Carnegie Endowment for Peace: James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program

Graduating seniors or students who have not started graduate work; 3.7 average GPA, higher preferred; strong interest in international affairs

Each year, the Carnegie Endowment for Peace: James C. Gaither Junior Fellows program holds a rigorous national competition to select 8-12 college graduates to:

  • Serve as research assistants for Senior Carnegie Associates (academics, former government officials, lawyers, and journalists) from around the world in a prestigious think tank.
  • Work on a variety of international affairs issues.  Junior Fellows have the opportunity to conduct research for books, participate in meetings with high-level officials, contribute to congressional testimony, and organize briefings on international policy. 
  • Serve in a one-year position following graduation at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, D.C.
  • Receive an annual salary and a benefits package (medical, dental, vacation). No housing provided.

Potential Project Areas: Note that in designated subject areas (eg economics) evidence of sustained engagement through research, etc. is an expectation.  Advanced language competencies are also highly valued and, in some cases, required.  

  • Democracy and Rule of Law
  • Executive Office
  • Nuclear Policy
  • Cyber Policy
  • Energy and Climate
  • Middle East Program (reading fluency and the ability to perform online research in Arabic required. Strong background in Middle East politics and/or history a plus.)
  • South Asia Program (should be comfortable with quantitative data analysis as well as possess an interest in military issues. A strong background in international relations theory, political theory, or international political economy is essential.  A strong mathematical background is a plus.)
  • China Studies (Asia Program) (Mandarin Chinese reading skills expected.)
  • Japan Studies (Asia Program) (Japanese reading skills required.)
  • Economics (Asia Program) (Mandarin Chines reading skills expected; strong background in economics essential.)
  • Russian/Eurasian Program (Excellent Russian reading skills required.)

Deadline Information

2017 University Endorsement Deadline: Monday, December 4, 2017

Final National Deadline for UChicago Nominees: Monday, January 15, 2018

Eligibility Requirements

  • Graduating seniors or students who have not started graduate work
  • 3.7 average GPA, higher preferred
  • Strong interest in international affairs

Application Process

The Carnegie requires an institutional nomination.  The College can nominate 2 candidates.  To be considered for nomination, students must submit a final draft of all the application materials described below to Nichole Fazio [] by Monday, December 4, 2017.  Letters of recommendation can be sent directly to Nichole [] and unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the campus nomination process.  You should treat all application materials as final drafts; your endorsement will be based on the quality of the application materials submitted for the campus deadline. Materials submitted after the campus deadline will not be accepted.  

Campus Application Deadline: Monday, December 4, 2017

Campus Application Includes the following:

  • An essay of one type-written page or less on why you would like to be a junior fellow; 
  • Academic CV (1-2 pages);
  • Two letters of recommendation. Letters should come from faculty or professionals who know you well and write about your abilities to succeed as a potential fellow;
  • Transcript (unofficial is fine for the campus process);
  • An essay of no more than three (3) type-written, double-spaced pages on one of the following topics below (chose the question pertaining to the program to which you are applying.  These topics are intended to test skills in analysis, logic, and written expression.  The essays should be analytical thought pieces, not research papers. Students should submit an essay related to their primary research program interests, although the James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program may ultimately select an applicant for a program outside of his/her designated primary interest or make an assignment to more than one program.

Essay Questions: 

A. Democracy and Rule of Law Program: There is an intense and ever-growing debate within and among many countries over whether it is legitimate for outside actors (governmental as well as nongovernmental actors) to fund civil society organizations within a country. Set forward and elaborate what you believe are the strongest arguments in favor of and opposed to the view that foreign funding for civil society is legitimate. Be sure to consider different types of civil society activities and organizations that might receive such funding.

B. Executive Office: Looking out over the first term of the new U.S. administration, what are the prospects for the Iran nuclear deal? Please write a memo that outlines the trends in Iran, the region, and the United States that are likely to affect implementation and identify the policy implications for the new administration.

C. Nuclear Policy Program. Which state without nuclear weapons do you believe is at most risk of acquiring them?

D. Cyber Policy Initiative. Name and discuss five attributes of cyber weapons that make them unique from other types of weapons.

E. Energy and Climate Program. Given the national commitments made under the Paris climate agreement, what next steps would you recommend for the oil sector?

F. Middle East Program. The Middle East region is going through a huge, agonizing and protracted transformation characterized by failing governance structures, rising extremism and sectarianism, weak institutions, high unemployment, poor education and the return of status quo forces resistant to reform and inclusion. The current situation has enabled non-state actors such as the Islamic State to emerge and spread a new toxic ideology of hate and violence. What do you see as one of the most difficult threats facing the region today? Discuss the impact this has had on two countries in the region and strategies that will help move these countries toward a better future.

G. South Asia Program. (Please respond to just ONE of the two following questions). In the 21st century, can manufacturing be the solution to employment generation in populous developing countries? OR Under what conditions is a military response an effective solution to transnational terrorism?

H. China Studies (Asia Program). The history of the interaction between a rising power and an existing great power suggests that the chances are high of a war occurring between the two. Does history in fact suggest that China, as a rising power, and the United States, as an existing great power, will more likely go to war than not? Use both references to history and the Sino-U.S. situation to support your argument.

I. Japan Studies (Asia Program). Prime Minister Abe’s government has pursued a variety of reforms to its defense and security policies, including revising the National Defense Program Guidelines, creating a new structure for the National Security Council, developing a National Security Strategy, reinterpreting its ability to exercise the right of collective self-defense, and passing new legislation to reflect these changes. What are the key political and strategic drivers behind this push, what are the moderating factors, and what is important for U.S. policy makers to understand as they consider how to respond/react (balancing national security needs with regional foreign policy priorities)?

J. Economics (Asia Program). China is now experiencing a slowdown in economic growth. Is this likely to persist and what are the implications for the Asia region and for the US?

K. Russia/Eurasia Program. The U.S.-Russia relationship has plummeted to unprecedented post-Cold War lows. Can this downward trajectory be arrested? What are the key dangers in the current

For more information on this opportunity, please contact: 
Nichole Fazio-Veigel