Chatham House is pleased to invite applicants for the Academy Asfari Fellowship in the Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs.



The fellowship is open to citizens of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine or Syria, and displaced citizens of these countries living elsewhere in the Middle East. 

Applications will also be accepted from applicants holding dual nationality which includes one of these countries. 


It is required that the applicant holds a completed BA degree or equivalent, Masters degree with an international focus is preferred.


The fellowship is aimed at candidates at the mid-stage of their career and who come from academia, NGOs, business, government departments, civil society or the media. They should possess knowledge of, and an interest in, one of the policy-related challenges laid out in the research topics in ‘Research Topics.’

The 2017 call for applications has ended. The next call for applications will open in spring 2018. 

The fellow will receive a monthly stipend of £2,160.  Modest provision is made for the costs of relocation, fieldwork, and possible publication costs.

A fellow’s time will be split between three key areas: 

  • Completing a personal research project of the fellow's own design undertaken with the guidance of a Chatham House expert, (approximately 50%).
  • Contributing to the ongoing research activities of their host research team and other Chatham House teams as appropriate (approximately 20%).
  • Participation in the Academy’s Leadership Programme (approximately 30%). The Leadership Programme is a key part of the Academy fellowships. It provides fellows with the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills, network and self-awareness, which they can then draw upon in their future careers as effective leaders in their field. 

Leadership Programme

All Academy fellows participate in, and contribute to, the Academy’s Leadership Programme which encompasses the following components:

  • Intensive induction week
    Academy fellowships begin with an intensive five-day induction week at Chatham House to become familiarized with the elements of the fellowships and the Leadership Programme, meet their host research programme, and have their first personal development coaching session.
  • Weekly discussion seminars
    These sessions highlight the principal substantive and skills-based areas the Academy believes vital for informed and effective international leadership. Fellows are expected to contribute to and learn from one another’s experience.
  • Global Introductions off-site visits
    These half-day visits take place approximately every two months and allow fellows to meet with leaders and senior decision-makers from a variety of sectors. Previous visits have included the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development, Standard Chartered, and Thomson Reuters.
  • Leadership workshops
    Every two months fellows participate in half-day workshops focusing on specific aspects of leadership such as ‘Leadership in a new role’ and ‘Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship’
  • Project presentations
    Fellows present updates on their research projects which  help fellow develop presentation skills, provide a valuable forum for peer-review and to think about and analyse issues outside their own area of expertise.
  • Personal development coaching
    Fellows join the Academy seeking to grow their self-awareness through monthly one-on-one sessions with a dedicated coach, with whom they set personal development objectives which they work to meet during their fellowship and beyond.
  • Media training
    Fellows learn how to interview effectively on television and radio, culminating in a mock interview from which they receive feedback on their presentation style and any areas of improvement
  • ‘Leaders Who Lunch’
    Academy fellows will have priority in participating in the ‘Leaders Who Lunch’ series giving them the opportunity to discuss leadership experiences and lessons in an informal setting with acknowledged leaders from government, business, media and the non-profit sectors.
  • Career mentors
    Fellows have the option to have an external career mentor during their fellowship. Mentors are independent of the Academy and Chatham House and are picked individually for each fellow based on their career objectives.

The fellowship is for a 10-month term from mid-September 2017 to mid-July 2018.

The fellow will be based full-time at Chatham House, London.

Fellows are hosted by and based in research teams at Chatham House. During the fellowship, the fellow will conduct a research project of their own design which falls within the research topics below.

The parameters for the research topics have been designed in broad terms to allow applicants to devise a project that appeals to their own research interests.

Research proposals which are framed both in terms of a research topic below and the interests and priorities of the Asfari Foundation are particularly encouraged.

Below are the research topics from 2017-18 but please note these are likely to change for the 2018-19 fellowships.

Research topics with the International Security Department

Cyber security in the Middle East
The research will be aimed at informing policymakers of improved approaches to cyber security in the Middle East. This project is based on the need for a multi-faceted approach to combating cyber-crime, providing effective measures against criminal activities to reduce harms, whilst promoting enabled gains and dividends through an improved digital economy to encourage users to better manage their cyber hygiene. This project will aim to build an evidence base of research on the extent, trends and causes and contributing factors to cyber vulnerabilities of the digital economy in the Middle East, and proposals may also look at civil society activism in regard to cyber security.

More information about the work of the International Security Department and the context for this research topic, please click here.

Research topics with the Middle East and North Africa Programme

Cross-border dynamics and transnational movements
From the war economy to smuggling to the operation of extremist groups, borders in the Middle East and North Africa region have become increasingly porous, creating zones of limited governance. Proposals might touch upon the role of civil society within war economies or in providing resistance to terror groups.

The deep state in conflict regions and its implications for post-war reconstruction
Including the deep state’s interactions with international development agencies and the UN. Proposals may also address stabilisation, recovery and normalisation of areas formerly controlled by ISIS, such as restoration of security and the delivery of services, the return of displaced people and local reconciliation among communities and civil society, particularly from a comparative perspective.

Prospects for non-state actors in the Middle East
With the rise of armed groups and other non-state actors, the social contract in the region is changing. Proposals may address how civil society is advancing positive changes to the social contract, what the long-term prospects are for non-state actors, and their impact on the state and society.

For more information about the work of the Middle East and North Africa Programme and the context for these research topics, please click here.

Research topics with the Centre on Global Health Security

Regional responses to violence against healthcare in conflict
The Centre on Global Health Security is beginning a new stream of work around medical neutrality, part of the programme’s existing umbrella theme - health and conflict. The Academy Asfari fellow would contribute towards much needed understanding about the challenges surrounding the protection of health workers and health infrastructure during conflict, in the Middle East and beyond. This fellowship will take forward recommendations of a recently commissioned report that demonstrates how the current understanding and analysis of attacks against health in conflict is skewed by ‘Western’ (and English language) bias. The Asfari fellow would make an important contribution to engaging better with regional stakeholders and perspectives.

For more information about the work of the Centre on Global Health Security and the context for this research topic, please click here.

Research topics with the Energy, Environment and Resources Department

Access to sustainable energy – governance, incentives and capacities needed to achieve it
SDG 7 commits the world to achieving 'affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all' by 2030.  International donors have enthusiastically embraced this agenda with high-profile schemes such as ‘Energy Africa’ and ‘Power Africa’. Yet although the focus is on growth and increased supply, sustainable energy access means not only installing greater capacity, but also creating the supply chains, market mechanisms and governance regimes to ensure that this supply delivers what is intended. Linked to our innovative work on improving energy for displaced people, the Energy, Environment and Resources Department is seeking research proposals (either at the national or regional level) that identify and help enable sustainable energy access goals – both in terms of business models, and the governance and policy changes that would be needed to support them.  

For more information about the work of the Energy, Environment and Resources Department and the context for this research topic, please click here.

Should you have any further queries please contact us at [email protected].

The Asfari Fellowship is a joint initiative between Chatham House and the Asfari Foundation