Luce Scholars Program

The Luce Scholars Program provides a year’s internship in an Asian country related to the scholar’s interests. The program is designed to provide an extended period of exposure to an Asian country for highly qualified young Americans who lack extensive knowledge of Asian affairs and who would not gain this knowledge through their normal career trajectories. Any professional field will be considered, except Asian Affairs/Asian Studies. Graduating seniors, recent alumni, graduate students, and junior faculty are encouraged to apply.

To be eligible, a nominee must be a U.S. citizen, under age 30 at the beginning the program, and hold at least a B.A. Applicants should have little or no experience in the country of internship. UW–Madison alumni do not have to be on campus to apply, but must apply through the university.

Successful applicants have demonstrated:

  • A strong motivation and potential for accomplishment within their chosen field;
  • A record of outstanding academic achievement, particularly in their specialty;
  • An outstanding capacity for leadership;
  • Greater openness to new ideas and sensitivity to their fellow human beings.

The application should provide some indication about how well the applicant might function in an Asian setting, noting such qualities as flexibility, adaptability, maturity, etc.

Applications must be submitted through institutional nomination; the Henry Luce Foundation does not accept direct applications. The IRIS Awards Office follows a selection process to select two (in some years three) applicants to forward to the Henry Luce Foundation in early November. The process is rigorous and can involve several interviews with Foundation staff.

For detailed information, visit the Henry Luce Foundation website.

To discuss the competition and/or get feedback on a Luce proposal, contact:

Mark Lilleleht
Assistant Director for Awards
Institute for Regional and International Studies
328 Ingraham Hall


  • Campus deadline: October 16, 4 pm
  • Applicants will be informed by October 23 whether their application will be sent on to the Luce Foundation as one of the UW’s institutional nominees. Nominees will have a week to make any suggested and/or desired edits. Revised, final applications of nominees will be due to our office by October 30 @ 4pm.
  • National deadline: November 1 (or the nearest Monday, if November 1 falls on a weekend)

By the campus deadline, applicants must submit the following material to the office of the IRIS Assistant Director for Awards:

  • One original of the application (including the Contact Information form, the Luce Scholars Application pages, and the signed Personal Statement)
  • Official transcripts**
  • Four letters of recommendation, sealed and signed across the back of the envelope; letters can be sent to: Mark Lilleleht, Institute for Regional and International Studies, 301 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706
  • Two passport-size photographs

** Note on Transcripts: For the campus deadline, you may submit a copy of your student record at UW-Madison and unofficial transcripts from other institutions. If your application is forwarded to the Luce Foundation, you must provide original transcripts in sealed envelopes from all institutions you have attended; you should find out how long it takes to obtain original transcripts and plan accordingly.

Please note:

Information on this page is specific to the 2017 Luce Scholars Program competition.

If you wish to learn more, please email

UW-Madison Luce Scholars:

Mary Davis Michaud (1991)
Heather H. Graham (1995)
Timothy D. Kiefer (2000)
Paul J. Kellner (2010)
Lauren Buckley (2012)