March 7, 2020

Congressional Fellowship

Do you want to have a real impact on congressional work related to Syria? Do you want to understand how congress and the legislative process works?

2020 Fellowship Program Dates: 

Application Deadline:  

AFS Education is building skills for a new generation of leaders who will continue to work for democracy and human rights in the long term. This program places engaged Syrian Americans in congressional offices to support work on Syria and other foreign policy issues. This would expose fellows to current U.S. Congressional issues and the U.S. Legislative process. 


The fellowship will be a three-month program. Fellows will spend the first week with staff for a crash course on the conflict in Syria and the congressional process. Then, they will join the office into which they have been placed for work, five days a week, throughout the three-month period. Most congressional offices do not have a strict Syria focus, so the fellows will perform duties at the discretion of the congressional office, which could include everything from answering phone calls and letters, to providing tours of the U.S. Capitol for visiting constituents and attending hearings.

Once every two weeks, fellows will participate in a professional development seminar that will further their understanding of Syria and the policy making process. Guest speakers may include current or former members of the administration, congressional staff, advisors, or analysts from the think tank community.

Congressional fellows will receive: 

  • Relevant policy experience working in Washington, D.C.
  • A deeper understanding of how the executive and legislative branches interact to shape U.S. Foreign policy.
  • Leadership skills and professional development training. 
  • Networking with our policy contacts and access to our alumni network.
  • Fellowships are unpaid–candidates are responsible for their own travel, housing, and other living expenses. Candidates can apply to office placement for stipends based on demonstrated need.

As a congressional fellow, you will: 

  • Work five days a week at the placement site where you will be responsible for the duties set by the office—e. g. Researching legislative issues, attending hearings, preparing memos, assisting media efforts, processing constituent mail, welcoming constituents and giving tours of the Capitol, and answering phones.
  • Attend a two-day orientation upon your arrival. 
  • Participate in all AFS Education-sponsored activities.
  • Develop and write a policy memo to promote issues of importance to AFS Education. 
  • Comply with AFS policies regarding performance and personal conduct.

As a candidate, you are:

  • A U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident who identifies as a Syrian American or otherwise have a personal or family connection to Syria. 
  • A young professional or are pursuing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in foreign policy, political science, communications, or a related field. 
  • Actively demonstrating leadership potential and have a track record in volunteer work, community engagement or public service. 
  • Able to write clearly and succinctly, with a strong command of the English language. 
  • Able to work in a fast-paced team environment in Congress.
  • Capable of working independently on a term-long writing project.
  • Enthusiastic, communicative, reliable, organized, and able to manage time effectively. 
  • Living in or are willing to relocate to Washington, D.C. For the three-month period.

To apply, please send the following documents to

  • One-page resume. 
  • Two essay responses. (500 words each max)
    • What do you think the US should do about the current crisis in Idlib?
    • Why do you want to be an AFS Congressional Fellow?
  • One writing sample. 
  • Academic transcript (official or unofficial).

Selection process: 

  • Applications are reviewed by a committee of AFS Education staff and board members. Top candidates receive an invitation to interview. 
  • Once a candidate is selected, AFS Education staff will work with the candidate on placement in a congressional office. 

Please note, acceptance into the congressional fellows program does not guarantee placement in a congressional office.