Research Fellowship Announcement:

Fellowships to Promote Research on the Legal Framework for Civil Society

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) is pleased to announce the availability of 4 new research fellowships. The fellowships will provide the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC for up to 4 weeks during September-December 2016 to conduct research on the legal framework for civil society.  The fellowships are open to applicants from:

  • Africa: Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania
  • Asia: Nepal, Vietnam
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama

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; a community of other fellows with whom to exchange ideas; and meetings with CSO representatives, academics and others in Washington, DC. USAID and 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 by July 18, 2016:

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

Applications should be sent to ICNL Program Assistant India Adams at, with reference made to “Research Fellowship 2016” in the subject line.

Applicants from the countries specified in Africa and Asia must submit all application materials in English. Applicants from the countries specified in Latin America & the Caribbean may submit application materials in English or in Spanish, as preferred.

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;
  • 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 your country’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 research will contribute to the development of the legal environment for civil society in your country;
  • 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 August-October 2016.  

Note Regarding Research Proposals:
The topic proposed must relate to the legal environment for civil society – that is, to the rules governing the exercise of the freedom of peaceful assembly, association, expression, or information.
Illustrative research projects might include:

  • An assessment of your country’s legal framework for civil society and recommendations for reform;
  • An analysis, from an international perspective, of a draft law affecting civil society;
  • A comparative analysis of a civil society legal issue of regional concern;
  • An analysis of how to improve the implementation of legislation affecting civil society in your country. 

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 your country or region.
Please note that research will be required of all fellowship recipients prior to arriving in Washington, D.C. Specifically, a research outline must be fully prepared and approved prior to arriving in Washington.

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 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.

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; (3) report back to USAID on the outcome of the fellowship; and (4) 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 must include the following language: “This publication was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of its Cooperative Agreement No. No. AID-OAA-A-13-00034 (Legal Enabling Environment Program (LEEP II)) implemented by the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) and its partners. The contents and opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of ICNL and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID.”

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. The failure to immediately return home to one’s country or the failure to complete the research paper to ICNL’s satisfaction within 3 months of returning 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.