Professional Fellows Program Overview

Economic Empowerment Program banner

Legislative Fellows – Economic Empowerment - Journalism

The Professional Fellows Program brings emerging leaders from around the world to the United States for intensive short-term Fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise. Participants are placed in non-profit organizations, media outlets, private sector businesses, and government offices across the country to learn first-hand how issues in their field are addressed in the United States.  Participants build a broad network with both their American colleagues and their fellow participants. The program also creates an opportunity for them to develop a deeper understanding of American society.  Thousands of Americans host, work with, and learn from the foreign Fellows while they are in the United States, and the second phase of the Professional Fellows Programs involves selection of Americans to take part in official follow-on programs overseas, in conjunction with the Fellows they hosted in the United States. 

In 2013, 440 participants from 50 countries attended in the spring and fall for programs focusing on economic empowerment, journalism, and the legislative process and governance. At the end of each program, the Fellows gather in Washington, DC, for a  closing Professional Fellows Congress, which is an opportunity for the participants to compare and contrast what they have experienced in the U.S. with systems in their home countries. Professional Fellows also examine how individuals can be empowered to effect positive change in their communities through engagement in civil society, advisory groups, and the policy formulation process. Approximately 300 American Fellows are then be selected to participate in follow-up programs overseas to spend time in the workplaces and communities of the foreign counterparts that they previously hosted in the United States.  Over the course of the past three years, more than 1,500 foreign and American Professional Fellows have participated in the Professional Fellows Program.

EEP participants in a lecture at the Mansfield Center
2013 participants engage in a discussion in the Mansfield Center

In surveys taken after the 2012 PFP, participants reported that:

95% introduced new ideas and knowledge into their place of work

59% organized or initiated new activities or projects in their communities

55% assumed a leadership role or position in their community

52% introduced new policies or procedures in their place of work

33% established a new organization in their community

27% have written newspaper articles, including editorials and opinion pieces

25% proposed, wrote, and/or passed a new law

The Professional Fellows Economic Empowerment Program is one of many professional exchange programs funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  These exchanges are designed to foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Every year, approximately 50,000 foreign and American participants take part annually in a wide range of exchange programs funded by the State Department, including the Fulbright Program and the International Visitor Leadership Program.