Summary

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is an independent, nonpartisan, national institution established and funded by the U.S. Congress. The goals of the USIP are to help prevent and resolve violent international conflicts; promote post-conflict stability and development; and to increase conflict management capacity, tools, and intellectual capital worldwide. One way the USIP meets those goals is through the Jennings Randolph Program for International Peace, which awards Senior Fellowships to outstanding scholars, policymakers, journalists, and other professionals from around the world to conduct research at the USIP. The Fellowship Program began in 1987, and 253 Fellowships have been awarded through 2007.

This report presents a preliminary assessment of the Fellowship Program. The committee’s charge was to address the following questions:

  1. What are the characteristics of USIP Senior Fellows and how have those characteristics changed over time?

  2. What issues do Fellows research and how do those issues relate to the mandate of the USIP and to U.S. foreign policy?

  3. How do former Fellows and members of the external peace and security community perceive the program with respect to its:

    1. Impact on the Senior Fellows themselves;

    2. Advancement of the mandate of the USIP; and

    3. Contribution to increased knowledge or awareness of peace and security issues?

The committee collected information on the Fellowship Program from three primary sources: data collected on applicants and Fellows by the USIP, a survey of former Fellows, and a survey of experts in the broader peace and security community. With this information, the committee was able to directly address the first task above. The committee’s ability to respond to the second task was limited. This was partly due to an absence of data and partly to reduced access to USIP experts. In response to the third task, the committee began to survey external experts. Although the survey was limited, it raises several interesting findings. The committee’s findings are based on the data collected for this study in order to address the charge. The committee believes that the report addresses the issues raised in its charge to the level that the resources available permitted.

Key findings were divided into three categories, roughly parallel to the three questions in the committee’s charge. Regarding the first task, and to a lesser extent the second, the data showed that:

  • Each year, USIP selects between 7 and 16 percent (mean of 11 percent) of applicants to become Fellows.

  • Most Fellows and applicants are male and academics. Seventeen percent of Fellows are female (where gender is known). On average, 45 percent were U.S. citizens.

  • Overall, conflict prevention, management, and resolution were the most common topics for Fellow’s research, followed by conflict, political systems, and international organization and law topics.



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Summary The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is an independent, nonpartisan, national institution established and funded by the U.S. Congress. The goals of the USIP are to help prevent and resolve violent international conflicts; promote post-conflict stability and development; and to increase conflict management capacity, tools, and intellectual capital worldwide. One way the USIP meets those goals is through the Jennings Randolph Program for International Peace, which awards Senior Fellowships to outstanding scholars, policymakers, journalists, and other professionals from around the world to conduct research at the USIP. The Fellowship Program began in 1987, and 253 Fellowships have been awarded through 2007. This report presents a preliminary assessment of the Fellowship Program. The committee’s charge was to address the following questions: 1. What are the characteristics of USIP Senior Fellows and how have those characteristics changed over time? 2. What issues do Fellows research and how do those issues relate to the mandate of the USIP and to U.S. foreign policy? 3. How do former Fellows and members of the external peace and security community perceive the program with respect to its: a. Impact on the Senior Fellows themselves; b. Advancement of the mandate of the USIP; and c. Contribution to increased knowledge or awareness of peace and security issues? The committee collected information on the Fellowship Program from three primary sources: data collected on applicants and Fellows by the USIP, a survey of former Fellows, and a survey of experts in the broader peace and security community. With this information, the committee was able to directly address the first task above. The committee’s ability to respond to the second task was limited. This was partly due to an absence of data and partly to reduced access to USIP experts. In response to the third task, the committee began to survey external experts. Although the survey was limited, it raises several interesting findings. The committee’s findings are based on the data collected for this study in order to address the charge. The committee believes that the report addresses the issues raised in its charge to the level that the resources available permitted. Key findings were divided into three categories, roughly parallel to the three questions in the committee’s charge. Regarding the first task, and to a lesser extent the second, the data showed that: • Each year, USIP selects between 7 and 16 percent (mean of 11 percent) of applicants to become Fellows. • Most Fellows and applicants are male and academics. Seventeen percent of Fellows are female (where gender is known). On average, 45 percent were U.S. citizens. • Overall, conflict prevention, management, and resolution were the most common topics for Fellow’s research, followed by conflict, political systems, and international organization and law topics. 1

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• In terms of geographical focus, many Fellows’ work fit into the “global” category. Focus on Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union seemed to peak from 1994 to 2000. The Middle East and North Africa foci were popular from 1997 to 2001, and from 2003 to 2007 (in particular most of the 2007 Fellows were working on this region). Research on sub-Saharan Africa ranked fourth among the areas of geographic focus for Fellows’ research Additional data and further information about these trends over time are presented in Chapter 2. Regarding the third task, and based on the survey of Fellows: • A challenge for monitoring and evaluation is that a number of Fellows could not be located. • Fellows gave the program high marks. • Fellows are very active in conducting research and disseminating information to multiple stakeholders. USIP receives substantial benefit from the Fellows’ residencies in Washington, DC. • Fellows have many opportunities to network with others and are generally satisfied with the amount of opportunities. • Fellows tend to remain in contact with USIP and participate in USIP activities after the Fellowship ends. • Most Fellows reported ten months to be an appropriate duration for the Fellowship, although some thought that the Fellowship should be longer. • Finally, Fellows are not certain how well known the Fellowship is, though they think the Fellowship is prestigious. Finally, regarding the third task and to a lesser extent, the second, the preliminary survey of experts found: • A wide majority of respondents (79 percent) had some familiarity with the USIP Fellowship Program. More than two-thirds of respondents knew one or more fellows. • External commentators gave the Fellowship relatively high marks for prestige. Forty-three percent of respondents rated the program at least a 4 on a scale of 1 to 5. • Respondents reported that the Fellowship was seen to be more important by the experts as a networking opportunity and a means to increase knowledge. There was less agreement on its importance in developing new tools to respond to conflict. • The Fellows’ role was seen by respondents as somewhat more important in supporting policymakers by providing information than in performing cutting edge research. • Finally, while respondents were familiar with the program and many knew a Fellow, a majority had not recommended to anyone that s/he apply for the Fellowship. Since this is the first, formal evaluation of the Fellowship Program, the committee placed significant emphasis on providing advice to USIP—in the form of recommendations—for next steps to remove the limitations on information about some aspects of the Fellowship and to advance monitoring and evaluation by the USIP. The recommendations are contained in the final chapter of the report, along with more 2

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detailed information about the some of the recommendations as well as supporting material where further explanation may help to clarify the committee’s proposals. Gathering Additional Data USIP has accumulated a substantial amount of information about applicants and Fellows, but the committee also encountered some significant limitations. The spreadsheet created by USIP (data categories are presented in Table 1-2) is a useful tool for collecting and organizing data on the applicants and Fellows. The committee recommends that: • USIP continue to collect the data for new applicants and fellows. • USIP contact fellows to collect data currently missing from the spreadsheet. • USIP collect new data to facilitate a better description of applicants and fellows. In particular, USIP could include a longer project description in the spreadsheet and could identify fellows as to whether they consider themselves to be scholars or practitioners. Understanding How Fellows’ Research Advances USIP and U.S. Foreign Policy Goals For a number of reasons discussed in the report, the committee was not able to make much progress in meeting this part of its charge beyond presenting a basic overview of Fellows’ research. To complete the second part of the committee’s charge and to better interpret the findings above, the committee recommends the following strategy: • USIP should conduct interviews or expert panels with former and current staff and board members to trace and assess the evolution of USIP’s goals with respect both to the Fellowship program and the USIP mandate. • USIP may wish to take a similar approach and collect information from external actors (e.g., government officials, academic experts, etc.). Although, ultimately, the program should be evaluated based on USIP’s rationale, it would nevertheless be interesting to see how these actors judged the purpose of the fellowship. (A start at this approach is that both the survey of Fellows and the survey of peace and security experts included questions on this, as presented in Chapters 3 and 4.) • USIP should take steps to identify U.S. foreign policy goals to see how the working of the program relates to broader U.S. foreign policy goals. The committee suggests that a strategy for accomplishing this would involve identifying important foreign policy challenges or goals and examining which of those areas Fellows are researching—both before and after these challenges or goals are identified by policymakers and other “thought leaders.” This would enable USIP to begin to examine whether the research done under its aegis lags or leads larger policy issues. • The survey findings also raise an issue about the purpose of the fellowship that could be further explored. Specifically, USIP should investigate whether to seek Fellows to advance thinking and offer more cutting-edge thinking in targeted areas, or focus on the application of such thinking to USIP priority issues. 3

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Making Monitoring and Evaluation a Regular Part of the Fellowship The committee feels strongly that USIP should undertake more rigorous and systematic monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the Fellowship in the future. There are a number of approaches that USIP could take to develop a useful M&E strategy: • Conduct an evaluation midway through the Fellowship to assess the match between resources and the Fellow’s productivity, and to ascertain whether flexibility in timing and travel is needed. • Hold an exit interview with all Fellows at the conclusion of the Fellowship. An interview could focus on such topics as: 1. identify the various activities that Fellows pursued and how much time they spent on them. 2. a list of Fellows’ output, in particular asking what the Fellows believe to be their most important work. This could be done by collecting Fellow’s CVs. • Conduct an impact assessment of Fellows’ work, completed during their Fellowship period. Ideally, such an approach would consist of (1) identifying all the products a Fellow produced during or directly related to the Fellowship, and (2) quantifying the impact of those works. Conduct an impact assessment of the Fellowship on Fellows’ careers. Once an initial assessment was undertaken, the process could be updated on a periodic basis. The committee suggests a number of possible directions that USIP might pursue. Understanding External Perceptions of the Fellowship The committee also makes several recommendations intended to help USIP gain further knowledge about the perceptions of the Fellowships in the wider expert community. • USIP should continue to probe the external peace and security community about their perceptions of the program’s impact. Information collected can assist USIP in reaching out to a broader audience, better tailoring its message, and improving competition for the fellowship by increasing the number of qualified applicants. 1. Information collected should include topics from the survey of experts, as well as additional topics. 2. Information should be collected from a broad range of experts, including academics, nongovernmental/nonprofit organization employees, and government employees. • USIP should consider mixed modes to collect the data, reflecting the challenges of tapping different types of respondents’ views. • USIP’s future research on the views of the expert community should seek more in- depth commentary on the impact of the program. Improving the Fellowship Experience Based on the survey results, the Committee recommends certain steps be considered to improve the Fellowship: • Explore setting up an alumni network for former Fellows. Such a network could take advantage of the current USIP website or involve a new product, 4

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for example by tapping a social network site. One way to facilitate a network would be to hold a meeting of Fellows designed to build such a network. • Consider establishing support from businesses or associations in the community to help fellows and families cope with expenses of life in the D.C. area. • Consider the potential for and ramifications of allowing for extensions of time to the Fellowship in individual cases. Some fellows and USIP may benefit greatly from having individual fellowships extended for a few months. In addition, USIP might want to consider greater flexibility in travel and support options for research outside DC, especially internationally, during the Fellowship. 5

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