Community Solutions Program 2021

Application Deadline: October 28th, 2020

The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce the Community Solutions Program 2021 competition.

The Community Solutions Program, a fully funded four-month fellowship, is an opportunity to improve your leadership and management skills through online coursework, face-to-face training, and hands-on experience. Community Solutions offers you a unique opportunity to join a global network of more than 450 leaders who are working to improve their communities.

The Community Solutions Program (CSP), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and implemented by IREX, provides the best and brightest community leaders, ages 25 to 38, from around the world with an intensive, professional development exchange program that includes a substantive hands-on learning experience in the United States from August to December 2021.

The Community Solutions Program (CSP) is a year-long professional development program for people who are working to improve their communities by addressing issues related to the environment, tolerance and conflict resolution, transparency and accountability, and women and gender.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • You are between the ages of 25 and 38 as of January 1, 2021;
  • You are living and working in your home country (Individuals with refugee status working on behalf of their home community may be given special consideration)
  • You have at least two years of experience working on community development, either as a full-time or part-time employee or volunteer;
  • You are not currently participating in an academic, training, or research program in the US;
  • You have a high level of proficiency in spoken and written English at the time of application;
  • Semifinalists will be required to take or submit recent scores for a TOEFL or IELTS English language test.
  • You are available to travel to the US for four months from August to December 2021;
  • You are not a citizen or permanent resident of the US and have not applied for US permanent residency within the past three years;
  • You are eligible to receive a US J-1 visa;
  • Applicants who have participated in an exchange program sponsored by the US Government must have fulfilled their two-year home residency requirement.
  • You are committed to returning to your home country for a minimum of two years after completing the program; and
  • You are not a current IREX employee or consultant, or their immediate family member.

Selected candidates will participate in:

  • Four-month U.S.-based fellowship: CSP fellows are matched with non-profit organizations, private entities, and government offices across the United States where they work with U.S. colleagues on initiatives related to issues they face in their own communities. Community Solutions leaders work in one of four technical areas: Environmental Issues, Tolerance and Conflict Resolution, Transparency and Accountability, and Women and Gender Issues. For example: A gender-rights activist from Vietnam focused on reducing human trafficking works with YWCA on human trafficking in Houston, Texas.
  • Community Leadership Institute: The Community Leadership Institute (CLI) is a leadership academy that provides customized learning and coaching to each CSP Leader. The CLI uses a blended-learning approach, where leaders participate in online sessions and in-person workshops, receive professional coaching, engage in experiential learning, and interact with other professionals in their field.
  • Community-based initiatives: CSP fellows develop innovative community action projects in collaboration with their U.S. host institutions and implement these projects after they return to their home countries to integrate their new skills and knowledge into their community work at home. Project summaries are made available online, allowing fellows to share their work with other community leaders around the world.
  • International network of community development professionals: CSP fellows continue to network and collaborate with like-minded leaders from around the world on global development issues through alumni activities and opportunities offered through the Community Leadership Institute online platform.

Financial Support

The program covers the cost of most expenses associated with:

  • J-1 visa support;
  • Round-trip travel from participants’ home city to the US;
  • Monthly allowance to cover housing, meals, and other living expenses while in the US; and
  • Accident and sickness insurance.

Selection and Program Timeline:

  • October 28, 2020 by 11:59 p.m. EST
CSP Application deadline
  • End of January 2021
Finalists and alternates identified
  • January to Mid-February 2021:
Embassy concurrence on identified finalists and alternates
  • March – April 2021:
CPS Finalists and alternates complete English language testing as needed.
  • June 2021:
CSP team facilitates an online Pre-Departure Orientation with all finalists
  • August 2021:
CSP fellows travel to the U.S.
  • August – December 2021:
CSP Practicum
  •  December 2021:
CSP staff provide post with participants’ follow-on project information so they can reconnect when they return to their home community
  • January – June 2022:
CSP fellows complete their follow-on projects


Application Instructions

Application Deadline: October 28th, 2020