The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship Program is a program funded by the U.S. Department of State, administered by Howard University, that attracts and prepares outstanding young people for Foreign Service careers in the U.S. Department of State. It welcomes the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the State Department, women, and those with financial need. Based on the fundamental principle that diversity is a strength in our diplomatic efforts, the program values varied backgrounds, including ethnic, racial, social, and geographic diversity.
The Pickering Fellowship offers a unique opportunity to promote positive change in the world. Upon successful completion of a two-year master’s degree program and fulfillment of Foreign Service entry requirements, fellows have the opportunity to work as Foreign Service Officers in accordance with applicable law and State Department policy, serving in Washington, DC and at a U.S. embassy, consulate, or diplomatic mission around the globe. Fellows also agree to a minimum five-year service commitment in the Department of State’s Foreign Service. The five-year service commitment begins upon entry into the Foreign Service.
The Pickering Program has made, and continues to make, an important contribution to the diversity of the State Department Foreign Service. Fellows currently represent the United States in countries around the world, in areas as diverse as Africa, East Asia, Latin America, South Asia, Europe and Eurasia. They are promoting human rights, assisting American citizens overseas, enhancing prosperity and development, deepening ties between the United States and people around the world, and supporting U.S. global values and interests in many different ways. 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the Pickering Program, and we are proud of the accomplishments of our fellows and their contributions to the U.S. Department of State.
The Program provides graduate fellowships to qualified college seniors and college graduates committed to joining the Foreign Service. The fellowship helps finance two-year graduate programs, provides two summer internships, offers mentoring from a Foreign Service Officer, and provides other professional development activities. The program continues to ensure that the Foreign Service reflects the face of America to foreign audiences and provides a source of trained women and men who are dedicated to pursuing Foreign Service careers with the Department of State and representing America’s interests abroad.