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Top Resources for Finding Scholarships/Fellowships in Conflict Resolution and Related Fields

From Craig Zelizer of the Peace and Collaborative Development Network

There are countless opportunities for individuals seeking to pursue academic study at all levels to obtain financial support from private foundations, directly from academic institutions and from various governmental and intergovernmental agencies. In addition, there are a number of fellowships that provide funding for independent research/internships/language study as part of (or after completing) an academic program. As part of developing increased field experience and opportunities, outside funding can be a wonderful opportunity to support work. It is not always easy to obtain a fellowship, as there can be significant competition for a limited number of fellowships. This guide is divided into four parts. The first is general suggestions how to obtain funding, the second is how to develop/write a successful funding application, the third is key funding/scholarship resources and the fourth is a list of key funding institutions.

OVERVIEW OF APPROACHES TO OBTAINING FUNDING

Direct Funding from the University - A number of competitive universities at the BA (sometimes) MA (more often) level will offer partial (and occasionally full scholarships) directly to the most competitive students and especially at the Ph.D. level.

Outside Scholarships - See the resources on the this page for outside funding for academic (mostly graduate) study. There are many, many resources available to students depending on the location of study. The Ford International Fellowship is great (only open to citizens of certain countries), the Rotary World MA Peace Fellows (open to all, for study at six select universities. Applicants need to be over 25 and have at least a few years work experience in the peace/development field).

Government Agencies - Often select government agencies do provide funding opportunities. For example the US government provides Fulbright Scholarships and others. The German Government has the DAAD Agency. Check with the embassies of respective countries on their websites in your country or do some general searching.

Friends/Family/Local Businesses - Sometimes through a combination of creative support from friends/family and local business there may be a way to piece together funding. However, investing some time in energy in researching and applying for appropriate opportunities can be invaluable. Below are some suggestions for how to write a successful funding application and information on several leading fellowships and key organizations.

SUGGESTIONS FOR WRITING SUCCESSFUL FELLOWSHIP APPLICATIONS

Carefully Read the Funding Requirements and Goals of the Fellowship - This may sound like common sense, but it is critical to carefully read over the details of any funding opportunities. What are the goals of the funder? What are the administrative details (deadline, citizenship restrictions, etc.)? Many people do not take the time to educate themselves and frame their applications using the appropriate language to meet the goals of the funders. Alternatively, they may miss key logistical details that can cause an application to be disqualified.

Frame Your Previous (and future) Experience as Part of a Coherent Narrative - One of the keys to writing a winning application is to demonstrate clearly how your previous academic and professional experience makes you qualified for a particular opportunity. Write a coherent narrative, demonstrating long-standing interest in a particular region, topic, explain how the fellowship will help you develop additional expertise and how this will be useful in the post-fellowship period in your career and for the larger society.

Search out Multiple Fellowship Opportunities - Applying for fellowships can be very competitive. If possible, apply for several different fellowships at the same time. Consider that for many competitions there can be between 5-20 applicants per fellowship. Thus if you can identify various opportunities that are of interest and apply for several this will help increase your chances of having at least one (or more successful applications).

Keep your Essays Focused, Clear and Logical - For most fellowship review processes, a single reviewer may read between 20-50 applications. Thus, it is important that in writing your essays that you provide clear, logical and easy to follow arguments. If it is a research fellowship, explain your research goals, questions, methods of research and intended outcomes. If it is a language fellowship, provide a clear plan of study and demonstrate your commitment to pursuing further language beyond this particular fellowship.

Proofread and Peer Review - One method that can help ensure a quality application is to have your professors and/or colleagues read through the application. Ask if your essays are compelling, to assist with grammatical editing, etc. Sometimes working in peer groups where you might share your initial ideas with colleagues can help in further refining and developing your proposal.

Learn from Rejection – Often applications may not be approved. You can take this a learning opportunity. Some donors will provide you with feedback about why you were not successful and perhaps encourage you to revise and resubmit in future years.

Start Early – Many fellowship applications are due eight-12 months in advance. Thus you need to start research and exploring opportunities with sufficient time.

What are other Suggestions? Please feel free to provide additional suggestions for writing successful scholarship applications?

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