and Fellows do not receive grades or take exams. Fellows will not be able to complete these courses because of the need to depart on overseas travel prior to the conclusion of the courses.

Individual Projects

Each day following the morning seminar, IRP Fellows are free to pursue an individual plan of research, interviews and other work related to the international project they have selected to focus on during their overseas travel.

Fellows are encouraged to arrange individual interviews with the many international experts in the Washington area. Program staff members and SAIS scholars can provide assistance in identifying news sources and specialists in government, think tanks, other universities, embassies and NGOs, but essentially IRP Fellows create their own daily schedules.

Study-Related Activities

IRP Fellows have ample opportunities to attend the numerous lectures, brown-bag discussions, conferences and other events pertaining to international issues that are held regularly at various Washington institutions, many of which are within easy walking distance of SAIS. Fellows also have a rich selection of evening events and programs on international topics they can choose to attend.

Stipends and Allowances in Washington

During their stay in Washington, all Fellows receive free accommodation at a hotel within a few minute’s walk to SAIS. Hotel rooms include kitchenettes. The hotel also provides free passes to a nearby fitness center.

IRP Fellows are provided with offices at SAIS equipped with computers and Internet access and are entitled to all privileges at SAIS granted to regular students, including use of the library and cafeteria. No tuition is charged for auditing SAIS classes.

Each Fellow receives a stipend of $2,000 a month during the Washington stay to pay for meals and local expenses. The fellowship does not provide health insurance, so Fellows should retain their current health coverage. Spouses may join Fellows in their accommodations but because of space limitations are not permitted to attend program seminars or SAIS classes. Because of time restraints, spouses are discouraged from joining Fellows on their overseas travel projects.