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James C. Gaither Fellows

Gaither Sample Essays

Democracy and Rule of Law

China Studies

​Both essays are from selected fellows in recent years.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States. Founded in 1910, its work is nonpartisan and dedicated to achieving practical results. Each year the James C. Gaither Junior Fellows Program offers 8-10 one-year fellowships ($37,000 salary plus benefits) to uniquely qualified graduating seniors and individuals who have graduated during the past academic year. They are selected from a pool of nominees from close to 400 participating colleges. Gaither Junior Fellows work as research assistants to the Endowment's senior associates. Those who have begun graduate studies are not eligible for consideration. Applicants select one of the following primary areas: Democracy, Nuclear Policy, Energy and Climate, Middle East, South Asia, China Studies (Asia Program), Japan Studies (Asia Program), Southeast Asia Studies (Asia Program), Economics (Asia Program), and Russia/Eurasia. (*Note these may change from year to year).

Institutional Endorsement:  The Gaither Junior Fellows Program does not allow direct applications; student must be nominated by U-M.  Please contact Henry Dyson in the LSA Honors Program for applications instructions for institutional endorsement.

U-M Deadline: First Monday of December by 12 noon

U-M Contact: Henry Dyson, Office of National Scholarships/Fellowships


  • U.S. citizenship is not required for this program

  • Graduating seniors or recent alums within one year of graduation.  Students who have already started a graduate program are not eligible to apply.

  • Strong academic credentials and co-curricular involvement in areas relevant to application.

  • Foreign language competency or even fluency is required for some of the project areas.

  • Students who applied in their Senior year are permitted to apply again the following year provided they meet the other eligibility criteria.

Application Instructions:

  • Potential applicants should attend an information session in the fall semester and/or contact Henry Dyson to discuss details of the U-M nomination process.  2018 Application Materials and Essay Prompts are Here

  • Please combine each of the above items into a single PDF entitled “LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME_GaitherApplication” and submit the combined PDF to Henry Dyson at no later than the first Monday of December by 12 noon:

    • Application form (scroll to the bottom of the page)

    • 1-page essay (double spaced) on why the student would like to become a junior fellow.

    • 1-2 page resume

    • Undergraduate transcripts from UM and any other undergraduate institutions you've attended.  To obtain an electronic copy of your UM transcript, order an official copy to your email address from the Registrar's Office.  Open the security protected PDF.  Right click and select "print to PDF" to create a non-secure copy of the PDF.  Use Adobe to remove the authenticity page. (The transcript has now become de facto unofficial.)

    • 3-page essay selected from a list of provided prompts. Topical questions will correspond to the Carnegie Endowment program to which the student is applying.  (See the Gaither Junior Fellows instruction page for essay topics.)  These topics are intended to test skills in analysis, logic, and written expression. The prompts change each application cycle. The essays should be thought pieces, not research papers. Students should submit an essay related to their primary research program interests, although the Carnegie Endowment may, on occasion, select an applicant for a program outside of his/her designated primary interest.

  • In addition to your application, please arrange for two letters of recommendation to be submitted electronically directly to Henry Dyson at  The letters should come from faculty who can speak to your intellectual preparation to be a research assistant in the specific program to which you're applying at Carnegie and/or research or policy internship supervisors who can speak to your preparation to serve as a junior fellow.

  • U-M may nominate up to two students to the Program.  Finalists will be interviewed by video in February and offers will be made in mid-March.

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