• Applied Research Center
Charles and Kathleen Manatt Democracy Studies Fellowship Program


The American Midwest is a region that has played a key role in democratic elections in the United States. It continues to send promising leaders and ideas to Washington, D.C., vitally contributing to political life. To build on this tradition, Charles T. Manatt – native Iowan, former Chairman of the Democratic Party and U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic  (1999-2001) – and his wife Kathleen, also an Iowan, founded the Manatt Democracy Fellowship in 1998. The Manatt Fellowship nurtures talent in democracy-building among graduate students pursuing a degree in the Midwest.


Manatt Fellows have found this experience to be an integral boost to their careers. Previous fellows have gone on to manage programs at the National Democratic Institute, consult on election programs in Pakistan for the Asia Foundation and work with IFES on gender and election violence. 


Hosted by IFES, Manatt Fellows carry out research at the organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., for a period of four to six weeks.




The Manatt Fellowship consists of a $5,000 stipend to subsidize fellows’ living expenses while in D.C. Fellows typically receive $2,000 upon the start of the fellowship, $2,000 midway through and $1,000 after completing their research.  


The Manatt Fellowship is available for U.S. or international graduate students attending universities in the following Midwestern states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin.


In previous years, IFES hosted fellows exclusively during the summer months. To accommodate graduate students’ diverse schedules, the fellowship is now offered on a rolling basis between April 1 and December 1, 2015. 


Eligibility for Manatt Fellowship


  • Applicants must be a U.S. or international student studying at a U.S. university in one of the states listed above.

  • Applicants should be graduate students in either master’s or doctorate programs who have not yet completed their degrees.

  • Applicants should be pursuing degrees in international relations, political science, public administration or related areas.  


    How to Apply


  • IFES is now accepting applications for the 2015 Manatt Fellowships. To apply, students should download and fill out an application form here and send to IFES.

    Completed applications must be e-mailed or postmarked no later than April 1, 2015, and must contain the following:

  • A completed application form

  • Your curriculum vitae

  • An unpublished academic writing sample of up to 10 pages in length (may be an excerpt)

  • Your current graduate transcript (if first semester, please include previous transcript)

  • Two letters of recommendation: One from a faculty member familiar with your work and one from another source (e.g., employer, adviser, etc.)



    Click here to view and share The Charles and Kathleen Manatt Fellowship flyer.

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    Division In Brief

    IFES’ F. Clifton White Applied Research Center for Democracy and Elections (ARC) generates innovative applied research to enhance the practice of democracy-building and to bolster the development of democratic and participatory institutions, processes and culture. Through its research and outreach activities, ARC seeks to bridge the gap between theories of democratic development and practical realities of democracy-building in order to enrich democracy programming.


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