Centre invites South Africans to apply to study at Harvard

05 March 2021 - 16:25
The Harvard Centre for African Studies has invited mid-career professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply for a fellowship programme. Stock photo.
The Harvard Centre for African Studies has invited mid-career professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply for a fellowship programme. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Julija Sapic

The Harvard Centre for African Studies is inviting applications from educationally disadvantaged mid-career professionals in SA to apply for a fellowship programme enabling them to study at Harvard University in the US.

The fellowship is for up to one year of study in one of Harvard’s professional schools or graduate school of arts and sciences.

General administrative funds for programme management, stipends and airfare for the fellows are administered by the centre.

Since the programme was established 40 years ago, more than 220 fellows are counted among its alumni.

They represent leadership positions in all aspects of SA society, including many professors and senior administrators at universities, leaders in the private sector, and a host of others committed to public service as officials in government and international organisations.

Applications are opened annually in January to SA citizens and are due in April.

“SA still has a critical need to develop leaders in energy, infrastructure, good governance, health care, education and technology,” said Nthatisi Quella, programme manager at the centre's office in Johannesburg.

She said the centre recognised there was a need to develop candidates who were likely to advance SA in dealing with youth unemployment, immigration, social justice and social inclusion, equality, human rights and climate change.

These focus areas were important not only for the growth and development of SA but for regional and global development, she said.

It is hoped that successful individuals can use the advanced training to further SA political, social and economic progress.

“This programme provides a transformational experience for the SA fellows, and we always look for individuals who want to make a positive impact back home so the programme’s benefits can go beyond the Harvard community,” said Prof Wafaie Fawzi, the interim Oppenheimer faculty director at the Harvard Centre for African Studies.

Shortlisted candidates are invited to participate in an interview with a selection committee. Following selection, candidates awarded a fellowship will be invited to apply for admission to the graduate or professional school.

For the 2020 application cycle, a total of 71 applications were received, 12 candidates were shortlisted for interviews, and five candidates were awarded fellowship slots, pending their admission to the participating graduate and professional schools.

For the 2021 application cycle, the centre anticipates awarding six fellowships.

Applicants must determine well in advance whether, if awarded a fellowship, they can be granted leave by their employer to study at Harvard for the duration of their intended programme dates.

Fellows usually range in age from 30 to 45.

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