The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation

Improving Lives
Expanding Opportunities

Bookmark and Share

Asia Foundation Development Fellows F.A.Q.


How many Fellows are selected each year?
The second cohort of Asia Foundation Development Fellows will consist of 12 individuals. We hope to increase the number of Fellows in subsequent years.

Are there specific age requirements?
You must be under 40 years of age by January 1 of the designated Fellowship year. For example, for the 2015 Fellowship year, you must have been born after January 1, 1975.

I am just above the age cutoff. Could you relax the age limit?
Unfortunately, no exceptions can be made with respect to the age requirements. 

Is there a degree requirement?
While most qualified candidates will have strong academic backgrounds – bachelors, masters and even PhDs in relevant areas – the Asia Foundation Development Fellows program acknowledges that strong leadership potential, relevant professional experience, and thematic knowledge can be demonstrated without the presence of a formal degree. Therefore at this time, there is no degree requirement for this program. Those who have completed an academic degree program are required to submit an unofficial copy of their transcripts verifying completion of their degree program.

Is there a minimum work experience requirement?
The Asia Foundation Development Fellowship has no minimum work experience requirement. However, desirable candidates will show excellent track records of at least several years of professional experience and accomplishment in their own disciplines. We seek candidates who can demonstrate outstanding leadership potential and professional competencies, and much of this typically derives from experience in dynamic working environments.

How do I verify my eligibility with respect to the citizenship/nationality requirements?
In general, the Asia Foundation Development Fellows program seeks Asian professionals who have a deep familiarity with their respective country or region. For this reason, only citizens or resident nationals of the listed countries, where The Asia Foundation has programs, are eligible to apply. Applicants must be able to provide official documentation proving their citizenship or nationality, ideally in the form of a passport. While we do not require copies of these documents to be submitted during the online application, applicants should be prepared to provide such documentation upon being designated as a finalist during the selection process.

How do you define “resident national?”
A resident national is the equivalent in each Asian country of a "Permanent Resident" in the U.S. (or "Landed Resident" in some countries with a strong British influence). That is, the person is allowed to reside indefinitely within a country of which he or she is not a citizen. We do not have an exhaustive list of the types of documents needed to prove resident national status. Potential applicants therefore have a small amount of discretion as to whether or not documents in their possession will meet the abovementioned criteria. However, Asia Foundation staff will ultimately determine if the submitted documents are acceptable.

Applicants should also note that simply meeting the nationality requirements does not necessarily constitute a strong application. Desirable candidates will have extensive histories in the listed countries and will be able to demonstrate a long-term commitment to working within their regional or country contexts.

Am I able to apply if I am currently living, working or studying outside my home country in Asia?
Yes. It is expected that many highly qualified candidates will be pursuing opportunities outside their home countries. Applicants currently living outside of Asia who hold citizenship or resident nationality from the accepted countries of this program are still eligible to apply.

Should I still apply even if I do not have a formal background in development?
Yes. The Asia Foundation Development Fellows program welcomes candidates from diverse professional disciplines with demonstrable experience in issues involving Asian development and policy. While Fellows will typically be NGO and civil society leaders, government officials and policymakers, social entrepreneurs, journalists, environmentalists, and academics, we still encourage highly talented and dedicated individuals from other disciplines to apply.

How well do I have to know English for this program?
While the program does not have a formal English proficiency requirement (for example, TOEFL exam results), Asia Foundation Development Fellows must have strong enough English language skills to participate in all program components. Much of the program and its content are highly interactive and international in nature. Exceptional languages skills are highly desirable, but they are not a prerequisite for this program.

What is the time commitment? Is this a full-time fellowship?
Participation in the Asia Foundation Development Fellows program is not a full-time commitment. The main program components are 1-2 week learning modules which grants the Fellows the flexibility to remain in their current occupations throughout their fellowship year. The program's Professional Development Award also offers greater flexibility for Fellows to design their own custom educational component or project that fits in with their existing commitments.

What If I am accepted to the program but not able to attend?
We ask that you do not apply to this program unless you are absolutely certain you are able to attend the Asia and U.S. training modules and follow through on your Professional Development Award plan during the fellowship year. In the case of an emergency or unforeseeable circumstances that preclude your participation, you must notify Asia Foundation Development Fellows staff as soon as possible.

Are current employees of The Asia Foundation eligible to apply?
No. It is The Asia Foundation’s policy not to award fellowships to staff members.

My passport is expired and currently being renewed, but it won’t be ready until after the deadline.  May I still apply?
Applicants may still apply by entering information from their expired passport. However, you must have your new valid passport before the final selection or your application will be dropped.


Am I provided funding to participate in this program?
All program expenses are covered, including costs for coursework and programming, airfares and local transportation, lodging and meals, visa fees, and health and accident insurance. Fellows also receive a Professional Development Award of up to US$5,000 for their own personalized professional development plan.

Must I provide any proof or documentation of financial means?
Since virtually all program expenses are covered, we do not require any proof of financial means.

Can this fellowship program help fund my current or future studies?
No. The Asia Foundation Development Fellows program is not a flexible scholarship fund for degree programs or participation in other major academic programs.

Does the fellowship provide income replacement?
The Asia Foundation does not provide any income replacement as Fellows are expected to stay in their current positions throughout their fellowship year.

Does this program support family members?
The program does not provide support for family members and family members may not accompany the Fellows during the Asia and U.S. components.


When do I apply?
The application period is in the fall of each year. Deadline is usually between October and November.

How are letters of recommendation submitted?
Under the WizeHive application system, you will designate your references when filling out your application. The program will contact your references automatically and guide them through procedures. DO NOT have referees email references to our Development Fellows email address.

How many references do I need and whom should I ask to write for me?
The Development Fellows program requires two (2) letters of recommendation from each applicant. References should be able to comment on your abilities as a thoughtful, committed, respected, and inspirational young leader within your professional field and within your larger community.

May I send my application via global mail or fax?
We do not accept applications or letters of recommendation by global mail or fax. All application components must be submitted electronically.

Will I have to submit documentation of citizenship or nationality?
We do not require these documents during the application process itself, however you will be required to send copies of these documents to verify that you meet the nationality requirements should your application advance further in the selection process.

What are the selection procedures?
All applications are evaluated by Asia Foundation staff at the initial reviewing stages and will be narrowed down to a final selection pool. Thereafter, a selection committee of highly qualified and experienced experts will be charged with evaluating finalists and determining the Asia Foundation Development Fellows.

When are we notified of the final selection?
The final selection will be announced around the end of each year.

Do I have any responsibilities after the fellowship year?
All Development Fellows will become part of an active and engaged alumni network – through web and social media platforms, as well as substantive program intersections – that will encourage ongoing collaboration and the sharing of ideas, resources, and support throughout their professional careers.

My online application session has been disrupted. Did I lose all of my progress?
Please contact the Asia Foundation Development Fellows staff and they will be able to assist you in recovering your application information.

I cannot find the Letters of Recommendation form on the online application.
Once you fill in your name and email address on your application form and click save, the "Add or Edit Recommendation Request" function will appear on the main menu of the online application form. This is to make sure that your references receive notifications with your name and contact information.

Have my letters of reference been received?
Please use the "Add or Edit Recommendation Request" menu to manage and check the status of your recommendations. The recommendation system is applicant led, and therefore it is your responsibility to ensure that recommendations are completed before the application deadline.

Please contact the Asia Foundation Development Fellows staff for any additional inquiries.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • Instagram