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Thank you for your interest in the Peace Scholarship Dissertation Program! The United States Institute of Peace is dedicated to supporting advanced research from top academics in a variety of fields that contribute to a wider understanding of how to manage conflict and build sustainable peace effectively. Fellowships last for 10 months, starting in September. Fellowships are open to citizens of any country. 

Peace Scholar Application Information
Former Peace Scholar, Yelena Biberman, at a seminar on “Understanding Pakistan” with Indian and Pakistani scholars and government officials in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

This doctoral dissertation award program now includes two slightly different programs. Both use the same application form, have the same deadline, the same award amount, and undergo the same review process. The first is the USIP Jennings Randolph [J.R.] Peace Scholarship award program, which is entirely funded by USIP. The second is the Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholarship program, which is funded through a collaboration with the Minerva Research Initiative (funded by the Basic Research Office, Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research & Engineering)). On the application, there is a place where applicants can indicate whether they wish to be considered for the USIP J.R. Scholarship only, or both the USIP J.R. and Minerva-USIP scholarship programs. The choice will not affect your chance to win a scholarship. The criteria used to award scholarship are very similar for both awards. Within the Minerva-USIP Peace and Security scholarship program, half the awards will go to doctoral students doing field research, and half to those in the writing stage of their dissertation. For the USIP J.R. scholarships, the awards can be used for any stage of the dissertation process. For 2018-2019, we expect to award at least twelve scholarships, six as USIP J.R. Peace Scholarships and six as Minerva-USIP Peace and Security Scholarships.

Proposals from all disciplines and on a wide range of topics related to peacebuilding are welcome, but there are several criteria which, if met, that will strengthen proposals. First, please note that all proposals should be consistent with the Institute’s Mission and present a research agenda with clear relevance to policy issues. Historical topics are appropriate if they promise to shed light on contemporary issues. Area studies projects and single-case studies will be competitive if they focus on conflict and conflict resolution and/or apply to other regions and cases around the world, or both. To be competitive, applicants must make persuasive links between theoretical, practical and policy orientations, and demonstrate the links between their projects and the Mission and work of the United States Institute of Peace. In addition, for the USIP-Minerva awards, strong applications should also present a persuasive argument that their research makes a basic or fundamental research contribution to the field, and discuss how their basic research contributions relate to broad concerns of conflict management and peacebuilding that may include (but are not limited to) security and stability.

Peace Scholar awards may not be made for projects that constitute policymaking for a government agency or private organization, focus to any substantial degree on conflicts within U.S. domestic society or adopt a partisan, advocacy or activist stance.

Profiles of current and past Peace Scholars and their projects are available.

Eligible Candidates

Citizens of any country may apply. Applicants must be enrolled in recognized doctoral programs (for example, Ph.D., S.J.D., Ed.D., Th.D.) in accredited universities in the United States. Successful candidates must have completed all course work and examinations towards their doctoral degrees by the time their fellowship begins.

Selection Process

Peace Scholar applications are vetted through a rigorous, multi-stage review that includes consideration by independent experts and professional staff at the Institute. The final authority for decisions about Peace Scholar awards rests with the Institute’s Board of Directors.

Selection Criteria

In addition to the considerations listed above, selection of fellowship candidates is based on the following criteria:

  • Project significance: Does the project address an important topic of relevance to the USIP mission and the field of international peacebuilding and conflict management and analysis?
  • Policy and/or practitioner relevance: Does the project demonstrate links to policy and practice in the fields of conflict management, conflict analysis and peacebuilding?
  • Project Design: Is the project soundly conceived? Does it identify a key problem to be analyzed and does it have a clear methodology?
  • Potential as a Peace Scholar: What is the applicant’s record of achievement and/or leadership potential? What is the applicant’s capacity to benefit from and make professional use of the fellowship experience in subsequent years?

Terms of Award

Peace Scholar Awards are currently set at $20,000 per academic year and are paid directly to the individual. Peace Scholar awards may not be deferred. They generally may not be combined with any other major residential award or fellowship except with the written approval of the Institute.

Peace Scholars carry out their fellowship work at their universities or other sites appropriate to their research. They are expected to devote full attention to their work and provide periodic reports to the Institute. Peace Scholars may be invited to give a presentation at the Institute, to work with Institute staff to present their work on the USIP website via an interview with a USIP staff member or their own writing, and/or to participate in Institute workshops, conferences and other activities.

Please note that the Peace Scholarship Program has added a new requirement for awardees: each awardee of a 2017-2018 Jennings Randolph Peace Scholarship will be required to submit a short (2-5 pp) report on his or her research topic and the work completed during the fellowship year by May 31 of the fellowship year. The report should be written in a style that policy makers and the informed public can understand. The new requirement is a response to interest in the work of the Peace Scholars and how their dissertation topics can contribute to international peace and conflict management.

The application for the 2018-2019 Peace Scholarship competition will be available by August 1, 2017. The deadline for the 2018-2019 competition will be Monday, November 20, COB (6:00/18:00 EST).