USAIDResearch Fellowship Announcement: Fellowships to Support an Enabling Legal Framework for Civil Society in Myanmar

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are pleased to announce the availability of a new research fellowship. The fellowship will provide the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC for 3-4 weeks during June/July/August 2013 to conduct research on the legal framework for civil society in Myanmar.  The fellowship is open only to applicants from Myanmar.

This is an action-oriented fellowship. It is designed to provide opportunities to engage practitioners and scholars to advance the legal environment for civil society by providing them with: support and expertise of ICNL’s international staff; access to our extensive library of NGO legal materials; and meetings with NGO representatives, academics and others in Washington, DC. ICNL will cover the cost of travel to and from Washington, DC as well as room and board for the agreed-upon time period. No honorarium will be offered.

Application Instructions

To apply for the Research Fellowship, applicants must submit the following items:

  • Application coversheet;
  • Proposal; and
  • Resume, Curriculum Vitae (CV), or other statement of work history and education.

Applicants must submit all materials in English.

If you have previously applied for a Research Fellowship with ICNL, please note that you may reapply by resubmitting an updated application coversheet, and a current resume or CV. Previous applicants are also welcome to submit a revised proposal, but this is not required.


In three pages or less, please address the following topics:

  • Your past or present experience on issues relating to the legal framework for civil society in Myanmar;
  • The issue(s) you would like to research through the Fellowship;
  • Your research design/methodology, including:
    • the work product you intend to produce through the fellowship (e.g., a research paper, an assessment of Myanmar’s legal framework and recommendations for reform, etc.);
    • the research you will undertake before arriving in Washington, DC;
    • the research you plan to undertake while in Washington, DC; and
    • your plans to disseminate your research upon your return home.
  • How your Fellowship will contribute to the development of the legal environment for civil society in Myanmar;
  • Your interest and commitment to remaining engaged on the legal framework for civil society upon your return home; and
  • Any conflicts you have that would prevent you from being able to travel to Washington, DC in June, July, and August 2013.

Note Regarding Research Proposals:

The topic proposed must relate to the legal environment for civil society (e.g., the rules governing the establishment, operation, or sustainability of NGOs, NGO-government relations, freedom of association, etc.) in Myanmar. Illustrative research projects might include: an assessment of Myanmar’s legal framework for civil society and recommendations for reform; an analysis, from an international perspective, of a draft law affecting civil society; comparative analysis of an issue of regional concern; or an analysis of how to improve the implementation of legislation affecting civil society in Myanmar. This is a non-exhaustive, illustrative list of possible research projects.  You are welcome and encouraged to propose other research projects to advance the legal framework for civil society in Myanmar.

Please note that research will be required of all fellowship recipients prior to arriving in Washington, D.C, and participants that choose to undertake a three-week fellowship will be expected to conduct considerably more research. Please also note that the research and fellowship work product must be completed within an agreed upon time period, but no later than August 31, 2013.

Selection Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on the following factors:

  • Compliance with eligibility requirements and application procedures;
  • Demonstrated interest and experience relating to the legal environment for civil society;
  • Quality of the proposed research project, including the significance of the issue to be studied, research methodology/design, feasibility of the project, and likelihood that the Fellowship will help advance the legal framework for civil society in the applicant’s country.
  • Commitment to finalizing the research and fellowship work product no later than August 31, 2013.
  • Commitment to continue working on civil society legal issues for a minimum of 12 months upon the applicant’s return home, and ability to effect change based upon leadership potential.
  • USAID’s concurrence.

This initiative is only open to applicants from Myanmar.

Fellows’ Obligations

Fellows are required to agree to all terms of the fellowship, including a commitment to (1) complete a research project; (2) spend 3-4 weeks in Washington; and (3) continue work in the field of civil society law reform in the fellow’s home country for a minimum of 12 months following the visit to Washington, D.C.

Note that all J-1 visa holders assisted with funds from U.S. sources, including USAID, are subject to the Internal Revenue Service requirement to file U.S. tax returns.  Therefore, all fellows will be required to obtain an Individual Tax Identification Number and file tax returns with the U.S. Government. Fellows will be expected to comply with all government regulations and to complete the process in a timely manner.

Work products produced by the Fellows will be subject to USAID Branding and Marking requirements.

Fellows will also be required to prove that they are proficient in English before being awarded a visa. This may require passing an English Proficiency Assessment, in accordance with USAID regulations.

If accepted for the fellowship and awarded a J-1 visa, fellows will be prohibited from applying for any type of non-immigrant visa, or for legal permanent residence (a green card) in the U.S. until they have resided for a total of 24 months in their home country. Failure to immediately return home to one’s country will result in having to return to USAID all funds used to sponsor your fellowship, including airfare, hotel fees, and fees incurred throughout the visa application process. Dependents will not be allowed to join fellows in Washington, D.C.

How to Apply

Interested applicants can apply by submitting the application form and all required documents by April 10, 2013 to ICNL Program Assistant Aparna Ravi by one of the following methods:

  • Email to
  • Fax to + 1 (202) 452-8555
  • Mail to ICNL – Research Fellowship, 1126 16th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036, USA

Applicants must submit all materials in English.