Historically, think tanks in Washington have focused on bilateral relations between the US and various countries in the Middle East. With the region becoming an increasingly important and integrated player in Eurasia, however, there is a clear gap in the policy research. MEI’s Frontier Europe Initiative is the only program in Washington that looks at the evolving political, economic, and security relationships between the countries of the Middle East and its northern frontier, i.e. Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. MEI invites candidates to apply for the Frontier Europe Initiative Non-resident Regional Fellowship Program. Join our team of renowned scholars and regional experts as we seek to continue pushing the boundaries within the Middle East policy space.

About the Initiative

The MEI Frontier Europe Initiative was established in November 2019. The program explores the web of relationships between the Middle East and its northeastern frontier through research, conferences, education, and cultural activities. The initiative informs and engages diverse stakeholders — government, industry, media, and the NGO sector — about the linkages between the Middle East, especially the northern tier of Turkey and Iran, and its near neighbors in Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, as well as the evolving connections and shared concerns between the Middle East and this complex region. 

Frontier Europe covers: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

About the Fellowship

For three months, three resident fellows will have the opportunity to work directly with MEI experts and be affiliated with the MEI Frontier Europe Initiative. Starting in September 2020, fellows will conduct research on a proposed topic for final presentation at the MEI Frontier Europe conference. This work will be published under the fellow’s name on the MEI website, as well as distributed through MEI networks. The fellowship provides a unique opportunity for regional experts to engage with scholars based in Washington, D.C., and to showcase their work, amplify their voice, and collaborate with respected experts in the field of international affairs.

The fellowship will provide accommodations, a living stipend, and roundtrip travel to and from Washington, D.C.


  • M.A. degree, Ph.D., or Ph.D. candidate
  • Citizen and current resident of Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, or Ukraine 
  • English fluency in speaking and writing
  • Demonstrated track record of policy research in a think tank, NGO, private sector, or governmental institution (including current employees)


Interested candidates should submit the following application materials:    

  • A one-page cover letter detailing your interest in the fellowship and your qualifications for the role
  • An up-to-date resume
  • A research proposal outlining your potential final report, if chosen for the fellowship (see details below).
  • A substantive writing sample (3-15 pages, preferably) that demonstrates your research capabilities and working knowledge of any given research areas

Research Proposal

As part of their application, interested candidates should write and submit a one- to two-page document outlining their proposed research focus and goals as a fellow with the MEI Frontier Program. The scope of the final research product will be around 2,500-3,000 words. It should be within the scope of the following subject area(s):

  • Black Sea security
  • Black Sea trade
  • Open governance, democracy, and human rights in the Black Sea region
  • Environmental issues on the Black Sea

This proposal will serve as a baseline concept of what researchers will plan to produce, although this can continue to evolve and be subject to change during the fellowship.

Be sure to address the following:

  • The necessity of the proposed research 
  • Proposed research timeline (within the fellowship cycle)

Application must be submitted to fellow@mei.edu with subject : Black Sea Fellowship 
Deadline for applications: April 30, 2020, 5:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time. 
Fellowship dates: September 1 – November 30, 2020.