The Highly Selective “Yale World Fellows” Program has run for 20 Years

In 2000, Yale launched several internationalization programs to create ambassadors around the globe for the Yale University. This included the World Fellows program, now known as the Maurice Greenberg World Fellows Program. This full-time course sees fellows participating in seminars, skill building sessions, University classes, and attending dinners and networking events with distinguished speakers. 

The World Fellows program is run out of the Yale Jackson Institute in Connecticut. Each year, 16 individuals are selected from a long list of applicants to spend four intensive months on-site in New Haven. In exchange, fellows join an exclusive list of previous alumni that includes diplomats, journalists, and industry leaders across the globe.

Notable past World Fellows

The 2021 World Fellows class includes a Brazilian diplomat, an Israeli journalist, and a British expert in the ethics of artificial intelligence. These men and women bring the total number of World Fellows to nearly 400 individuals spread across 91 countries.

The full list of World Fellows is extensive, but includes high-profile figures like Alexei Navalny, the Moscow-based lawyer and political opposition leader currently in prison in Russia, María Corina Machado, Venezuelan Congresswoman and opposition leader who has been named by the BBC as one of the World’s 100 Most Influential Women, Paula Escobar Chavarría, Chilean magazine editor, columnist, and journalist who received the Lenka Fanulic Award, and Ma Jun, an environmental activist and winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize.

Applicants must be ready for a fight

With less than 20 World Fellows being chosen out of the thousands of applications per year, the program is not easy to enter. Being focused on Yale’s global presence, applicants must be citizens from a country other than the United States, although those with dual-citizenship in the United States are occasionally accepted. The official application requirements are as follows:

  • Applicants should be between five and twenty-five years into their professional careers, with demonstrated and significant accomplishments at a regional, national, or international level. 
  • Applicants must be fluent in English. An excellent command of the English language is essential to successfully participating in the program.
  • World Fellows are required to be in residence at Yale University in New Haven for the entirety of the program which runs from mid-August through mid-December.

Hopefuls are selected based on their potential. Applicants must already have an established record of extraordinary achievement and integrity, a commitment to good society and to making a positive impact at the local, national, or international level, and a promising future career in a leadership role that will have a notable global impact. Special capacity for critical, creative, entrepreneurial, and strategic thinking is a bonus. While joining the program, applicants receive a living stipend, housing, travel reimbursement and health insurance.

Applicants can be either nominated by someone else, or they can put their own name forward. There is no benefit to choosing either option.

2021 marked 20 years of the program

The class of 2021 marked the graduation of the 20th group of World Fellows. Yale President Peter Salovey stated on the occasion, “These remarkable leaders and innovators bring immense expertise and insight to our university, and I am grateful that they can contribute to Yale’s intellectual life…After completing the program, these fellows become ambassadors for Yale around the globe. They help us share and create knowledge, and they are our partners in realizing the university’s mission to improve the world today and for future generations.”

Applications are currently closed for those who wish to join the exclusive 2022 cohort, which is scheduled to start in New Haven in August, but the results are set to be announced in April 2022.

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