The newly-established Program on Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli Affairs at the Middle East Institute is a unique research initiative that focuses on the full range of internal and external developments and challenges confronting Palestine and the Palestinian people. As an integral part of the Program, a graduate fellow will have the opportunity to collaborate with MEI’s resident and nonresident experts on unique research contributing to MEI’s overall goal of working for a peaceful, prosperous, and well-governed Middle East.

About the Program

The MEI Palestine Program was established in January 2020 and is headed by Senior Fellow and Director Khaled Elgindy. It is supervised by Ambassador Gerald Feierstein, senior Vice President at MEI and a former diplomat with a distinguished 41-year career in Middle East policy. The Program is also supported by a group of nonresident fellows who are experts on both Palestinian/Israeli issues and Middle East affairs. 

The Program focuses on three overarching (and interconnected) areas:

  • Palestinian-Israeli conflict: this includes the range of political, military, economic and other drivers of the conflict, as well as potential diplomatic initiatives aimed at resolving or managing the conflict, including the role of the United States, regional and other stakeholders, and the broader international community.

  • Intra-Palestinian dynamics: this includes the range of domestic social, economic, and political challenges facing Palestinians, developments within and between the various political factions, both inside and outside of Palestine, and the future of the Palestinian national movement more broadly.

  • American-Palestinian relations: this includes the range of bilateral and other relations at the official, economic, and civil society levels.

The primary focus of MEI’s Palestine Program is to contribute to a well-informed policy debate on matters related to the Palestine/Israel conflict and U.S.-Palestinian relations by producing timely, fact-based, and policy-relevant research and analysis in the form of short and long form publications, podcast episodes, videos, and other content. In doing so, the Program also seeks to promote the inclusion and amplification of new voices and diverse perspectives in that policy debate. 

About the Fellowship

The fellowship is made possible through a grant by the Foundation for Middle East Peace. 

Graduate fellows will be affiliated with the MEI Palestine Program for a period of 8½ -9 months, more or less corresponding to the academic year (Fall and Spring semesters). The specific start and end dates of the fellowship will be determined in coordination with the Program Director. Prior to the start of their work, fellows will write a proposal detailing their research interest areas, and work with Program staff to determine a specific publication schedule. This could include a series of short-form articles on various topics, a single, substantive policy paper on a larger issue question, multimedia materials such as podcast episodes or video content, or some combination of these. 

Researchers will have an opportunity to publish original research under their own names on the MEI website and affiliated newsletters, and possibly outside publications, and to distribute and promote their work through MEI’s network. They will be expected to participate in weekly meetings with MEI Program staff on the progress and direction of their research. As such, the fellowship represents a valuable opportunity for emerging scholars to amplify their work and collaborate with respected experts in international affairs and the Middle East.

Fellows will be expected to work 20 hours per week for the duration of the fellowship, for which they will receive a stipend of $5,040 per semester ($10,080 total for the academic year). In addition to pursuing their own research agenda, the Fellow will also provide research and administrative support for the Program Director as well as for the MEI-FMEP partnership.

Eligibility

Graduate fellows should be a current graduate student in a master’s or PhD program in international affairs, political science, economics, Middle East/Arab studies, or related discipline, or a recent graduate from a four-year undergraduate or graduate program with equivalent experience. (Non-citizens and non-residents of the US who hold an F-1 visa are eligible to apply.) Fellows may be based in-house at MEI’s offices in Washington, D.C., or with the approval of the Program Director (and as COVID restrictions would allow) may work remotely/virtually from a location of their choosing. They should have substantial research or study experience relating to Middle East affairs, as well as demonstrated interest in one or more of the three research areas covered by the MEI Palestine Program: (a) Palestinian-Israeli relations; (b) intra-Palestinian dynamics; and (c) U.S.-Palestinian relations. Fellows will be expected to have excellent research and writing skills, to be able to work independently. Arabic language skills, while not a requirement, are a plus.

Research Proposal

As part of their application, interested candidates should write and submit a formal research proposal outlining their proposed research agenda and their goals as a graduate fellow with the MEI Palestine Program. The research proposal should touch on one or more of the Palestine Program’s three focus areas: Palestinian-Israeli relations; Intra-Palestinian dynamics; and U.S.-Palestinian relations. This proposal will serve as a baseline reference of what the Research Fellow plans to produce, which may (and likely will) continue to evolve over the course of the fellowship. 

  • The proposal should include a clear description of the proposed research (~300-500 words), including the topic (which may also be phrased in the form of a research question), why it is important, and the type(s) of research that it is likely to entail (eg, written publications, archival materials, interviews, audio/video resources, etc.).

  • The type and length of research produced during the course of the fellowship will be determined in consultation with the Program Director and may include the following options (or some combination thereof):

    • Three to six short-form analysis pieces (~800 – 1,200 words)
    • Two to three medium-length analysis pieces (~1,500 – 3,000 words)
    • One long-form policy paper (~5,000 – 10,000 words)
    • Podcast/video content (1-2 original videos or podcast episodes)

Application

To be considered, applications should be submitted no later than July 17, 2020. Interested candidates should submit the following application materials:

  • A one-page cover letter detailing the applicant’s interest in the fellowship and qualifications for the role;
  • An up-to-date resumé or CV;
  • A substantive writing sample (ideally no fewer than 1,000 words and no more than 5,000 words) that demonstrates the applicant’s research capabilities and working knowledge of Middle East affairs and/or U.S. foreign policy.
  • An original research proposal (~300-500 words in length, as detailed above). 

Application materials should be submitted via email to palestine@mei.edu. (In the subject line, please type “Graduate Fellowship” followed by the applicant’s name.)