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2019 Draper Hills Summer Fellowship Programme At Stanford Center On Democracy Development And The Rule Of Law.

| Application Deadline:  5:00pm PST on Monday, December 10, 2018 |




  • The Draper Hills Summer Fellowship on Democracy and Development Program (DHSFDD) is a three-week academic training program that is hosted annually at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. The program brings together a group of 25 to 30 mid-career practitioners in law, politics, government, private enterprise, civil society, and international development from transitioning countries. This training program provides a unique forum for emerging leaders to connect, exchange experiences, and receive academic training to enrich their knowledge and advance their work.


  • For three weeks during the summer, fellows participate in academic seminars that expose them to the theory and practice of democracy, development, and the rule of law. Delivered by leading Stanford faculty from the Stanford Law School, the Graduate School of Business, and the departments of economics and political science, these seminars allow emerging leaders to explore new institutional models and frameworks to enhance their ability to promote democratic change in their home countries.


  • Guest speakers from private foundations, think tanks, government, and the justice system provide a practitioners viewpoint on such pressing issues in the field. Past program speakers have included: Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California Honorable Tino Cuéllar; Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy; Stacy Donohue, director of investments at the Omidyar Network; Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google; and Judge Lucy Koh, judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Summer Fellows also visit Silicon Valley technology firms such as Benetech, TechSoup, Google and Twitter to explore how technology tools and social media platforms are being used to catalyze democratic practices on a global scale.
  • The program is funded by generous support from Bill and Phyllis Draper and Ingrid von Mangoldt Hills.





  • This is not an academic fellowship but meant for practitioners only. We value practical experience over academic credentials, and we admit scholars only to the extent that they are active in government, public policy, civil society, economic development and rule of law. They should hold leadership roles in their respective sector.


  • Applicants must be mid-career practitioners and have at least ten to 12 years of experience to qualify for the fellowship. Those with more experience are much more competitive in the selection process.


  • Candidates must be from and currently reside in a country where democracy is not well entrenched. Candidates residing outside their home country due to war or conflict may be granted exceptions. Applicants will not be accepted from countries such as: the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and member states of the European Union.


  • Candidates must be at least 28 years of age at the start of the fellowship in July 2018. The average age of our fellows at the time of the program is 38.


  • Candidates must be actively working in the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law. We do not accept candidates who are in the midst of full-time university degree programs.


  • Candidates must have a solid command of written and spoken English. All program materials and sessions are in English. Participants will also be required to give 7-minute TED-style talks throughout the three-week program regarding their work and motivation. English language proficiency is very important in order to benefit and contribute to the program dialogue.





Our program curriculum combines five different session styles, which include:

  • 1.     Academic sessions provide a framework and theory to understand democratic development taught by interdisciplinary faculty from across Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Sessions examine political development, democratic transitions, the relationship of law to economic development, public administration, administrative law, transitional justice, food security, and global health policy, among others. Lectures are accompanied by a set of academic readings drawn from books and journals that participants are asked to complete before each lecture. Please reference our 2016 program agenda to learn more about our academic sessions.


  • 2.     Case study workshops are rooted in real-world stories and scenarios of specific policy reforms that have taken place in developing countries. Rather than serve as examples of “best practices” or “how-to” guides, the cases are designed to encourage participants to think critically about the key decisions that have led to policy reforms. They are written from the perspective of decision-makers who have designed or executed specific policies and they demonstrate how effective public officials think and act strategically. They show how these leaders address technical obstacles while simultaneously taking into careful consideration the political, cultural and social constraints to reforms. The cases we use for teaching can be found in our case study library.


  • 3.     Ted-style talks allow fellows to tell their story to the group to uncover more about their work, personal life, and struggles to overcome injustice and advance democracy. These talks begin in the first week of the program and conclude by the second week, allowing fellows a chance to connect on a personal level and develop peer connections early in the program. Fellows are asked to begin preparing their Ted-style talk in advance of the fellowship program. You can watch select Ted-style talks from our 2015 fellows here.


  • 4.     Guest lectures feature prominent figures in public service, the technology industry, and the philanthropic community who provide a practitioner’s perspective for our fellows, and allows them to make strategic connections to these organizations.


  • 5.     Site visits to leading technology firms, such as Google and Twitter, allow fellows to get an inside perspective on Silicon Valley’s leading tech giants and how their platforms can help support democracy leaders.




  • Stanford asks all applicants to be prepared to contribute towards the cost of their participation in the fellowship, if they are selected. Typically this comes in the form of a fellow covering round-trip airfare to the Program. Stanford will pay for accommodations, meals, and transportation costs during the duration of the Program. In the past, some fellows have asked their employers to subsidize their travel to Stanford based on the benefits that the training will contribute towards their professional and organizational advancement. They may also choose to fundraise for these costs after selection decisions are issued in April 2017.


  • A small travel fund is available for fellows who under no circumstances can support their travel or need to apply for a partial subsidy. Priority for accessing the travel fund will be given based on need, and destinations where airline fares to California are exorbitant.




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