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  • The 2023-2024 Professional Development Fellowship (PDF) program application window is now closed. Please continue to check the GCLO webpages for updates and subscribe to the GCLO Weekly Newsletter for announcements.

  • Open to Eligible Family Member (EFM) spouses and Member of Household (MOH) partners of direct-hire U.S. government employees from all agencies serving overseas under Chief of Mission (COM) authority, PDFs support spouses and partners in their efforts to develop, maintain, and/or refresh their professional skills while overseas. Subject to budgetary constraints, PDF selectees receive from $1,000 up to $2,500 on a reimbursable basis for enrichment activities. Selectees will self-fund a minimum of 25 percent of the activity upon which their PDF is based. In order to ensure full consideration of each application, those interested in applying should read this guidance carefully and in its entirety.

Professional Development Fellowship (PDF) Resources

Program Considerations

The total amount awarded during this program period will be subject to budgetary constraints. The PDF program will have a minimum individual PDF amount of $1,000 to $2,500. The selection committee will not consider incomplete or late applications, or requests below the minimum amount requirement. The PDF program will cover activities that commence on or after August 1 and conclude no later than July 31, of the following year. Please note that the Department will not reimburse activities that are undertaken before and after the dates announced in this guidance.


  1. Applicants must be the EFM spouse or MOH partner of a direct-hire U.S. government employee (“sponsor”) assigned to and residing at an overseas post under COM authority during the fellowship period. “Spouses” for the purpose of this announcement does not include Foreign Service employees in Leave Without Pay (LWOP) status. “Partner” for the purpose of this announcement includes domestic partners who may or may not be on orders. Applicants must be accompanying their sponsor to post.
  2. PDF selectees must reside overseas during the PDF program, and activities must commence while the selectee is overseas. If the selectee temporarily returns to the United States, they may continue their PDF activities as long as the time in the U.S. does not exceed 30 days. If the period in the U.S. exceeds 30 days due to unforeseen circumstances, e.g., disruption of assignment due to evacuation, the selectee must inform GTM/GCLO within 10 days after the initial 30 days in the U.S. in order to seek guidance.
  3. Spouses and partners of employees on domestic assignments, on temporary duty (TDY) exceeding 30 days in the U.S., or in long-term training in the U.S. are not eligible to apply. Spouses and partners of employees on unaccompanied tours, who are residing in the U.S. during the fellowship period, are not eligible to apply.
  4. Applicants who have received a previous PDF and who meet the eligibility requirements may reapply. However, applicants who have received PDFs for the two preceding consecutive program periods must wait one program year before reapplying.

Application Process

  1. Applicants should submit a completed application form, available on the GCLO PDF Application Form Instructions webpage.
  2. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the application is complete and submitted on time. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Applications that are missing information once the deadline has passed will be considered incomplete. To avoid being affected by any potential technical issues, applicants are strongly encouraged not to wait until the deadline to submit an application.  
  3. Applications must contain a synopsis followed by a detailed description of the proposed professional development activities.
  4. The proposed activities must take place during the PDF program period, starting on or after August 1 and concluding no later than July 31, of the following year.
  5. Professional development activities should be directly related to the applicant’s professional interests, and the proposal must explain how the activities will enhance the applicant’s skills and/or future employment potential.
  6. Proposals may include a wide range of activities, including but not limited to, taking classroom and distance learning courses, obtaining or renewing professional and language certifications or licenses, developing new career skills, and participating in professional conferences.
  7. Conferences in the U.S. or a third country can be included on a PDF proposal, but recipients must be residing overseas during the PDF period. Conference expenses can NOT include transportation, lodging, any meals to include breakfasts, lunches, social networking hours, happy hours, galas, dinners, etc. Conference pricing often includes non-allowable costs. Please check with your conference organizer to ensure that your submitted budget does not include any of the above-mentioned or other non-allowable items. If your submitted budget does not reflect only allowable costs, your application could be deemed ineligible. You are welcome to include more information on the breakdown of actual costs in your application email.
  8. Budget proposals should provide a detailed, itemized breakdown of the entire cost of the proposed activity. If the provider of the proposed activity has not yet published updated costs for the PDF program year, the most recently published costs must be used in the application. Fellowship awards are limited to the amounts listed in the application.
  9. All complete applications received by the deadline will be acknowledged by email. Due to the volume of applications, notification of receipt may take up to three weeks after the deadline.
  10. If the application is received after the deadline, applicants will not receive an email acknowledgment.

Application Deadline

The 2023-2024 Professional Development Fellowship (PDF) program application window is now closed. All applicants will be notified of results after PDF Selection Committees have convened, typically by early August.

Reimbursement of Allowance Costs

Fellowship costs will be reimbursed after the PDF program activity is completed and the selectee submits documentation for reimbursement. Funds will be deposited into the selectee’s designated U.S. bank account within eight weeks of receipt and review of the complete reimbursement request. Reimbursement requests (and required documentation) must be submitted by July 31 of the PDF program year. The Department is unable to deposit the reimbursement in installments or to a third party on behalf of the selectee. The selectee may claim reimbursement only once after the activity is fully complete. A certification of completion must be included in the package for each completed PDF activity. Selectee will be responsible for at least 25 percent of the proposed allowable costs. Under no circumstances can PDF amounts be increased after an applicant is selected; however, the amount reimbursed may be less, reflecting actual costs. Only originally approved activities (with the corresponding itemized breakdown as listed on the application) will be reimbursed. Activities not explicitly approved by the PDF committee will not be reimbursed. Modification to any component of the approved project must be approved by GTM/GCLO. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that only allowable costs are included in their application and, if selected for a PDF, that the costs mirror the approved project. If an application is approved, GCLO will accept prepaid invoices on or after April 1, provided the activities start while overseas on or after August 1. Selectees must ensure that invoices identify them as the recipients.

Non-Allowable Costs

  • Membership fees and subscription costs, except those for the purpose of providing electronic access to course content, which must be completed during the fellowship period
  • Travel
  • Transportation
  • Lodging
  • Per diem
  • Meals, to include but not limited to: working breakfasts, lunch, networking social hours, happy hours, galas, dinners, etc.
  • Childcare
  • Startup business costs, such as, but not limited to: supplies, assessments, test kits, tool kits, uniforms, materials used to make goods, equipment or tools used to provide services or goods
  • Hardware, software, or equipment
  • Books, except those required for course completion
  • Course materials and supplies
  • Printing costs
  • Salary or other payment for services of assistants, translators, etc.
  • Shipping and handling fees
  • Bank fees
  • Late fees / cancellation fees
  • Any costs not included in the approved PDF application

Selection Committee

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee chaired by GTM/GCLO and will include representatives from the Office of Overseas Employment, GCLO Team, and the respective regional bureau to which the sponsoring employee is assigned.

Selection Criteria

The selection committee will consider the following criteria:

  1. Lack of availability of employment options in the applicant’s profession at her/his post of assignment.
  2. Correlation between the proposed activity and professional development of the applicant.
  3. Where applicable, a connection between the proposed activity and other effort(s) on the part of the applicant to develop, maintain, and/or refresh her/his professional skills (e.g., the proposal can be part of a larger professional development plan).
  4. Favorable consideration will be given to those activities that will benefit overseas communities under COM authority through provision of services that are otherwise not readily available and/or are in great demand.
  5. Proposals from applicants residing at Historically Difficult to Staff (HDS) posts and Special Incentive Posts (SIP) will receive favorable consideration as will proposals from posts where no Bilateral Work Agreement or de facto work arrangement are in place. A list of HDS and SIP posts is below.

Project Completion

The activities of PDF selectees must commence and be completed during the fellowship program period, i.e., on or after August 1 and conclude no later than July 31, of the following year. There will be no extensions and no exceptions to this requirement. At the end of their project, selectees must submit a complete PDF reimbursement package, with all required documentation to include an Automated Clearing House (ACH) vendor form, a financial worksheet with detailed accounting of the approved project and related expenses, receipts for the incurred expenses, and proof/certificate of completion for each completed PDF activity. The complete PDF reimbursement package must be submitted by July 31 of that program year in order to be eligible for reimbursement. Additionally, selectees should complete a short survey describing program activities and accomplishments. Selectees will receive specific instructions on project completion requirements after acceptance of their PDF.

Withdrawal from the Program

The Fellowships awarded through this program constitute a financial commitment on the part of the Department. It is imperative that applicants accepting a PDF understand this commitment and, should they decide not to complete their approved PDF activity, notify GCLO as soon as possible but no later than January 5 of the program year. Notifying GTM/GCLO by this date will allow GTM/GCLO to offer the available funds to another applicant within a reasonable timeframe. Selectees who withdraw or otherwise do not complete their program activity and do NOT notify GTM/GCLO by January 5 of the program year, will not be eligible for consideration for a PDF for the next two consecutive program periods. Selectees who withdraw as a result of unforeseen events, e.g., evacuation, serious illness, etc., should contact GTM/GCLO as soon as possible, and GCLO will review these on a case-by-case basis.

Points of Contact

For additional information please consult the Professional Development Fellowship Webpage and read through the PDF frequently asked questions (FAQs). For questions not answered on the website, email or call GCLO at 202-647-1076. PDF program updates will be announced via the CLO at posts worldwide, the GCLO Weekly, GCLO’s email subscription service for registered family members, and the GCLO Facebook page. GTM/GCLO encourages all PDF applicants to subscribe to the GCLO Weekly.

Historically Difficult to Staff (HDS) Posts and Special Incentive Posts (SIP) for Summer 2023 (subject to change)

Abidjan, Abuja, Accra, Antananarivo, Asmara, Bamako, Bangui, Banjul, Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Conakry, Cotonou, Djibouti, Freetown, Gaborone, Juba, Khartoum, Kinshasa, Lagos, Lilongwe, Lomé, Luanda, Malabo, Mogadishu, Monrovia, Nairobi, Ndjamena, Niamey, Nouakchott, Ouagadougou, Pretoria, Yaoundé

Beijing, Guangzhou, Medan, Port Moresby, Rangoon, Shanghai, Shenyang, Suva, Wuhan

Ankara, Baku, Istanbul, Moscow

Abu Dhabi, Algiers, Baghdad, BDSC, Beirut, Cairo, Dhahran, Doha, Jeddah, Erbil, Kuwait City, Manama, Rabat, Riyadh

Ashgabat, Chennai, Dhaka, Dushanbe, Hyderabad, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Mumbai, Nur-Sultan (Astana), Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar

Brasilia, Georgetown, Hermosillo, Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Port-au-Prince, Santo Domingo

U.S. Department of State

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