Dalai Lama Fellows

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FAQ

1. What is Dalai Lama Fellows?
2. Who are your partners?
3. Who can apply?
4. Where can I apply?
5. Do I have to be Buddhist or engaged in a contemplative practice to apply?
6. Do I have to take time off from school in order to apply?
7. What is the rationale for limiting the fellowship to students who will return to campus in the following academic year?
8. How can the project grant be spent?
9. Does the Dalai Lama fund the program?
10. What role does the faculty advisor play?
11. May teams of students apply for the Fellowship?
12. Are teams eligible for a project grant of a higher amount?
13. Do you have examples of past projects?
14. What are the requirements of a Fellow, beyond the project?
15. Should the projects be domestic or international?
16. May the Fellow do his/her work while participating in study abroad?
17. Do you have additional questions not covered here?

1. What is Dalai Lama Fellows?

Dalai Lama Fellows, a global program personally authorized by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, envisions and works towards a world that tends to the good of the whole as well as the individual. We do this by guiding a global network of young social entrepreneurs to deepen their effectiveness by integrating secular ethics, contemplative values, and compassion.

We award highly-selective, year-long Fellowship grants of up to $10,000 (varies from country to country) to exceptional undergraduate and graduate students from select partners who want to design and launch ambitious “compassion-in-action” projects in one or more of four areas:

a. Enhancing understanding and cooperation across peoples and cultures;
b. Diminishing violence and promoting peace;
c. Helping to alleviate poverty through creative initiatives; and,
d. Protecting the environment.

Grant awards cover project expenses and airfare to the Ethical Leadership Assembly, a weeklong convening of Fellows held in June 2013 and June 2014 near San Francisco, California.

Over the course of the year, Fellows are immersed in a reflective leadership curriculum, where they explore universal human values including contemplation, compassion, emotional resilience, discernment, and courage from a secular perspective.

Dalai Lama Fellows learn that cultivation of patience, tolerance for ambiguity, listening to find alignment, resilience when faced with the unexpected and allowing solutions to generate from a place of openness and humility are what make for exemplary leadership.

2.  Who are your partners?

Dalai Lama Fellows works with select partner colleges and universities. Currently, only students from our partner schools are eligible to apply.

North America

  • Amherst College
  • McGill University
  • New York University
  • Oberlin College
  • Princeton University
  • Spelman College
  • Stanford University
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of Minnesota

Africa/Middle East

  • Aseshi University, Ghana
  • American University, Cairo

Asia   

  •  Tata Institute of Social Studies, India

3.  Who can apply?

Undergraduate, as well as graduate and professional, students who are enrolled full-time at a partner school at the time of applying and who intend to be enrolled and on campus during their Fellowship year are eligible to apply.

4.  Where can I apply?

Application links for the 2014 Fellowship are currently available here. Contact info@dalailamafellows.org with questions.

5.  Do I have to be Buddhist to apply?

No. Dalai Lama Fellows is a secular, non-political organization. We are equal opportunity in outlook, and value diversity in both background and perspectives.

6.  Do I have to take time off from school in order to apply?

No. The Fellowship is structured so that you can pursue your academic studies while engaging with the Fellowship. That said, we are looking for candidates who are passionate about affecting their issue of choice and who are ready and willing to engage significantly with the project, the community they will work in, and with the Fellowship.

7.  What is the rationale for limiting the fellowship to students who will return to campus in the following academic year?

One of the key requirements for Fellows is to integrate their Fellowship work meaningfully into the life of the campus. Returning to campus is a vital part of fulfilling that requirement. Campus integration is an opportunity for Fellows to share what they are learning and working on with the campus. We expect an extended commitment. Past Fellows have done everything from running discussion groups, leading tours over Spring Break to project areas, blogging, writing for campus publications and speaking on campus about their Fellowship experience.

8.  How can the project grant be spent?

The project grant of up to $10,000 (amounts may differ for international Fellows based on partner guidelines and recommendations) may be used for all project-related expenses and for travel expenses to the Ethical Leadership Assembly (June 30 – July 7, 2013 and again in June 2014).  While the grant cannot be used as personal income, students may be allowed to use part of the $10,000 as a stipend, after consultation with the program office, if Fellowship participation precludes a student from necessary part-time employment.

The project grant cannot be used for tuition or fees.

A key component of the project application is a detailed budget, and selection committees will look to the budget as evidence of serious purpose and planning. We ask that all applicants explain their expenses in the budget portion of the application, and that budget estimates be as accurate as possible.

9.  Does the Dalai Lama fund the program?

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama has authorized Dalai Lama Fellows to award these Fellowships and grants in his name. However, the Dalai Lama does not currently fund our program. Private donors fund the grants as well as the operating costs of the program.

10.  What role does the faculty or community based advisor play?

Fellows are expected to find at least one faculty or community based advisor to mentor their project. An advisor has experience, knowledge and skills relevant to the proposed project and is able and willing to meet regularly with the Fellow.

Applicants may apply with an advisor already named or they can indicate a plan on how they intend to secure one before the Fellowship begins.  Additionally, an applicant may ask the campus champion and selection committee members at their school for assistance in securing an advisor.

In many cases, Fellows have more than one advisor they turn to.

11.  May teams of students apply for the Fellowship?

We are open to having teams apply for the Fellowship, but we also want to ensure an intimate Fellowship cohort to enhance leadership development, coaching and cohesion. Each team may have a maximum of only two members. Team proposals should clearly explain why the project could not be designed and accomplished by just one person.

12.  Are teams eligible for a project grant of a higher amount?

No, a team is still awarded a project grant of up to $10,000.

13.  Do you have examples of past projects?

Yes, please visit our Fellows profiles landing page.

14.  What are the requirements of a Fellow, beyond the project?

Fellows are expected to attend the Ethical Leadership Assembly (ELA) from June 30 – July 7, 2013 and again in June 2014. The 2013 location will be about an hour north of San Francisco, California. Dalai Lama Fellows covers the cost of room and board while there.

During the course of the Fellowship year, Fellows are required to be available for three calls per month.

  • The first is a peer-to-peer call, in which a small group of Fellows discuss their projects and explore the universal human values of the Fellowship.
  • The second is a one-on-one coaching session with a Program Director. This is an opportunity for a deep dive on project-related issues.
  • The third connects Fellows to Seasonal Elders - experts who exemplify contemplative leadership in their approach to addressing pressing global challenges.

These calls may take the form of a conference call or may be done by video call using Skype or Google+ Hangouts.

Fellows are also expected to fully engage with the Heart, Head, and Hands Curriculum, which takes the shape of 10-minute, monthly journaling sessions in response to Workbook prompts, and occasional readings and assignments as needed.

Finally, Fellows are expected to fully engage with the broader Fellowship community via social networks program staff establishes.

Prior to the 2014 ELA, Fellows will complete a short written evaluation of the project, budget expenditures, and next steps.  At the convening, Fellows are expected to report on their project outcomes to the larger community, including Fellows from their own class and the incoming one, program staff, and program funders.

15.  Should the projects be domestic or international?

Projects may be domestic or international. However, we fund  projects where the Fellow can demonstrate some pre-existing network in, and experience with, the community they propose to work with, as well as the ability to engage in a sustained and meaningful way with that community.

Fellows are responsible for ensuring that their proposed project locations do not conflict with their school’s and/or country’s travel restrictions.

16.  May the Fellow do his/her work while participating in study abroad?

Because integrating the Fellowship work into the life of the campus is such a key component of the program, students spending a year abroad during their fellowship year are ineligible to apply. Students who will be studying abroad for only one term, and will be back on the home campus for the other term(s), are eligible. Applicants who will be away one term must clearly explain in their applications how they plan to integrate their project into the life of the campus community within a shorter time frame.

17.  Do you have additional questions not covered here?

For more information on Dalai Lama Fellows, please email info@dalailamafellows.org or call the office at 415-400-8627 between 9 am – 6 pm San Francisco time, Monday through Friday. 

October 2012