The Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs is a project jointly run by the Swiss Study Foundation and the Mercator Foundation Switzerland in cooperation with the Swiss Foreign Office as well as the German National Academic Foundation and the Mercator Program Center for International Affairs, funded by Mercator Foundation, in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office. The Fellowship’s dean is Prof. Dr. Klaus Scharioth, former State Secretary in the German Federal Foreign Office and ambassador to Washington, and the vice dean is Dr. Jenö Staehelin, former Swiss ambassador to the United Nations in New York.
The challenges of our time require transnational cooperation. The number of problems that can only be resolved through close international cooperation is continuously growing: climate change and energy security, economic and financial crisis, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, human rights and freedom of information, not to mention information security, water shortage, famine, and the defense of our open society against its potentially violent enemies. There are no purely national solutions to any of these challenges. Decisions aimed at resolving these problems are increasingly taken – or at least are prepared to a decisive extent – in international organizations and bodies. What is more, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) contribute significantly to shaping international public opinion, and thus likewise play an important role. All these challenges demand not only political awareness and material resources, but above all competent and motivated individuals in key positions both in and outside Switzerland and Germany.
To this end, the Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs promotes 20 outstanding German and four outstanding Swiss university graduates and young professionals from all fields who aspire to positions of responsibility in international organizations. During the course of the 13-months program, the fellows work in two or three international organizations or globally active NGOs around the world, possible places of deployment ranging from an organization’s headquarters in New York to field experience in Kyrgyzstan. Fellows select a project topic of global relevance (possible themes include foreign and security policy or economic, health, migration, cultural, climate and energy policy), which then determines the work placements they choose. During the Fellowship phases, they discuss global problems with high-ranking individuals such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees or the foreign policy adviser to the German Chancellor. The fellows also benefit from seminars aimed at developing their leadership skills and core competencies; these include training in rhetoric, communication and negotiation. The costs of all travel to international placements are covered, and additional grants are also available for conferences and language courses. The fellows are incorporated into a network of over 370 alumni, organized within the Network for International Affairs (NEFIA).
This year’s application for the 6th intake of the Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs has expired. You will find more information on the application process in German. → more…