The William C. Foster Fellows Visiting Scholars Program was established by Congress in 1983, and over 60 scholars have served at the Department of State since the program’s inception. The program is named in honor of William C. Foster, the first director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, who served from 1961 to 1969.
By law, specialists in the physical sciences and other disciplines are afforded an opportunity for active participation in the arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament activities of the Department of State. This also allows the Department the opportunity to gain the perspective and expertise such persons can offer. Appointments are made for a full year in the Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance (AVC) Bureau, the International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) Bureau, or the Political-Military Affairs (PM) Bureau.
Applications are not being accepted this year.
Foster Fellows Alumni Group
To promote communication with and among former fellows and to leverage the unique experiences that former fellows acquired through the program, the Department of State has begun organizing an alumni group composed of former Foster Fellows. In 2014, the Foster Fellows Program expanded its efforts in developing new programs and activities for the Foster Fellows Alumni Group. Possible activities conducted through the Alumni Group include the Foster Fellows Lecture Series, through which former and current fellows will have the opportunity to present their latest research and work to different bureaus and offices within Department of State; a newsletter serving as a liaison among former fellows, current fellows, and State Department members of the T Bureaus; and a reunion of former fellows or an academic conference for former and current Foster Fellows to present their latest work on issues related to arms control.
If you are a former Foster Fellow and are interested in joining the Foster Fellows Alumni Group, or in any of the activities listed above, please email FosterFellows@state.gov.
The Foster Fellows program affords tenured and tenure-track academic faculty the unique opportunity to bring their research and expertise to the Department of State to assist in policy and programmatic development in arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament activities. Fellows are assigned to one of the three bureaus under the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security—Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance (AVC) Bureau, the International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) Bureau, or the Political-Military Affairs (PM) Bureau. The Department brings on up to three Foster Fellows each academic year for placement in one of these bureaus. The Department has high regard for Foster Fellows, and truly values the contributions and fresh perspectives that Fellows bring from academia. Upon appointment, each Fellow will create a Plan of Action with his or her supervisor to map out the responsibilities and goals of his or her yearlong tenure. Fellows will also be afforded opportunities for training, attending events featuring prominent Department officials, and networking with other Foster Fellows, alumni, and fellows in different programs throughout the Department.
The Foster Fellows Program was first authorized by Section 202 of the Arms Control and Disarmament Act of 1983. The statutory language is contained in 22 U.S.C. § 2568: A program for visiting scholars in the fields of arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament shall be established by the Secretary of State in order to obtain the services of scholars from the faculties of recognized institutions of higher learning. The purpose of the program will be to give specialists in the physical sciences and other disciplines relevant to the Department of State's activities an opportunity for active participation in the arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament activities of the Department of State and to gain for the Department of State the perspective and expertise such persons can offer. Each Fellow in the program shall be appointed for a term of one year, except that such term may be extended for a one-year period.
If you have any questions regarding the Foster Fellows application and selection process or the Foster Fellows Alumni Group, please email FosterFellows@state.gov.