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The Middle East Initiative offers one-year Emirates Leadership Initiative Fellowships for research related to governance and public policy in the Arab world and broader Middle East. These fellowships, all of which carry a stipend, are intended to support the next generation of policy-oriented scholars on the challenges and opportunities facing and emanating from the region. 


Eligible candidates include untenured faculty members, recent recipients of a Ph.D. (or equivalent), and advanced doctoral candidates. We welcome applications from political  scientists, historians, economists, sociologists, and other social scientists. We also encourage applications from women, minorities, and citizens of all countries.

  • Applicants for pre-doctoral fellowships must have passed general examinations, advanced to candidacy, received dissertation prospectus approval, and concluded all necessary fieldwork for the dissertation by the time of application. Applicants who have more than one year remaining in their doctoral programs are unlikely to be selected.

  • Applicants who expect to complete their Ph.D. program after submitting their application but prior to the fellowship start date can apply for a postdoctoral appointment. Postdoctoral fellowship offers are contingent upon submitting proof of Ph.D. completion prior to the September 1st fellowship start date.

Priority will be given to applicants who combine rigorous social scientific methods, real-world, policy relevance, and the ability to communicate clear and compelling perspectives to non-specialist audiences. We are particularly interested in scholars who study economic diversification, the economic and social impacts of developments in technology, regional security, and energy and the environment. We are especially interested in scholars who study these themes in the Arabian Gulf region. 


Fellows are required to be physically present at Harvard for the duration of the fellowship. Predoctoral research fellows are expected to complete their doctoral dissertations while in residence. Postdoctoral or faculty fellows may use this fellowship to complete a book or develop other research projects, and they will be expected to contribute to the public life of the Middle East Initiative by organizing study groups and offering public lectures.

Stipend Information

The Middle East Initiative offers ten-month stipends of $50,000 to predoctoral fellows, $65,000 to postdoctoral fellows, and $75,000 to fellows who received their doctoral degrees more than five years prior to their fellowship start date. Fellows who have not received their doctoral degree within five years of beginning their fellowship will not be benefits eligible. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply for other sources of funding. All applicants should clearly indicate on their application form whether they are seeking full or partial funding and indicate other potential funding sources. Non-stipendiary appointments are also offered, but the application process remains the same.

Application Requirements 

  • CV/ Resume: This should include all degrees earned and dates earned, as well as expected dates of completion for any degrees still in progress. 
  • Research statement (3-5 pages): This should be a description of the project you intend to pursue when in residence with us. This can either be a paper or book project, or more advanced candidates may propose an 8 to 10-session study group around a particular policy or research topic. (Study groups at Harvard are not-for-credit courses hosted by our more senior visiting fellows, and often bring guest speakers to campus.) 

  • Unofficial transcript (pre-doctoral fellow applicants only). Please note that the applicant must have advanced to candidacy prior to the application. Applicants who have more than one year remaining in their doctoral programs are unlikely to be selected.  

  • Contact information for 3 recommenders: Please note that you are responsible for ensuring that your recommenders submit their recommendations on time. MEI may contact delinquent recommenders, but we are unable to guarantee this.  

  • Writing sample (fewer than 50 pages): 

    • Must include an abstract of 300 words or less 

    • Will preferably be single-authored 

    • Can be either published or unpublished 

    • Examples include: journal article, book chapter, dissertation chapter, or white paper you have produced in your field 

Application Timeline 

The application period to apply for a 2023-2024 fellowship has closed. Recommendation letters are due by December 15, 2022 23:59 PM EST. Decisions will be announced on or before February 15, 2023.

Application FAQs