Resident Fellowship FAQs

What types of fellowships are available at Pacific Forum?

Pacific Forum currently offers four resident fellowships:

  • WSD-Handa Fellowship
  • James A. Kelly Korean Studies Fellowship
  • Lloyd and Lillian Vasey Fellowship
  • Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellowship


How are the fellowships different from one another?

Although each fellowship has a different research focus, resident fellows generally participate in Pacific Forum’s projects and programs that are relevant to their interests. The specific fellowships focus areas are below:

  • WSD-Handa fellows focus on East Asia
  • Kelly Fellows focus on the Korean peninsula
  • Vasey Fellows focus on US-Asia policy
  • SPF Fellows focus on the US-Japan alliance


Who can apply for a resident research fellowship?

Applicants are encouraged to review the specific requirements for the fellowship to which they are applying.

Generally, applicants are in the beginning stages of their career or pursuit of a graduate degree. Post-doctoral candidates are discouraged from applying. In very rare instances, we accept candidates who have only a bachelor’s degree.

Kelly, WSD-Handa, and Vasey resident research fellows should be between 22 and 35 years old. Because of the experience required for SPF fellowships, SPF fellows are typically older.

What kind of work or publishing experience do I need to be considered?

Our resident fellows have a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds, and we do not have firm criteria on the work or publishing experience required.
For some, a Pacific Forum fellowship is their first opportunity in the foreign policy and international affairs industry. For others, a fellowship is a next step in a career that has included time in diplomacy or major international organizations and resulted in extensive publications.

What is a typical day like for a resident fellow?

Resident fellows are active participants in Pacific Forum’s programs, projects, and research activities, both in Honolulu and abroad. Fellows work during Pacific Forum’s normal business of hours of Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. While every day is different, fellows can expect to be involved in:

  • Their own self-directed research
  • Writing articles on their area of expertise for publication in the PacNet newsletter and media outlets throughout the world.
  • Collaborate with other fellows and Young Leaders on publications and research projects.
  • Pacific Forum’s “Issues and Insights” radio program, broadcast in Honolulu and streamed online.
  • Young Leaders conferences and activities, including assisting with the program’s administration and taking a leadership role during conferences.
  • The Hawaii Emerging Leaders Program, our undergraduate outreach effort.
  • Research projects for senior staff members.


How closely do I get to work with senior experts?

Many research fellows come to Pacific Forum specifically to work under the guidance of our senior experts Ralph Cossa, Brad Glosserman, and Carl Baker. While fellows’ research is self-directed, fellows do have the opportunity to work closely with them and receive feedback throughout their research projects. Fellows also sometimes have opportunities for joint publications with our senior staff members.

When are applications accepted?

Applications for Kelly, Vasey, and WSD-Handa fellowships are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year. Applicants are advised to apply between two to four months in advance of their desired start date.

Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellowships accept applicants once per year in the spring. The final decision is made with an external review board.

On what criteria are applicants judged?

Pacific Forum considers all aspects of an applicant’s submitted materials, including your CV and research proposal. We are also looking for applicants who we think will be a good fit for Pacific Forum and our organizational culture.

How important is the research proposal?

The research proposal is an extremely important component of your application and we recommend that all candidates spend time carefully developing theirs. The proposal should be well-written and concise; this is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your skill as a writer, which is an important criterion for all fellowships.

Do I receive a stipend?

Yes, all fellowships offer a modest cost-of-living stipend to assist with housing, meals, and other expenses. It is recommended that you arrive with at least USD 2,000 to cover initial moving and living costs.

Does Pacific Forum provide housing?

No, Pacific Forum does not provide housing services or assistance with housing searches. Many fellows opt to live in the Waikiki, Makiki, lower Manoa, and downtown Honolulu neighborhoods.