Despite historic changes that have taken place in Russia over the past two decades and its subsequent emergence into the global community, there are still too few experts in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany with direct, meaningful experience in the modern business, government, public policy, and cultural environment of Russia. The Alfa Fellowship Program is designed to address this problem by providing a new and exciting opportunity for young professionals from the U.S., U.K., and Germany to live and work in Russia and to enable them to develop a genuine expertise through individualized professional assignments. As the program continues to expand, a new generation of American, British and German leaders is being exposed to Russian professional life and society.
The Alfa Fellowship Program sent the first group of Fellows from the U.S. to Russia in 2004. The program was expanded to include U.K. citizens in 2009, and German citizens in 2014.
The Program is funded by Alfa-Bank, and is administered in the U.S., U.K., and Germany by Cultural Vistas and in Moscow by the Fund for International Fellowships and Cultural Dialogue.
The Alfa Fellowship Program includes the following provisions:
- Round-trip transportation to New York City, London or Berlin and accommodation (if needed) for selection interviews
- U.S./U.K./Germany-based language training as required based on proficiency evaluation
- Orientation seminar in Washington, D.C., including speakers, activities, travel, and accommodation
- Program-related transportation between U.S./U.K./Germany and Russia
- Russia-based language training
- Moscow Seminar Program, including meetings, briefings, assignment planning, and excursions
- A generous monthly stipend during the program in Russia
- All program-related travel within Russia
- Accommodation in Russia
- Limited international health, accident, and liability insurance during the program in Russia
Alfa Fellows have a demonstrated interest in Russian and European/Eurasian affairs, exceptional academic and professional credentials, proven personal initiative, and clear goals and expectations for their professional assignments. Fellows tend to be between the ages of 25 and 35 with graduate degrees and professional experience in business, economics, journalism, law, public policy or a related field. Fellows possess leadership potential and are active in community or public service. While Russian language skills vary, most Fellows have studied Russian for at least two years at the post-secondary level.
- U.S., U.K., or German citizen between the ages of 25 and 35 (Russian citizens are ineligible to apply, including individuals who are also citizens of the United States, United Kingdom or Germany)
- Graduate degree and at least two years of relevant professional experience in business, economics, journalism, law, public policy or a related field. Candidates without a graduate degree completed or in progress must have an undergraduate degree and approximately 5-6 years of professional experience in their field.
- Outstanding professional achievement and academic qualifications
- Active involvement in community or public service
- Russian language experience is preferred, however not required, at the time of application. If an applicant does not speak Russian, he or she will need to demonstrate proficiency in a second language to qualify for the program
- Evidence of leadership potential