Wilson Foreign Policy Fellowship Program, USA

Every day, congressional staff advise Members on the conduct of U.S. foreign and defense policy. It is critically important that both Members and staff be well-versed in a range of complex issues.

Applications for fall 2019 will open September 3rd.

What the Fellowship Offers

The core of the Fellowship Program is a six-week seminar series that encourages Fellows to debate key issues with some of the nation’s leading foreign policy thinkers and practitioners. Each session will encourage analytical approaches and fresh perspectives on a key issue, and will include a recommended reading list.

Each week’s seminar also includes an interactive exercise, in which Fellows are divided into four core groups and given scenarios to roleplay that emphasize the role of the legislative branch.


Fellows who attend 5 out of 6 sessions will receive a certificate of completion from the Wilson Center and join the Woodrow Wilson Foreign Policy Fellowship Alumni Network. Alumni will be invited to attend exclusive Wilson Center events and programs, including private briefings, study trips, and high-level roundtables.

During the seminar series, Fellows will also be able to draw on the expertise and knowledge of the 150 resident scholars that the Wilson Center hosts each year – a diverse group of policymakers, academics, and executives from both the public and private sectors.

Who Should Apply

The Wilson Center invites mid- to senior-level (legislative staff from legislative correspondent and up, communications staff, and committee staff) congressional staff to participate in the Fellowship Program; the Program is also open to exceptional rising leaders with a keen interest in foreign policy who staff other U.S. policymakers. Each year, the Center hosts two seminar series (spring and fall) with roughly 50 participants each. Applicants should possess a strong understanding of the legislative process and aspire to a career shaping foreign policy.

Application Requirements and Dates

Applications for the Fall 2019 Fellowship Program will open September 3rd.

The dates for the Fall 2019 Seminar Series are October 18th, October 25th, November 1st, November 8th, November 15th and November 22nd. If accepted, each fellow is required to attend at least five out of the six sessions, which take place on from 2:00pm – 5:00pm at the Wilson Center. Please do not apply unless you know you can meet the attendance requirements.

The deadline to apply is September 27th, 2019. 

“Every institution in town promises bipartisanship; the Foreign Policy Fellowship Program delivers. The experts know their topics front-to-back, the simulations push past clichés, and the last connections that Fellows make prove that politics can truly stop at the water’s edge.”

– Tyler Houlton, Chief of Staff to Rep. Glenn Grothman

“The FPFP truly delivers on its commitment to bipartisanship and allows for genuine across-the-aisle relationship-building that is hard to find in other organizations or opportunities available to congressional staff. Additionally, the Wilson Center continually chooses top-notch experts and consistently facilitates timely and enlightening discussions that make their programs well worth a staffer’s time.”

– Katie Peake, Legislative Correspondent to Sen. Richard Shelby


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