Spring 2017 Fellows
Spring 2017 Fellows

The ADA International Fellowship Program supports 20 mid-career professionals (Fellows) from Brazil, Kenya, Peru, and Tanzania, selected through a competitive process, to participate in a five-week intensive fellowship program at a university-based research and education center for disabilities in the United States. 


Professional Fellows will learn about best practices in inclusive education in the U.S. and then apply what they learned in an individualized inclusive education project or initiative that they will implement upon return to their home countries. The goal of Fellows’ projects and initiatives is to improve educational access and opportunities for persons with disabilities. Through this effort, the program aims to build disability leadership capacity in inclusive education in these countries.

The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI).

ADA International Fellows listen to Elise Wilson, Project Officer at the U.S. Department of State
ADA International Fellows listen to Elise Wilson, Project Officer at the U.S. Department of State

Who can participate?

The ADA International Fellowship Program is intended for current and potential leaders or advocates in the government, civil society, or the private sector who are committed to serving persons with disabilities.

The program specifically targets individuals between the ages of 25 and 45 who are teachers, education administrators, policymakers, representatives of parent associations, or other stakeholders in education for people with disabilities in Brazil, Kenya, Peru, and Tanzania.

Individuals from diverse backgrounds, including people with disabilities, are encouraged to apply. Reasonable accommodations, including materials in alternative formats (e.g. Braille, electronic, large print), are provided upon request.

For more information about the eligibility criteria, please visit Am I Eligible?

How will participants and their institutions benefit?

Fellows in this program will learn approaches that can inform their efforts to strengthen education access for people with disabilities in their home countries. They will also form connections with mentors at the university centers that serve as their host sites, and will plan an inclusive education project that they will implement in their home countries with support from their host mentors.

When and where will the training take place, and what are the key program activities?  

Fellows will participate in one of two cohorts scheduled for mid-April through May and October through mid-November 2017 (see Program Schedule below).

The core of the program is a Leadership Institute, likely with a university-based research and education center for disabilities in the U.S. that will address a key policy or practice issue related to disability and education in the Fellow’s country or local community. The Leadership Institute will be complemented with weekly leadership seminars, mentorship, and community service.

Key program activities include:

  1. An orientation to the program and life in the U.S. Fellows will learn about the U.S. disability movement and disability rights, with a focus on inclusive education.
  1. A Professional Fellows Congress which will provide an opportunity to meet with hundreds of other Professional Fellows from many countries who are participating in other exchange programs. During the Congress, Fellows will have the opportunity to engage in discussions and professional trainings designed to support the further development of projects at home.
  1. A Leadership Institute at a host site in the U.S., likely a university-based research and education center at which Fellows will work alongside experts, and study policies and practices in inclusive education. Fellows will be placed with a host whose expertise best matches their individual professional goals.
  1. Weekly group seminars in which Fellows will discuss their host site placement, share experiences, and learn about leadership and inclusive education with mentors and peers. These seminars will be coordinated by the program (AUCD & ICI),
  1. An individualized inclusive education project that is developed with support from host mentors and implemented upon the Fellow’s return home. Project implementation may include an onsite work trip by a host site mentor who will provide support.
  1. Ongoing access to alumni from other Fellows programs funded by the U.S. Department of State, which will provide opportunities to share information and experiences, and seek peer support and mentoring.

As part of the internship, Fellows will work with their host on devising a follow-on plan that might include a work visit by a host staff member to the Fellow’s country, intended to facilitate sustainability and longer-term impact of the Fellow’s internship project. Approximately 6 hosts will be funded to travel to a Fellow’s community to assist in implementing the project at home.

Program Schedule


Spring 2017 Program Fall 2017 Program
Overall training duration April 26 – December 5

(April 26 – June 3 in U.S.)

October 11 – April 20, 2018

(October 11 – November 18 in U.S.)

Travel to Washington, D.C., U.S. April 26-27 October 11-12
Orientation in Washington D.C. April 28 October 13
Travel to host site April 29 October 14
Leadership Institute May 1 – May 24 October 16 – November 10
Travel to Washington, D.C. May 25 November 12
Award Ceremony May 26 November 13
Professional Fellows Congress May 29 – June 2 November 14 – November 18
Travel home June 3 November 19
Implementation of follow-along projects June 5 – December 5, 2017 November 21, 2017 – April 21, 2018
Visit of host site mentors to selected fellows’ home countries June 2017 December 2017

What does the Fellowship cover?

Fellows receive funding for their Fellowship-related travel to and within the U.S., accommodations in the U.S., and more including:

  • Visa
  • Round trip travel between home country and U.S.
  • Accident and health insurance for the duration of the Fellowship in the U.S.
  • Living allowance (or equivalent supports) to cover costs of meals, housing and incidental expenses (these funds, or some portion of them, can go directly to hosts if needed)
  • Disability related accommodations, if needed

For more information about the program or if you have questions, please contact ADAFellowship@aucd.org.