Alfa Fellowship Program

Website: Alfa Fellowship Program


The Alfa Fellowship Program is a distinguished international initiative that each year offers up to 18 accomplished young Americans, Britons, and Germans the opportunity to complete a high-level professional development program in Russia. Over the course of the program, fellows complete work placements at leading institutions, attend professional seminars, and receive intensive language training.

The fellowship provides a monthly stipend, accommodation, insurance, all program-related travel costs, language training in Russia, and private tutoring in the U.S., U.K., or Germany.

The Alfa Fellowship Program was founded in 2004 with the aim of fostering a community of emerging leaders who have first-hand experience in the business, public policy, and cultural environments of Russia and the region. Since then, over 180 Americans, Britons, and Germans have been able to work, live, and travel in Russia through this unique professional opportunity.

Key goals of the Alfa Fellowship Program are to expand networks of American, British, German, and Russian professionals, develop greater intercultural understanding, and advance knowledge of Russian affairs in the West.

The program is funded by Alfa-Bank, and is administered in the U.S., U.K., and Germany by Cultural Vistas and in Moscow by the Fund for International Fellowships and Cultural Dialogue.


Participant Profile

  • Fellows have a demonstrated interest in Russian and European and Eurasian affairs, exceptional academic and professional credentials, proven personal initiative, and clear goals and expectations for their professional assignments.
  • Fellows are between the ages of 25 and 35 with graduate degrees and professional experience in business, economics, journalism, law, public policy, or related fields.
  • Fellows possess leadership potential and are active in community or public service.
  • While Russian language skills vary, most fellows have studied Russian for at least two years at the postsecondary level.

Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S., U.K., or German citizen between the ages of 25 and 35 (Russian citizens are ineligible to apply, including individuals who are also citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, or Germany)
  • Bachelor’s degree and 2-3 years of relevant professional experience in business, economics, journalism, law, public policy, or a related field

Desired Qualifications

  • Outstanding professional achievement and academic qualifications
  • Active involvement in community or public service
  • Russian language experience is preferred, however not required, at the time of application. If an applicant does not speak Russian, he or she will need to demonstrate proficiency in another foreign language to qualify for the program
  • Graduate degree in business, economics, journalism, law, public policy, international relations, or a related field
  • Evidence of leadership potential

The Alfa Fellowship Program is a professional-level initiative focused on the fellows’ assignments in Russia. The Alfa Fellowship Program will not sponsor independent or academic research.

Student Type
  • senior
  • graduate
Citizen Type
  • US Citizen
  • Permanent Resident
  • International or Other Visa Status

Apply online at

To be uploaded by the applicant in the “Documents” section:

  • Current resume/CV in English (U.S. or European style).
  • Personal statement
    Two pages maximum, in English; please make sure to include your name on this document. The personal statement should contain very specific information on the applicant’s background, experience, career aspirations, and interest in Russia. It should also include anticipated benefits of participation in the Alfa Fellowship Program for both the applicant and the host institution. It must also include realistic proposals for specific institutions that the applicant believes to be appropriate for his/her professional assignment. For a list of past Alfa fellows’ work placements, please visit the Inside the Fellowship Experience section. Please note that while the personal statement must contain proposals for specific organizations, it is not required to include institutions from this list.
  • Russian writing sample
    One page maximum on a topic of your choice. Please make sure to include your name on this document. Please note: if you have ever studied Russian, you must submit a writing sample in Russian, regardless of your level. If you have never studied Russian, please submit a statement in English detailing other languages in which you are proficient, and when and where you acquired those language skills. Statements in languages other than English or Russian will not be reviewed.

To be submitted either in hard copy or electronically:

  • Official university transcripts from most recent/in progress degree
    Official transcripts must be stamped, signed, and dated by your university’s registrar in order to be accepted. Additionally, in order to be accepted, all transcripts must include an explanation of the grading system used at the academic institution. Digital copies of the official transcript or high-quality color scans of hard copies can be uploaded to the application online (preferred) or sent to by your university registrar. If that is not possible, you can email it to us directly yourself. Please note if you email your transcripts, include your last name, first name and the word, “transcript” in the subject line. Please do not submit copies or scans of your diploma verifying your degree. Instead, we require a transcript that contains a list of courses you completed and grades you received. For German applicants, this is a Zeugnis or a diploma supplement. If you have multiple degrees, especially if they are relevant to your area of expertise/desired field of fellowship, please submit an official, electronic transcript from your most recent/in progress degree and unofficial transcripts for all other degrees.
  • Two letters of recommendation
    At least one from someone who knows you in a professional capacity, ideally a current or former supervisor, either submitted by the recommender via the online system or mailed in a sealed envelope to the Alfa Fellowship Program. Please note: regardless of the method of submission, letters of recommendation must be on letterhead and be hand-signed by the recommender. Additionally, please note that all letters of recommendation must be in English and should be addressed to the Alfa Fellowship Program Selection Committee.

The following documents are optional and can be uploaded online by the applicant in the “Documents” section:

  • Undergraduate transcripts
    If you feel it would be in your favor for the Selection Committee to review your undergraduate transcript, please upload it. Please note: If you do not have a graduate degree, you must submit an official undergraduate transcript following the instructions for graduate transcripts outlined above.
  • Photo
    If you choose to upload a photo, please be sure that it is a professional-looking image that depicts you alone.

Please mail any hard copy materials to the following address:

Alfa Fellowship Program
c/o Cultural Vistas
233 Broadway, Suite 2120
New York, NY 10279

Please do not submit any documents other than those outlined above. Please note that we are unable to return application materials.

Contact Information

Melissa Graves

Program Director
Alfa Fellowship Program


skype: mgraves.culturalvistas


Cultural Vistas
233 Broadway, Suite 2120
New York, NY 10279