Frequently Asked Questions
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Why is it called the Marshall Memorial Fellowship program?
- The Marshall Memorial Fellowship program (MMF) is named in the honor of George C. Marshall, a U.S. general and statesman who played a key role in transatlantic relations after the Second World War through his role in the Europe Recovery Program (1948-1951), more commonly known as the Marshall Plan.
What is the objective of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship?
- The program’s main objective is to enable leaders from business, government, and civil society to expand their understanding of transatlantic relations and create new forms of collaboration.
- The program does this through a combination of active distance learning and immersive exchange experience, during which participants come in contact with leaders who are pursuing solutions to key challenges in their spheres of activity, hear their strategies and best practices, and gain an understanding of the complexities of the environment in which they operate.
- The program gives participants a unique ability to accurately ascertain and develop new opportunities for transatlantic collaboration, with a special emphasis on cross-sectorial collaboration.
What is the structure of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship?
- The MMF program consists of 6 months of preparations and 24 days of transatlantic exchange. During preparations, the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) introduces fellows to key components of the transatlantic relationship and asks them to identify their objectives for the remainder of the fellowship, to expand their knowledge about regions across the Atlantic, and to secure at least one individual appointment in each community they are assigned to visit, except the final one.
- The preparations consist of a welcome call, three surveys, three thematic telephone briefings, and two operational pre-departure calls, alongside personal research and outreach that result in at least four individual appointments across the Atlantic. The exchange program begins in Washington, DC, where all the fellows meet to learn from each other about the similarities and differences between Europe and the United States. Each fellow then visits a total of five communities across the Atlantic and benefits from more than 100 engagements with prominent policy-, opinion-, and decision-makers as well as leaders of change.
- The majority of the program consists of a group experience but time is set aside in each community for fellows to conduct their individual appointments. Regular debriefs provide an opportunity for fellows to reflect on their experience together and identify opportunities for transfers of knowledge and best practice.
- At the end of the exchange, each fellow submits an opinion piece or a photo essay on a transatlantic policy question or their personal leadership takeaway, which is then published on the GMF website. The program concludes with a final program debrief that takes place over the phone one month after the exchange program, after which lifelong engagement with GMF continues through alumni programs.
Who is eligible to apply for the Marshall Memorial Fellowship?
GMF selects leaders from all professional backgrounds, including business, government, and civil society.
Who is an ideal candidate for the Marshall Memorial Fellowship?
The Marshall Memorial Fellows (MMFs) are leaders with integrity and a strong commitment to diversity who align with causes greater than themselves. They recognize the reality of global interconnectedness and desire connectivity and collaboration. MMFs value personal experience and learn through exposure, dialogue, and reflection.
On what basis are the fellows selected?
- A profound sense of integrity.
- Between 7 and 15 years of leadership experience.
- A commitment to democracy and diversity across markers including profession, gender, race, and ethnicity.
- A desire to effect real and sustainable change through creativity and innovation.
- Proven ability to apply knowledge and leverage networks.
- An ability to become a steward of the transatlantic agenda.
For more information on the basic selection criteria, please visit: http://www.gmfus.org/initiatives/how-apply
What is the application process?
Applications are made through our online application portal. Applicants are invited to submit an application by September 27, 2019. We recommend starting your application early, so our team has adequate time to respond to any questions you may have. All applicants should be contacted with the status of their applications by April 2020. The application includes a form, short-answer questions, three essay questions, a résumé/CV, and two letters of recommendation, along with the nomination form.
Candidates should not ask for a letter of recommendation from their nominator or a family member, and applicants should not submit letters of recommendations for other applicants. If a candidate meets the eligibility factors but does not have a nominator, the candidate may instead submit the application form and check the self-nomination box.
All interviews take about 20 minutes and are conducted in person and in English. Interview dates and locations will be provided to applicants as early as possible, and candidates are expected to hold this date and make themselves available for interviews. Candidates are responsible for the costs of travel and lodging for the interview.
For more information on the application process, please visit: http://www.gmfus.org/initiatives/how-apply
May I submit parts of my application after the deadline?
No. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that all application materials, including two letters of recommendation, are submitted by the application deadline. Only complete applications will be considered.
Are there any age restrictions?
No, we do not impose age restrictions for applicants. However, MMF fellowships are aimed at individuals at the mid-stage of their career and who have between 7 and 15 years of proven leadership experience.
Who evaluates the applications?
Applications will be evaluated by the Leadership committee drawn from GMF senior management. All application materials and the selection committee’s evaluations remain confidential. The committee will not provide feedback on individual applications to candidates who are not shortlisted for interview.
What happens after the interview?
Applicants who are successful in their interview will be notified by email and receive contracts setting out the terms and conditions of the fellowship.
Applicants who are unsuccessful in their interview will be notified by email. We regret we cannot provide feedback on applications to candidates who are not shortlisted for interview.
If selected, what is the required time commitment as a fellow?
Following the fellowship award announcements each spring, selected fellows are notified of their travel season (next fall or the following spring) and receive a detailed schedule of what to expect in the six months leading up to their date of travel. Six mandatory Zoom video meetings are held during this time and include a welcome call, three thematic briefings with required readings, and two pre-departure calls. Each of these sessions lasts for one hour and fellows receive the schedule far in advance to avoid any conflicts. These sessions are followed by the 24-day exchange program, and the program concludes with a final debrief call one month after the exchange ends.
In addition to the briefings and travel, fellows are required to schedule individual appointments with a local leader in most of the communities they will visit. This task involves research and outreach over the course of the three months leading up to the transatlantic exchange.
During the program, fellows will represent GMF and are expected to conduct themselves in a manner reflective of this special relationship. Fellows are expected to attend all activities during preparations and to participate fully in all 24 days of transatlantic exchange; no late arrivals or early departures will be accommodated. Fellowships can be withdrawn if full participation is not met.
Can GMF provide appropriate health insurance for the duration of the fellowship?
GMF does not provide health insurance during the trip. Fellows are advised to check with their healthcare providers to ensure coverage during the fellowship program. If medical assistance is required, fellows should consult with MMF staff or local coordinators. European fellows will need to obtain health insurance for the duration of their MMF travel as a requirement of the J-1 visa application process.
Do I need a visa to travel during the fellowship?
All fellows must possess passports valid for at least six months beyond the assigned travel dates. European fellows are required to obtain a J-1 visa in order to participate in the MMF program because it is officially registered with the U.S. Department of State as an educational exchange program. As required by the U.S. Department of State, all international visitors who are traveling to the United States for educational purposes must obtain the J-1 visa. This applies to all European participants, regardless of their country’s participation in the visa waiver program. Long-term tourist visas and diplomatic passports cannot be used to participate in the MMF program. GMF provides all fellows with comprehensive instructions and the necessary paperwork to obtain their visas.
Are there any costs involved with the fellowship?
GMF invests approximately $25,000 in each fellow. Fellows meet this investment by covering their registration fee upon acceptance into the program of $3,000 for Fellows with a corporate or business background, $1,500 for American Fellows and $1,250 for European Fellows coming from the non-profit or government sector.* In addition, we estimate out-of-pocket expenses during the program of $1,500 on average. The registration fee, which is lower for Europeans who also have visa expenses, comes with a one-year bronze membership in GMF’s Alumni Leadership Council. Financial assistance is available to those individuals who demonstrate a clear financial need and inability to cost-share this way.**
* Prices are subject to change
**Applicants from Eastern Partnership countries are exempt from the obligation to pay this fee.
Why is there a different fee for corporate/business participants?
It is expected that participants accepted into the program coming from a corporate/business background can offset the cost as professional development and/or have their companies cost share the fee
What is included?
- Two practical phases (stages) at leading institutions in the United States and Europe (24 days of transatlantic first-hand experience).
- Six months of distance learning.
- The first phase prepares the fellows to explore opportunities for transatlantic collaboration, while the second brings them in contact with leaders across sectors to hear their perspectives, strategies, and best practices and to develop a comprehensive understanding of transatlantic trends, alongside an influential network.
- The distance learning component includes reading assignments, interactive dialogue on key transatlantic issues led by a subject-area policy analyst or leader. Sessions will last one hour each and on average three to four are held over the six-month period.
- All accommodation and travel from the program’s beginning to its conclusion.
- Lifelong membership in the GMF Alumni Network with a possibility to join our Alumni Leadership Council:
What is the fellowship start/end date?
Program in the United States: October 5 – October 28, 2020; March 15 – April 7, 2021
Program in Europe: October 6 – November 1, 2020; March 17 – April 11, 2021
Is there a possibility to stay connected after the fellowship?
More than 3,000 leaders have participated in GMF Leadership Programs, creating a vibrant and far-reaching network that is a great asset for the transatlantic relationship.
As an alumnus of a GMF Leadership Program, you will have access to an online alumni database and interactive mobile app, as well as a range of additional leadership development opportunities that will enable you to increase your transatlantic engagement. These currently include leadership seminars, seed grants for alumni projects, and major conferences. For a full overview, please visit our website: http://www.gmfus.org/initiatives/action-plan-alumni-engagement
I applied for the fellowship in the past, may I reapply?
Yes, candidates may apply more than once for the fellowship. If a candidate’s application is unsuccessful, candidates may reapply for future calls and re-applications will not be disadvantaged in the selection process.