Penn Kemble Forum on Democracy 2017-2018 in Washington DC, USA

Penn Kemble Forum on Democracy 2017-2018 in Washington DC, USA

Deadline: August 8, 2017

Applications are being accepted for the 2017-18 cohort of the Penn Kemble Forum on Democracy. The Forum promotes bipartisan conversation among young foreign policy leaders in Washington, DC. It offers an opportunity for them to share ideas across sectors and explore the role of democracy and human rights within the context of a broad range of policy questions. The Forum convenes monthly for off-the-record dinner conversations led by foreign policy experts, government officials (past and present), and democracy practitioners. In 2016-17, Penn Kemble Fellows met with Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, Dr. Francis Fukuyama, Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran), and many others.

No ‘democracy experience’ required – applications are encouraged from the Hill, security-focused young professionals, journalists covering international affairs, and the private sector, as well as from democracy and development practitioners. The Forum will run this year from September 2017 to June 2018, starting with a morning retreat at the NED offices on Saturday, September 16, 2017. It is organized and sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy with the assistance of a distinguished advisory committee of scholars and practitioners.

About Penn Kemble

Penn Kemble’s death in October 2005 robbed the democracy movement of one of its most committed activists and strategists. His political evolution took him from early involvement in the young socialist and civil rights movements, through engagement with the U.S. labor movement in combating Communism, especially within Central America, to more recent initiatives, including the Transatlantic Democracy Network and Civitas, an international program to promote civic education. He served as deputy and acting director of the United States Information Agency in the Clinton administration, and Secretary of State Albright appointed him U.S. Representative to the Community of Democracies. In 2002, Secretary of State Powell appointed him to lead a group to investigate slavery and human trafficking in Sudan.


  • Applicants should be early-to-mid-career young professionals working on foreign policy related issues within think tanks, government, media, and the private or non-profit sectors;
  • It is recommended that applicants have at least seven years of work experience;
  • Fellows need to be based in Washington, DC;
  • Fellows need to be available to attend a morning retreat (at the NED offices) on Saturday, September 16;
  • Fellows are expected to attend a minimum of two-thirds of the monthly round tables, which are usually held on Monday or Tuesday nights. Attendance at other events (such as happy hours and career development seminars) is optional. Fellows who complete the two-thirds requirement will be invited to alumni events and career development seminars;
  • Fellows are asked to write one short paper on a Forum topic, or a reflection of their experience, by the end of the program. Select papers will be published on Democracy Digest.

Application Process

Applicants are asked to complete the application form, which includes the following required documents:

  • Current resume
  • A statement of interest (500 words maximum) describing how the applicant will contribute to and benefit from the Forum
  • Letter of recommendation from a current or former employer or academic supervisor detailing the applicant’s intellectual and analytical abilities, international commitment or experience, and personal qualities
  • Application deadline is Tuesday, August 8, 2017.

For more information, visit Penn Kemble Forum on Democracy.