Cyberspace and digital policy issues have become central features in foreign policy, impacting national security interests, economic prosperity, and democratic values. Diplomacy relies on international networks of policy experts and policymakers to uphold an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet and a stable cyberspace for future generations. The Global Emerging Leaders in International Cyberspace Security (GEL-ICS) Fellowship is designed to equip leaders from likeminded foreign partners and governments with the knowledge and global connections to be effective advocates of the UN General Assembly-affirmed framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace.

The U.S. Department of State is working with Meridian International Center to launch the GEL-ICS Fellowship to support the development of a diverse global network of future cyber policy leaders who share the U.S. and other likeminded partners’ vision for cyberspace. Starting in 2023, each annual cohort of 20-25 government officials will engage in a year-long program, which will launch with a two-week U.S. visit in the first half of 2023, followed by a virtual seminar series and a culminating event on the margins of a global cyber policy conference. Fellows will visit Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Francisco to engage with U.S. and international leaders from government, industry, and civil society. Following the visit, the program will host a series of six thematic webinars on international cyberspace policy to support continuing education and foster networking among the fellows and stakeholders. The program then plans for all fellows to reconvene for a reunion to mark the end of the program on the margins of the Internet Governance Forum hosted in Tokyo in late 2023.

Going forward, alumni will form a global cohort of proponents for a stable and secure cyberspace for future generations. Ideal candidates are mid-level or emerging leaders in ministries of foreign affairs or other relevant agencies who have demonstrated the potential to exert enduring diplomatic influence on international cyberspace issues as government officials and represent diverse backgrounds and expertise. Previous technical experience or employment specifically in the cyber sphere is not required. English-language proficiency is a requirement.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future