Launched in 2005, the Draper Hills Summer Program (DHSF) is a three-week intensive academic training program that is hosted annually at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. The program brings together a group of 25 to 30 mid-career practitioners in law, politics, government, private enterprise, civil society, and international development from all regions of the world. This training program provides a unique forum for emerging leaders to connect, exchange experiences, and receive academic training to enrich their knowledge and advance their work.
For three weeks during the summer, fellows participate in academic seminars that expose them to the theory and practice of democracy, development, and the rule of law. Delivered by leading Stanford faculty from the Stanford Law School, the Graduate School of Business, and the departments of economics and political science, these seminars allow emerging leaders to explore new institutional models and frameworks to enhance their ability to promote democratic change in their home countries.
Guest speakers from private foundations think tanks, government, and the justice system provide a practitioners viewpoint on such pressing issues in the field. Summer Fellows also visit Silicon Valley technology firms such as Benetech, Google and Twitter to explore how technology tools and social media platforms are being used to catalyze democratic practises on a global scale.
Eligibility and Criteria
- This program is aimed at mid-career practitioners working actively in the fields of democracy, development, and the rule of law.
- Applicants can be working as policy-makers, academics, legal professionals, social entrepreneurs, business entrepreneurs, and leaders of civil society organizations (such as representatives of trade unions, nongovernmental organizations, the media, business and professional associations).
- In their present capacity, applicants should play important and influential roles in their country’s political, economic, and social development. Participants should have demonstrated professional and personal achievements in a relevant sector of democracy, development, and the rule of law.
- Each year we strive to recruit a diverse group of 25 to 30 individuals who are at the right stage in their professional trajectory to benefit from rigorous academic training to enhance their potential to promote democratic change in their home countries.
- Successful applicants will have academic credentials necessary to participate and contribute to the six-hour seminars each day and tackle advanced academic readings to complement the classroom-based curriculum. Ninety-nine per cent of our alumni hold a bachelor’s degree at the time of their participation in the program but this is not a requirement for admission to the program.
- Working knowledge of English is an important prerequisite for participation in the program. It is expected that each fellow has a solid command of written and spoken English to fully benefit and participate in the program.
- Due to the large volume of applications we receive each year to the fellowship program, we take our selection criteria very seriously.
- This is not an academic fellowship but meant for practitioners only. We value practical experience over academic credentials, and we admit scholars only to the extent that they are active in government, public policy, civil society, economic development and rule of law. They should hold leadership roles in their respective sector.
- Applicants must be mid-career practitioners and have at least ten to 12 years of experience to qualify for the fellowship. Those with more experience are much more competitive in the selection process.
- Candidates must be from and currently, reside in a country where democracy is not well entrenched. Candidates residing outside their home country due to war or conflict may be granted exceptions. Applicants will not be accepted from countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, and member states of the European Union.
- Candidates must be at least 28 years of age at the start of the fellowship in July 2020. The average age of our fellows at the time of the program is 38.
Awards and Benefits
- Stanford asks all applicants to be prepared to contribute towards the cost of their participation in the fellowship if they are selected.
- Typically this comes in the form of a fellow covering round-trip airfare to the Program. Stanford will pay for accommodations, meals, and transportation costs during the duration of the Program.
- In the past, some fellows have asked their employers to subsidize their travel to Stanford based on the benefits that the training will contribute towards their professional and organizational advancement. They may also choose to fundraise for these costs after selection decisions are issued in April 2019.
- A small travel fund is available for fellows who under no circumstances can support their travel or need to apply for a partial subsidy. Priority for accessing the travel fund will be given based on need, and destinations from which airline fares to California are exorbitant.
How To Apply
To apply please click here