You may have heard about the prestigious International Fellows Program (IFP). It is highly competitive — only 30 Columbia University students (10 new SIPA students, 10 continuing SIPA students, and 10 Columbia University graduate students) are selected each year to participate in the program. Once you are an International fellow, you are a member for life.
To clue you in for those who do not know much about it, we prepared some fun facts about the program…
The IFP is a two-semester seminar open to students of all graduate-degree programs at Columbia University. The diverse perspectives and professional backgrounds that fellows bring to the Program enrich their year-long common enterprise.
All fellows receive a stipend and study a curriculum with two goals – to examine the origins of the current international order, in which the United States has for decades played the leading role, and to look ahead to the new world that will eventually take its place, dominated by a larger number of actors, new problems, and approaches to problem-solving that have yet to be defined. Weekly meetings of the International Fellows Program are supplemented by study trips to Washington, D.C. and the United Nations, where fellows have extraordinary access to senior policymakers, diplomats, legislators, journalists, and leaders of nongovernmental organizations.
- The International Fellows Program is a year-long, multidisciplinary academic program that invites thirty graduate students from all Columbia graduate programs to consider the United States’ past, present, and future role in global affairs.
- International Fellows are enrolled in a year-long seminar course called US Role in World Affairs.
- The Program is centered in Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.
- Dr. Stephen Sestanovich is the program’s director and course instructor. Dr. Sestanovich has held numerous senior positions in the US government, the think tank world, and academia.
- Fellows receive a stipend of $3500 for the 2013 -2014 academic year.
- Over the course of the program, Fellows meet with prominent figures of the international community. Recent IFP cohorts have met with: former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, and many others.
- Fellows enjoy a fully-funded trip to Washington DC, in which they experience a full day of meetings with the elite of DC, including members of Congress, the National Security Council, top think tanks, and high-level journalists.
- IFP was established in 1961 and was rejuvenated by Dr. Sestanovich over the past ten years.
- IFP enjoys strong support from alumni of the program, which includes senior executives in the public and private sectors.
- This year’s fellows include graduate students from SIPA, Columbia Law School, Columbia Business School, Columbia Journalism School, the Divinity School, and GSAS.
You may apply for the IFP as a SIPA applicant (a separate essay is required when you submit your admissions application); as a continuing SIPA student (there is an internal process that our first year students will hear about at the end of their first semester at SIPA); or as a Columbia University graduate student (application is available online)
The International Fellows Program offers unique opportunities inside and outside of the classroom to explore and engage important international issues of the 20th and 21st century. Focusing on world affairs through the lens of the U.S. has illuminated key interactions between major foreign policy players and offers an interesting vantage point through which to analyze international political developments. In addition to lively class readings, discussions, and debates, our recent meeting with permanent representatives from France, Singapore, Lebanon, and Gabon helped enrich the academic and practical study of diplomacy by providing a forum through which to better understand the issues critical to the US and the world according to these countries. On a personal level, gaining a more nuanced understanding of the day-to-day professional practice of international diplomacy is what drew me to apply to the International Fellows Program, and has been a focal point–and highlight–of the yearlong course thus far. I am especially eager to participate in the IFP annual DC trip held at the end of the semester where the class will meet with prominent practitioners, academics, and legislators regarding our class subject matter.
-Testimonial by current SIPA student & International Fellow, Jesse Corradi, MIA 2014