Central and Eastern Europe faces a troubling mix of domestic and international challenges. Populists, kleptocrats, autocrats, and dictators have long undermined democratic institutions, civil society, and free media throughout the region. Economic stability, social cohesion, and resilience are deeply challenged by the aftermath of recent crises, the demands of digitalization and a green transition, and the changing role of the region in international supply chains. Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine and the armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh have further heightened insecurity in the eastern part of the region, while growing exposure to Russian disinformation and China’s expanding economic influence continue to contest the primacy and attractiveness of transatlantic and European integration in Central Europe and the Western Balkans.
A democratic, stable, and prosperous eastern half of Europe thus seems to be more elusive than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Yet, the victory of democratic forces in Poland’s latest parliamentary elections and the persistent drive toward European integration in Moldova, Ukraine, and parts of the Western Balkans provide rays of hope. In these turbulent times, Central and Eastern Europe as well as its Western partners need fresh thinking and innovation in policymaking and civic engagement to strengthen the region’s democratic resilience, economic prosperity, and Euro-Atlantic orientation.
“While leaders speak of ‘inflection points’, the citizens of Central Europe, the Western Balkans, and the Eastern Partnership countries are living through this historic moment. This is why the German Marshall Fund of the United States is excited to announce its call for applications for the seventh edition of the ReThink.CEE Fellowship”, says its president, Heather A. Conley. “This prestigious fellowship supports next-generation policy experts and civil society practitioners who will shape the region’s future and explore innovative ideas and strategies to respond to this inflection point. Since 2018, this annual program has supported over 60 experts from across this region, and we are looking forward to welcoming a new set of project proposals by bright young minds from across the region”.
We are looking for:
- Young policy experts and/or civic activists from Central Europe (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia), the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia) and the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine)
- A concrete project idea for innovative policy research that addresses current or prospective challenges for Central and Eastern Europe and/or the Western Balkans. Priority will be given to projects that have a regional, rather than single-country focus and applicability
- Maximum age of 35 at the time of application
- No ongoing university studies during the fellowship, except doctoral studies
- Proven track record of policy analysis and/or civil society engagement at the regional, national, or international level in a think tank, university, media outlet, government institution, nongovernmental organization, and/or business organization
- Ability to participate in two in-person meetings during the fellowship (April 18–19, 2024, and mid-October 2024)
- Commitment to produce a high-quality policy paper within a year as the main output of the fellowship
- A one-year nonresidential fellowship and affiliation with The German Marshall Fund of the United States, a premier transatlantic think tank
- A stipend of $5,000 for the entire fellowship paid in two installments, and an additional allowance of $2,500 to cover expenses related to the research (travel, board, lodging, other)
- Two in-person workshops at the early and mid- stages of the fellowship with a training component focusing on policy research and writing, media engagement, and advocacy, with all costs covered by GMF
- Individual research and editorial support by GMF peers
- A professional policy publication, including its presentation and dissemination, at the end of the fellowship
- Possibility to cooperate and exchange with colleagues from different branches of GMF
- Access to GMF’s network of policy and civil society professionals as well as to the ReThink.CEE alumni
To apply, fill in our online application form and attach:
- Your curriculum vitae
- The outline of your research project idea in max. 2 pages
- A recent English-language publication (policy paper, article, op-ed) authored by you as single author
In case you have no such recent publication, please submit a 1,000-word essay as your writing sample. Your focus should be on how you think Central Europe, the Western Balkans, and/or the Eastern Partnership countries should address a regional challenge that you identify as highly consequential.
Applications should be submitted in English by January 14 (Sunday), 2024.