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.

Application Process: 

The Carnegie requires an institutional nomination.  The College can nominate 2 candidates.  To be considered for nomination, students must submit all the application materials ONLINE HERE by the stated campus deadline.  Please read over the application requirements detailed below before beginning your application. Letters of recommendation must be sent directly to Sandra [] by the stated campus deadline. 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.  

Online 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.
  • You will upload your two essays and transcripts in ONE pdf or doc file. Please have this ready to go in advance of beginning your online application. 

2019 – 2020 Projects and Requirements

Democracy, Conflict, and Governance

U.S. Foreign Policy and Diplomacy – The Junior Fellow will support Carnegie Endowment President Ambassador William J. Burns on research and writing that seeks to shape American diplomacy. Applicants should have coursework in U.S. foreign policy, broad-gauged regional lens, an interest in policy analysis and formulation, and superb writing skills.

Nuclear Policy

Technology and International Affairs/Cyber Policy

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.

South Asia – A strong academic background in international relations theory, political theory, or international political economy is essential, along with an interest in military issues. The ability to perform quantitative data manipulation is required and a strong mathematical background is a plus.

China (Asia Program) – Mandarin Chinese reading skills a huge plus.

Japan (Asia Program) – Japanese reading skills required.

Economics (Asia Program) – Mandarin Chinese reading skills a huge plus. Strong background in economics essential.

Russia and Eurasia – Excellent Russian reading skills required.

Geoeconomics and Strategy

2019-2020 Topics: 

A. Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program. As democracy in the United States and Europe is experiencing more serious problems, the question of the relationship between those problems and the issues facing democracy in the rest of the world is gaining attention. Are the problems that democracy is facing in the United States and Europe largely similar to or fundamentally different from those plaguing democracy in other regions such as Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East?

B. U.S. Foreign Policy and Diplomacy. The Obama Administration looked to re-set relations with Russia, recast America’s role in the Middle East, and rebalance its posture toward the Asia-Pacific. The Trump Administration has pursued its own policy pivots in each area. Compare and contrast the Obama Administration’s aims and policy record with Trump Administration’s aims and policy record in one of these policy areas, and draw out lessons from the experience of both administrations that ought to inform American diplomacy in the years ahead.

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

D. Technology and International Affairs Program and Cyber Policy Initiative. (Please respond to just ONE of the two following questions). What technology issue will have the greatest impact on international stability in the coming decade, and why? OR What factors explain why the cybersecurity environment has continued to deteriorate in recent years?

E. Middle East Program. The Middle East region is going through a huge, agonizing and protracted transformation characterized by dwindling oil revenues, rising populations, failing governance structures and government services, rising extremism and sectarianism, and high youth unemployment. The current situation has enabled regional powers to intervene in each other’s affairs as well as non-state actors such as the self-proclaimed Islamic State to emerge and spread new toxic ideologies. What do you see as one of the most difficult threats facing the region today and the underlying drivers of turmoil? Discuss the impact this has had on two countries in the region and strategies that will help move these countries toward a better future.

F. South Asia Program. (Please respond to just ONE of the two following questions). What factors explain why, in many democracies, poor people continue to receive poor public services, despite accounting for a large share of the population? OR Under what conditions is a military response an effective solution to transnational terrorism?

G. China Studies (Asia Program). Many experts and general observers now believe that the long-standing US policy of constructive engagement and hedging toward China has largely failed. As proof, they point to Beijing’s failure to significantly liberalize politically, to open up its economic markets sufficiently, and to adopt the norms and beliefs of the liberal international order. Instead, the argument goes, China is becoming more oppressive domestically, pursuing predatory economic policies overseas, threatening its neighbors, and trying to undermine the U.S. and push it out of Asia. Do you agree and has U.S. policy failed?

H. Japan Studies (Asia Program). 2018 has been a tumultuous year for diplomacy in Northeast Asia (especially involving the Korean Peninsula), even as security conditions remain largely unchanged for many countries in the region amid questions about the durability of the U.S. alliance system. Japan in particular has been put into a difficult position by the Trump administration when it comes to North Korea policy, trade friction, and general demands by allies to pay more for U.S. defense commitments. At the same time, Trump’s tougher China polices (e.g., trade, Taiwan, strategic rivalry) are something of a benefit for Tokyo, in that it helps to limit China’s regional power and opens up some diplomatic opportunities for Japan as it tries to improve Japan-China relations. How is the Abe administration adjusting to Trump’s foreign policy and alliance management, as it relates to key Japanese strategic interests of China, the Korean Peninsula, and a healthy rules-based international order?

I. Economics (Asia Program). China’s economic rise has created tensions with the US. America is accusing China of unfair trade and foreign investment practices. But China sees its actions as necessary to become more technologically advanced to escape the middle income trap. What are merits of the respective arguments?

J. Russia and 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 situation and how might the Trump Administration seek to prevent things from getting out of hand?

K. Geoeconomics and Strategy Program. The U.S. international role--involving foreign relations, defense, trade, aid, investment, and international economic policy—impacts Americans and non-Americans economically. Which constituencies in the United States or overseas derive the greatest economic benefits from it?

Faculty Contact

Faculty Name: 
Sandra Zupan