Call for Applications – Mellon Global Fellows Program

Call for Applications

Columbia Global Emerging
Scholars Fellowship Program

Issue date: April 8, 2024

Deadline extended until Friday, June 7, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. EDT

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Thanks to the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Columbia Global has established the Columbia Global Emerging Scholars Fellowship Program, a year-long fellowship to support emerging displaced scholars working in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. The goal of the program is to create opportunities for scholars to reintegrate into academia and resume their academic pursuits.

Eligible candidates are scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who have been forcibly uprooted from their home countries and respective academic institutions. They could be postdoctoral scholars in the early stages of their careers or Ph.D. candidates who have had their education disrupted. Creative writers, artists, curators and scholars working on interdisciplinary projects are encouraged to apply.

The program – beginning in September 2024 – will support 10 scholars, each of which will be hosted in one of three Columbia Global Centers: Amman, Nairobi, or Santiago. We anticipate that each Global Center will host two to three scholars per year. Scholars will apply to only one of the four Global Centers, based on their country of residence

Support mechanisms for Fellows will include the following: 

  • Linking Fellows to academics, practitioners and experts across the Columbia Global Center network;
  • Matching each Fellow with a faculty member to provide mentorship, advice and support;
  • Providing access to online courses at Columbia University and customized training workshops to build the academic capacity of incoming fellows;
  • Facilitating hands-on learning opportunities in program administration and implementation;
  • Assisting Fellows in convening roundtable discussions, conferences and talks in their respective subject areas;
  • Enabling Fellows to embark on their academic pursuits in a safe environment; and
  • Highlighting Fellows’ publications and other intellectual endeavors by disseminating their work and facilitating exchange through the Global Center network and Columbia University at large.

At the end of the year-long fellowship, Fellows will be expected to make a public presentation of the work they have produced during the fellowship year.

Eligibility Requirements

The Columbia Global Emerging Scholars Fellowship Program is intended for displaced scholars. To be considered for the program, applicants:

  • Must have a Ph.D. in the humanities, i.e., any discipline that studies the human experience, such as literature, linguistics, philosophy, archaeology, cultural heritage and historical preservation, museum studies, religious studies, musicology, history, and criticism and theory of the arts. Social sciences that have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods — such as anthropology, sociology, gender and ethnic studies — will also be considered.
    • Note: In rare cases, we will support candidates who have a non-terminal M.A. and/or were on track to get a Ph.D. in the humanities when their education was disrupted.
  • Must already be based in the country of the Global Center to which they wish to apply (i.e., Chile, Kenya, or Jordan).
    • Note: Only in the case of Amman, Jordan, will candidates from the wider region be considered.
  • Must demonstrate at least an intermediate level of English language proficiency.
  • Researchers working on interdisciplinary research projects are welcome to apply.

Selection Criteria and Process

The fellowship is intended to support scholars whose research was interrupted due to displacement and who have not yet had the opportunity to realize the scope and output of their intellectual interests. Key selection criteria include:

  1. The overall substance and feasibility of the proposed academic research;
  2. The quality of the specific plan for accomplishing the proposed work in a one-year time frame;
  3. The candidate’s academic trajectory prior to their displacement;
  4. The quality and depth of the applicant’s previous work; and
  5. The potential for research advancement. 

Applicant materials will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of Columbia University faculty and local/regional academics. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by the selection committee. 

Note: Threat to scholars' research and/or well-being per se will not be among the selection criteria, as the Committee is not able to fairly assess these and objectively compare applicants’ circumstances.

Benefits, Terms and Conditions

Fellows will receive a stipend calibrated to the market of the particular Global Center. The gross amount (before local taxes and insurance deductions) is:

  • $28,000/year for Amman and Santiago
  • $23,000/year for Nairobi

Additionally, individual health insurance will be covered for the duration of the 12-month fellowship. A supplemental family stipend of $5,000 may be offered on a discretionary basis for candidates with children.

Each Fellow will be based at the Columbia Global Center in Amman, Nairobi, or Santiago and will be provided with office space, access to meeting rooms and conference facilities, as well as IT equipment (including a computer device, internet connection, printer, scanner and IT technical support). 

Fellows will have access to Columbia University’s online library resources, as well as online courses at Columbia University and other platforms. As part of the program, Fellows will be matched with a relevant faculty member at Columbia University who will guide them throughout the year.  

Fellows are expected to be free of their regular commitments (including employment and other posts) so that they may devote themselves to the work outlined in their proposal. Please note that Fellows are responsible for their housing costs. We will offer travel and visa assistance where possible.

How to Apply

Applications will be received via the Submittable platform. Applicants for the fellowship program starting in September 2024 must submit the following (via Submittable) by June 7 at 11:59 p.m. EDT:

  • A curriculum vitae that includes academic credentials and professional experience;
  • A personal statement (500 words maximum) that describes the applicant’s motivation for applying to this program, intellectual trajectory and career goals, and the reason for and impact of displacement on the applicant’s career.
  • A proposal (600 words maximum) describing the applicant’s field of interest; the academic work that will be undertaken during the 12-month fellowship and beyond; and the broader potential significance of the applicant’s work.
  • One writing sample/publication;
  • Letter of recommendation from an academic colleague who is familiar with the applicant’s previous work; and
  • Copies of academic transcripts.

Scholars who are unable to complete their applications for reasons beyond their control, such as difficulty in contacting recommenders, retrieving lost transcripts, and/or lack of access to computers, are welcome to contact the relevant Columbia Global Center for assistance via the following points of contact:

To corroborate your displaced status, applicants are encouraged to provide one of these documents: 

  • Asylees: Applicant's Asylum Approval Letter or Asylum Application Receipt.
  • Refugee Status: Applicants with refugee status may corroborate their status by providing a copy of their UNHCR ID card.
  • Temporary Protection Status (TPS): Applicants with TPS status may submit their Application for Temporary Protected Status. 

We understand that, in some instances, displaced persons and refugees are unable to replace personal documentation that was left behind, lost, destroyed, or confiscated during conflict, disaster, or during fleeing home. As such, we will consider accepting various forms of civil documentation to verify displacement, such as state or local documents, recognition by non-governmental organizations or international education agencies, and other supplemental documentation from recognized entities.

For general information or questions, email us at [email protected].

About Columbia University, Columbia Global and the Columbia Global Centers 

Columbia University: Among the world’s leading research universities, Columbia University in the City of New York continuously seeks to advance the frontiers of scholarship and foster a campus community deeply engaged in the complex issues of our time through teaching, research, patient care and public service. The University is comprised of 17 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, and four affiliated colleges and seminaries in Manhattan, and a wide array of research institutes and global centers around the world. More than 40,000 students, award-winning faculty and professional staff define the University’s underlying values and commitment to pursuing new knowledge and educating informed, engaged citizens. Founded in 1754 as King’s College, Columbia is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.

Columbia Global is the newly created architecture at the university that plays a vital role in fulfilling this mission. Columbia Global brings together major global initiatives from across the university to advance knowledge and foster global engagement. These initiatives include the Global Centers, the Committee of Global Thought, Columbia World Projects, and the Institute for Ideas and Imagination. Columbia Global’s mission is to address complex global challenges through groundbreaking scholarly pursuits, leadership development, cutting-edge research and projects that aim for social impact

The Global Centers are part of Columbia Global and serve as the university’s physical and intellectual gateway to the world. Located in 11 cities across four continents, the centers are a manifestation of Columbia’s commitment to leverage the remarkable scholarship, expertise and resources of the university to help address the world’s most complex challenges while fostering intellectual endeavors in ways that inspire, surprise and challenge.

The Columbia Global Center in Amman was established in March 2009 as one of the first Columbia Global Centers. It has established itself as a hub for education, outreach and programming throughout the region, as well as serving as a link to other regions of the world. 

Established in 2011,the Global Center in Nairobi initially focused on pursuing the United Nations Millennium Development Goals alongside Columbia's Earth Institute. In 2016, it transitioned into a regional hub integral to Columbia University's global strategy. The Nairobi Center addresses pressing challenges in climate, health, education, refugee and migration, and business, driving meaningful change in the region.

In 2012, the long and fruitful relationship between Chile and Columbia translated into the establishment of the Columbia Global Center in Santiago. The Center has engaged with faculty, students, alumni and local partners in Chile, and has sponsored research projects that focus on key public policy issues in the fields of earth sciences, climate change, political science, global and public health, journalism and education, among others.