Who is eligible to apply?
• Be a U.S. or Indian citizen, or a U.S. permanent resident
• Be between the ages of 21 and 34 on September 1, 2017
• Have completed an undergraduate degree before the start of the program on September 1, 2017
What kind of educational background and skills are required?
We seek applicants from a variety of backgrounds, both professionally and personally.
Candidates should demonstrate a deep interest, passion, and commitment to social and economic development in India. Candidates must show humility and an eagerness to learn within a cross-cultural context. Ideal candidates possess strong professional skills, relevant volunteer or other practical experience, and applicable academic credentials or training. They show a potential for leadership and are entrepreneurial, innovative, and creative in finding solutions and navigating unknown environments.
Candidates must be flexible and adaptable, and possess exceptional ability to build meaningful relationships across cultures in the social development space. A sensitivity and ability to work with vulnerable communities, as well as the humility and passion to “learn by doing” is essential.
Although proficiency in an Indian language is not required to apply, it is highly desirable.
What are the language requirements?
Fluency in English is required. It is not a requirement for Fellows to speak the local language, however it is considered a valuable skill in the selection process and taken into consideration when placing Fellows with AIF partner organizations. If accepted into the program, Fellows may be eligible to receive some language training in a local language.
How does the application process work?
The application is a high competitive, multi-stage process consisting of an application; an interview and references for long-listed applicants; and a project-based interview process for short-listed applicants. Applications open annually in the Fall for the program cycle the following year (September – June). The application consists of a series of essays and questionswhich are hosted online. After the application period closes, the applications are reviewed by AIF staff and stakeholders in both the United States and India
The longlisted candidates will be invited for an in-person interview held in select cities in the United States and India, and will be asked to submit two references prior to the interview.. Successful candidates will be notified of their qualification to the shortlist, enabling them to apply for individual projects in the project portal. AIF and its partner organizations will interview candidates for each position. Based on these interviews and an assessment of which candidates are best suited for individual projects, the final Fellowship class will be selected. Fellows will officially be admitted and offered a place into the program in late April/early May.
For more information on the application and selection process, including a timeline, please visit our Apply page.
What are the short essay questions?
The essay questions are designed to help us understand the knowledge, skills and qualifications that you will bring to the Fellowship. We also want to get to know you better and to find out what motivates you.
When planning your answers, emphasize your experience and qualifications most relevant to the Fellowship. If you are currently working full-time, you may wish to highlight any relevant professional experience. If you are a recent graduate, you may wish to focus on any relevant academic and volunteer experience. Think broadly about your experience and how it relates to the fellowship. Use examples and avoid generalizations. For each question, be as specific as possible, drawing from your experience.
Question 1: Share your story. Why do you want to serve in India as an AIF Clinton Fellow at this moment in your life? (350 words)
In your answer, address the following: What brought you here? How does this experience fit into your larger professional and individual development? Why do you specifically want to apply to the AIF Clinton Fellowship?
Question 2: Share your philosophy of service. (250 words)
In your answer, address the following: What does service mean to you? Why do you want to serve? What specific experiences have shaped your philosophy of service? What motivates you when serving people and communities?
Question 3: Outline three (3) skills that you would apply during the course of this Fellowship when working with communities in development. (250 words)
Please give concrete examples of how you learned each of these skills. What or who motivated you to learn these skills?
Question 4: Tell us about a time when you had to navigate a new, unknown or unfamiliar environment. (250 words)
In your answer, address the following: What challenges did you face? What did you do to cope? What were some of the lessons you learned? What remain areas that you continue to struggle with?
Question 5: Taking a broader look at development, please respond to the following questions. In your response, please relate and explain how you think these ideas will influence and shape your ten (10) months in service. (350 words)
Address the following: Is progress intrinsic to development? Some development initiatives are successful and some aren’t. Even when a problem has been identified, why is there sometimes no tangible change or effect? In your experience and observation, does everyone get an equal voice in deciding what development means for their community and/or country?
What if I cannot make it to an in-person interview due to being outside the USA or India?
If candidates are in the U.S. and India, they will be required to attend the in-person interview to continue their candidacy. If the candidate is not in the U.S. or India, then AIF staff will work with the candidate for an alternate means of conducting the interview.
HOW MANY REFERENCES DOES AIF REQUIRE?
AIF requires two references. You will be asked to submit your references only if you make it to the interview round. We will contact candidates and ask them to provide your references in the online application portal. Your references will be asked to complete an online form that evaluates your ability to succeed on the Fellowship. Your references should be able to address your work ethic, your cultural adaptability, your communication skills and work style, and your career goals. We request that you provide references familiar with you in a professional or volunteer setting. References can not be family, relatives or friends.
Do I Need to Submit Letters of Recommendation?
No, we do not require recommendation letters. Instead, we will ask you to provide us with two references from a professional or volunteer setting to complete an online form evaluating your skills, abilities, and preparedness for the Fellowship.
How does placement with a host organization work?
During the selection process, we take note of the skill sets and career aspirations of potential Fellows to match them with appropriate AIF partner organizations. Once selected, we ask finalists to apply for projects in the project application portal opening in late March/early April. The project application portal will outline each project, describe the host organization, and provide details about needed skills, roles, and responsibilities. Each finalist is able to apply for up to three projects. AIF and its partner organizations will interview candidates for each position, and make a decision about the final match. Fellows are officially being admitted into the program in late April/early May at the conclusion of the matching process.
Can I apply for a Fellowship and work at an organization of my choice that is not a partner of AIF?
No, you can only apply for projects offered by pre-vetted AIF partner organizations. This is done to ensure that the organization will be able to provide the level of support expected by AIF and will be invested in the professional growth of Fellows they host.
What are the Fellowship requirements?
Fellows are expected to complete the following during their 10 months of service in India:
• Meeting or exceeding expectations of the Fellowship, including upholding your commitment to AIF and your host organization
• Participation at Orientation, Midpoint, and Endpoint, and Thematic Conference
• Adherence to the policies and agreements between Fellow, AIF and partner organizations
• Full completion of the 10 month Fellowship program
• Timely submission of monthly and quarterly reports and deliverables
• Completion of at least 10 posts on the AIF Fellowship blog
• Prompt settlement of finances and logistical items throughout the fellowship
• Completion of end of service documents and presentations
All Fellows are expected to complete the full ten months of service, while upholding basic values and principles of trust, honesty, and integrity. Fellows are expected to embrace and engage with multiple challenges, and take a lot of initiative in the structuring and completion of their projects.
Fellows must abide by host organization work calendars and work complete workweeks in accordance with organizational policy and procedure, which commonly involves working Saturdays.
Does AIF pay for my living expenses?
For U.S. Fellows, AIF provides a roundtrip ticket from their point of origin to India, along with insurance coverage and a monthly living stipend. For Indian Fellows, AIF provides domestic travel from their hometowns in India, insurance coverage, and a monthly living stipend. Please note that the stipend is not a salary, but a living stipend designed to enable Fellows to volunteer in India. The stipend covers basic living expenses such as rent, meals and incidentals, and local transportation related to a Fellows’ project. It is designed to allow Fellows a local lifestyle comparable to that of other local staff at their host organizations. The stipend does not cover personal entertainment, non-program related travel, luxury items, or alcoholic beverages. Candidates should plan on bringing additional funds to allow for personal travel and other non-essential items. The amount will depend entirely on your personal spending habits.
Do Fellows travel for their projects?
Travel depends entirely on the project and the AIF partner organization. Some placements require travel to villages in surrounding areas for fieldwork, while others are more administrative, requiring little to no travel within an office setting. Again others may require constant travel to various partner offices and/or field sites. When selecting preferences for projects, Fellows should carefully consider whether they have any restrictions to frequent travel and might need to be based in one place.
Will I get to travel while I am in India? What is the vacation policy?
Yes, Fellows are allowed to travel as far and as long it does not interfere with their projects.
Fellows are entitled to a certain amount of personal leave throughout the program. We strongly discourage Fellows from taking leave during the first six and the last six weeks of the program. Taking leave during these critical phases may jeopardize cross-cultural immersion at the beginning of the project, and disrupt the completion of the project at the end.
Participants are expected to remain in India for the entire duration of the program. Out of country travel is not permitted during the course of the 10-month Fellowship.
What happens if I get sick? Get into an accident? What health facilities and support exist?
AIF Fellows are enrolled in a travel health insurance policy for the duration of the program. As health and safety issues vary by region, AIF hosts aa two-week Orientation that includes extensive health and safety training for Fellows at the beginning of the program. The host organization will be responsible for helping Fellows arrange for proper care in case of ill health. If a serious health condition arises, AIF will ensure that the Fellow has full support.
What happens during orientation? What are midpoint and endpoint?
Fellows are expected to participate at four different programmatic conferences during the 10-month program: Orientation, Midpoint, Thematic Conferences, and Endpoint. These conferences are an integral part of the Fellowship and offer a space for meaningful connection, engaged reflection, as well as personal and professional development.
Orientation marks the official beginning of the Fellowship and is hosted by AIF in New Delhi. Spending nearly two weeks together before Fellows depart to their host sites, Fellows are prepared for their year of service. Orientation covers everything from team building to setting expectations, explaining policies, preparing for your project, navigating cultural adaptation in your host site, and guidance on how to immerse in your host community. You will also meet your AIF and host organization mentors for the first time, and attend workshops and panels on development in India.
Midpoint is an integral part of the Fellowship, which intends to offer a space of meaningful connection, engaged reflection, exchange and capacity-building, as well as personal and professional development. During Midpoint, Fellows will be given the opportunity to exchange and reflect on their experiences with each other and AIF. By sharing each other’s experiences and observations through formal presentations, there will also be opportunity to use this energy and insight to clarify both personal intentions and professional goals for the remainder of the Fellowship. During Midpoint, AIF also evaluates a Fellow’s progress in alignment with the project plan and goals, and offer feedback on points to improve or work on.
In the second half of the Fellowship, the cohort breaks into three smaller groups to proceed onwards to Thematic Conferences held across India in the areas of Public Health, Livelihoods, and Education. The purpose of the Thematic Conferences is to expose Fellows to another aspect of the development field they have been working in through the half of their Fellowship, and to give additional insight and perspective on their ongoing work at their host organization.
Endpoint is the culmination conference that marks the end of the Fellowship. Fellows share their projects, reflect on their experiences, and discuss next steps as program alumni. Endpoint kicks off with a dynamic development conference where each Fellow will prepare a presentation encapsulating their project, their observations, as well as their professional and personal growth. The conference will be attended by AIF staff, programmatic partners, host organizations, guest speakers, and other members of the wider development community in India. Upon the conclusion of the conference, the Fellowship class will be honored by a completion ceremony.
What are some examples of successful Fellowship projects?
• Develop and implement a monitoring and evaluation system to assess the social impact of employability and education programs.
• Design, develop, and disseminate a health and hygiene curriculum, including the promotion of awareness around menstrual health and hygiene.
• Design and facilitate a business and entrepreneurship program for rural women; fostered the immersion of several small-scale business designed and run entirely by rural women.
• Setup and facilitate a support group for women affected by domestic violence. Developing a manual and methodology on how the support group should be conducted on monthly/bi-monthly basis.
What skills are you looking for in projects?
Fellows support AIF partner organizations at a crucial moment of scalability through project based collaboration, skills-sharing, training, and capacity-building. Responsibilities vary based on a Fellow’s skills, experience, and interests. Skills needed in projects may include but are not limited to: program design and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, graphic design, videography, data collection and visualization, digital content development, event planning, qualitative and quantitative research, creative writing, curriculum design, fundraising, teaching, training teachers, community organizing, managing information systems, and marketing and communications.
Will AIF support language training before or during the Fellowship?
Depending on the language required to complete a project, AIF may provide some language training in a local language for Fellows before the start of their project. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. The aim of language training is to allow a Fellow to gain basic language skills to immerse themselves in the project and in their host community. Candidates may also choose to hire a local language tutor if they desire to expand their expertise in the local language.
What are Alumni doing now?
With almost 400 graduates, AIF Fellowship Alumni have followed a diversity of career and life paths. Many have continued on to pursue graduate studies including Masters and Doctoral work in areas such as urban planning, public health, and international development. Alumni have also gone on to professional schools including law, education and medicine. Others have started their own social ventures or chosen to join the development sector in India and the United States, including several alumni who have founded their own enterprises that now host incoming Fellows. Some alumni have returned to jobs they held before the Fellowship period, while others embark upon new professional paths, including work in the public sector (government agencies such as the Department of State), private (law, venture capital)in both countries.
Can I speak to a staff member?
We are happy to provide you with assistance during the application process. If you would like to speak with a staff member in the U.S. or India, please contact us and specify your questions and areas on which you need clarification or support. Due to the volume of application, we ask that you email us your questions first and provide your phone number for follow-up. We aim to respond to your query within 48 hours. Please not that our business hours in the U.S. and India offices are Monday through Friday from 9am-6pm.
What do you expect of fellows?
As a Fellow, you are considered an official ambassador for AIF and the AIF Clinton Fellowship Program at all times. You are expected to act as such with dignity, responsibility, and respect. You are expected to upload our values and honor our mission. Anything you say and do while a Fellow will not only reflect on you individually, but also on the Fellowship and AIF as a whole. Being in this role carries a lot of responsibility.