James C Gaither Junior Fellows Program

About the program

Each year, through the James C Gaither Junior Fellows program, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace offers approximately 12-14 one-year fellowships to uniquely qualified graduating seniors and individuals who have graduated during the past academic year. They are selected from a pool of nominees nominated by several hundred participating universities and colleges. James C. Gaither Junior Fellows work as research assistants to Carnegie’s senior scholars. Positions are paid, full-time positions for one year. A full benefits package is also provided.

James C. Gaither Junior Fellows spend one year (beginning September 1st) at Carnegie in Washington, DC working with Carnegie’s senior scholars in the following fields:

  • Democracy, Conflict, and Governance
  • American Statecraft
  • Nuclear Policy
  • Technology and International Affairs – Strong writing skills and research skills are essential.
  • Middle East – Strong reading fluency and the ability to perform academic as well as on-line research in Arabic essential. Strong background in Middle East politics and/or history is a huge plus.
  • International Security and Political Economy [to work with the South Asia Program] – Quantitative data analysis and GIS skills are required. A strong mathematical background is a plus. An academic background in international relations theory or international political economy along with an interest in military issues is essential.
  • Asia (Indo-Pacific Security) – Mandarin Chinese language skills and familiarity with Asian security, defense and foreign policy issues are essential. Proficiency in Japanese, Bahasa, or another Asian language is a plus.
  • Asia (China, Economics, and Technology) – Mandarin Chinese language skills are required. Background in economics or emerging technologies strongly preferred.
  • Russia and Eurasia – Excellent Russian reading skills required.
  • Africa
  • Global Order and Institutions – An academic background in international institutions and the management of transnational challenges is strongly preferred.
  • Sustainability, Climate, and Geopolitics – Basic data skills (such as helping create graphs or tables for Carnegie publications) are a plus. Applicants should have completed coursework related to sustainability and climate issues.
  • Europe – Fluency and the ability to perform research in a European language other than English are a plus. Background knowledge on European politics is essential

For additional insights into each program, review the topical essay writing prompts for each program and visit Carnegie’s online program listings.


  • US citizenship is not required for this program (but you must be eligible to work in the US for the duration of the fellowship)
  • Graduating seniors or recent alumni (having graduated during the last year: May 2022, August 2022, or December 2022 for the 2023-2024 award cycle). Students who have already started a graduate program are not eligible to apply.
  • Strong academic credentials and co-curricular involvement (independent research, research assistantships, student organizations, etc.) in areas relevant to the chosen assignment field.
  • Foreign language competency or even fluency is required for some of the project areas (as noted above).

Selection Criteria

Applications are judged on the quality of the written essays, related academic study and, work experience, research experience, grades, strong letters of recommendation, and interviews (for national finalists). The nomination committee will look for strong evidence of the applicant’s preparedness to conduct research in the proposed field. Excellent writing skills are essential, along with the specific criteria listed in the various programs described above.

Application procedures

The Gaither Junior Fellows requires institutional nomination. To apply as a 2023-2024 UW-Madison nominee, submit the following materials to awards@iris.wisc.edu by Tuesday, January 3, 2023, 10am CST.

  1. Applicants must compile and submit the following as a single pdf to awards@iris.wisc.edu by the deadline:
  2. Applicants should also arrange to have the two letters of recommendation forwarded directly to the IRIS Awards Office by the January 3 deadline. These recommendations can come from whoever you feel can best speak to your abilities as a potential Gaither Junior Fellow though preferably from faculty or academic research supervisors who know you, your writing ability, and your academic preparedness for the specific project/region/topic well, and who can speak with knowledge and enthusiasm about why this opportunity is an excellent fit for you. Writers should email their signed letters on institutional letterhead directly to awards@iris.wisc.edu by the deadline above.

Those considering applying for the Gaither Junior Fellows Program are encouraged to reach out to awards@iris.wisc.edu to register your interest so that we can support you in the application process.

Gaither at-a-glance

James C Gaither Junior Fellows program website is here

UW-Madison nominating official: Mark Lilleleht, IRIS Awards Office, awards@iris.wisc.edu

Campus deadline for the 2023-2024 application cycle: Tuesday, January 3, 2023, 10am CST

Application materials:

Thinking about applying? Have questions? Email awards@iris.wisc.edu