AIF Banyan Impact Fellowship
Website: American India Foindation
The AIF Banyan Impact Fellowship is an immersive bi-national volunteer service program with immense strategic importance in the US-India corridor. By facilitating exchange and collaboration between young professionals from India and the US, the program aims to shape the next generation of leaders committed to positive and sustainable change and creating a lasting US-India relationship by broadening the existing constituency of future leaders, civil society and other stakeholders.
Through its emphasis on a service-leadership model, the bilateral program places young professionals from the US and India in service with communities and organizations across the two countries for mutual learning, capacity building, and leadership development in support of social justice. Fellows work on projects closely linked to Sustainable Development Goals and create sustainable impact through service and fieldwork across diverse thematic areas such as education, public health, livelihoods, social inclusion, minority rights, Dalit and tribal rights, climate justice, LGBTQ+ rights, gender, arts, sports, CSR, and many others.
Since 2001, AIF has selected, trained, and supported 512 Fellows and 218 partner organizations across 25 Indian states to scale impact, catalyze change, and build the next generation of socially-minded change makers. As the AIF Fellowship Program, formerly known as the William J. Clinton Fellowship, enters its third decade under a new avatar; ‘The Banyan Impact Fellowship’, we are proud to expand on the growth of the existing version of the program and add to it a new segment.
Starting 2022, in addition to supporting service opportunities for Indians and Americans across Indian civil society organizations, the Fellowship Program will send social change professionals from India to serve across organizations in the US for capacity building and leadership development, thereby furthering the program’s mission of creating lasting ties between India and the US.
- Be a U.S. or Indian citizen, or a U.S. permanent resident;
- Be between the ages of 21 and 34 on September 1st on the year you apply
- Have completed an Bachelor’s degree before the start of the program on September 1st on the year you apply
Note: AIF Banyan Impact Fellowship is open to U.S. Citizens, Indian Citizens, and U.S. Permanent Residents only.
- US Citizen
- Permanent Resident
- International or Other Visa Status
The application is a high competitive, multi-stage process consisting of an online application; a phone conversation, an in-person interview, and a competitive matching process for short-listed candidates.
Please review this video for a step-by-step guide.
The initial online application consists of information about a candidate’s educational and professional background and a series of short essay questions. The essay questions are designed to help us understand the knowledge, skills and qualifications that you would bring to the Fellowship. We also want to get to know you better and to find out what motivates you.
When planning your answers, emphasize your experience and qualifications most relevant to the Fellowship. If you are currently working full-time, you may wish to highlight any relevant professional experience. If you are a recent graduate, you may wish to focus on any relevant academic and volunteer experience. Think broadly about your experience and how it relates to the fellowship. Use examples and avoid generalizations. For each question, be as specific as possible, drawing from your experience.
We seek applicants from a variety of backgrounds, both professionally and personally.
Candidates should demonstrate a deep interest, passion, and commitment to social and economic development in India. Candidates must show humility and an eagerness to learn within a cross-cultural context. Ideal candidates possess strong professional skills, relevant volunteer or other practical experience, and applicable academic credentials or training. They show a potential for leadership and are entrepreneurial, innovative, and creative in finding solutions and navigating unknown environments.
Candidates must be flexible and adaptable, and possess exceptional ability to build meaningful relationships across cultures in the social development space. A sensitivity and ability to work with vulnerable communities, as well as the humility and passion to “learn by doing” is essential.
Although proficiency in an Indian language is not required to apply, it is highly desirable.
Fellows are expected to complete the following during their service in India:
- Meeting or exceeding expectations of the Fellowship, including upholding your commitment to AIF and your host organization
- Participation at Orientation, Midpoint, and Endpoint, and Thematic Conference
- Adherence to the policies and agreements between Fellow, AIF and partner organizations
- Full completion of the Fellowship program
- Timely submission of monthly and quarterly reports and deliverables
- Completion of at least regular posts on the AIF Fellowship blog
- Prompt settlement of finances and logistical items throughout the fellowship
- Completion of end of service documents and presentations
All Fellows are expected to complete the full program, while upholding basic values and principles of trust, honesty, and integrity. Fellows are expected to embrace and engage with multiple challenges, and take a lot of initiative in the structuring and completion of their projects.
Fellows must abide by host organization work calendars and work complete workweeks in accordance with organizational policy and procedure, which commonly involves working Saturdays.
We are happy to provide you with assistance during the application process. If you would like to speak with a staff member in the U.S. or India, please contact us and specify your questions and areas on which you need clarification or support. Due to the volume of application, we ask that you email us your questions first and provide your phone number for follow-up. We aim to respond to your query within 48 hours. Please not that our business hours in the U.S. and India offices are Monday through Friday from 9am-6pm.