Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Fellowship

DEADLINE:
Applications due: Tuesday, October 11, 2022 at 11:59pm via CARAT

BRIEF DESCRIPTION:
The Rockefeller Fellowship affords an opportunity that requires tremendous personal resources. Recipients must be able to immerse themselves in a foreign culture, perhaps traveling and living in remote areas of the world. The fellowship, therefore, is for people who are self-reliant, interested in the larger issues of the day, and above all, filled with a spirit of adventure--the fellowship is meant to encourage exploration and adventure as a means of personal growth.

GENERAL INFORMATION:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Fellowship, a post-graduate, year-long experience, was founded in 1965 by the family and close friends of Michael Rockefeller ’60, who died during an expedition to study a remote agricultural community in New Guinea. Michael had a zest for exploration—for new ideas, places, and people. His sense of adventure, combined with his sensitivity and goodwill made him an extraordinary friend to many. It was a natural choice to keep his memory alive through a fellowship that would affirm these same qualities in other young men and women. The Fellowship would enable them to seek, as Michael did, a deeper understanding of our common human experience and their part in it, through the respectful exploration of a different culture.

Over the past years, over 200 Rockefeller Fellows have traversed the globe and encountered the wonder and challenge of living and participating in communities very different from those they have known. In so doing, they have carried out the intention of the Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Fellowship to provide a year of purposeful postgraduate immersion in a foreign culture for individuals at critical stages in their development who feel a compelling need for new and broadening experiences.

FROM THE ORIGINAL DONORS’ STATEMENT OF INTENT:
"The primary purpose of the Fellowship is the development of an individual’s understanding of himself and his world through involvement with people of a culture not his own. It is intended that the holder of the Fellowship will use it to heighten his awareness of and sensitivity to the people of such a culture and will thereby broaden and deepen the reach of his mind and further discover and clarify the purpose for his life. His involvement with the people in the culture of his choice should be through travel, study, field work, and adventure.

"The main portion of the individual’s time should be spent in more intensive and more personal involvement with the people of the culture in which he is traveling or residing than normal tourist travel would entail. Also, as a general rule, the year’s experience should not be primarily one of academic study in an academic environment. Scholarly study should not be pursued at or in a university or college unless it is clearly preparatory or supplementary to a major activity.
    
"The year provided by the Fellowship should not be spent in the practice or furtherance of a professional career or deliberately used to begin work that the individual intends to make a lifetime work. The year should be planned with the idea of exploration, challenge, and new discovery.
    
"In the course of his travel and work, each individual should engage in serious reflection upon his experiences, and it is hoped that he will become involved in a critical study of some aspect of the culture in which he is living."

Eligibility:
Applicants must be graduating Harvard College seniors of any nationality.

Benefits:
The stipend is set annually by the Michael C. Rockefeller Administrative Board, which currently offers five or more individual awards of $25,000 each year. Fellows who marry before or during the term abroad will forfeit the fellowship.

Selection Criteria:
The fellowship is largely concerned with character. While specific plans for using the fellowship are important—a well-prepared, feasible plan must be presented in the application—they are not the mainstay of the fellowship. The Board’s search is not just for interesting sets of plans or proposals, but for interesting people ready to face new challenges.

The establishment of this Fellowship is inspired by the spirit and quality of Michael C. Rockefeller’s life, and particularly the purpose and meaningfulness of his travel, study, and adventure among the people of New Guinea. Therefore, the guiding purpose of the Fellowship program is to make possible a year of equally significant experience for young men and women like Michael, who, as he did, confront a critical stage in the development of their thinking, character, and commitments, and feel the need for further new and broadening experiences before turning to a regular job or profession.

Recent Rockefeller Fellowship proposals have included:

  • Travel to southern France to live among Arab, Jewish, and North African immigrant communities in order to explore personal immigrant experiences in greater depth
  • Explore community-building through yoga in Costa Rica
  • Apprentice with devotional artists in a remote village in India, where religious icons are made in traditional forms, as an antidote to the materialism of the Western art world
  • Travel to South Africa to spend time with Buddhist communities there in order to learn to value healing over wealth

The Rockefeller Fellowship affords an opportunity that requires tremendous personal resources. Recipients must be able to immerse themselves in a foreign culture, perhaps traveling and living in remote areas of the world. The fellowship, therefore, is for people who are self-reliant, interested in the larger issues of the day, and above all, filled with a spirit of adventure--the fellowship is meant to encourage exploration and adventure as a means of personal growth.
 

  • Applications due: Tuesday, October 11, 2022 at 11:59pm via CARAT
  • Selection Committee interviews: early December

Download URAF Applications