Laura W. Bush Traveling Fellowship

Date: 09/08/2010 Location: New York City Description: Fall/Winter 2010 UNESCO-Laura W. Bush Traveling Fellowship Recipients met with Mrs. Bush and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova on September 8, 2010 during events celebrating International Literacy Day at the United Nations in New York.  Pictured from left to right are Melina Schoppa, Donglin ''Lynn'' Yi, Mrs. Laura W. Bush, Colton Kennedy, and Director-General Bokova. © UN Image
The fellowship will help fund a proposal designed by the applicant to conduct brief work in a foreign country related to the mandate of UNESCO – using education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and/or communication and information to build strong ties among nations.

The fellowship is intended for American college/university students who express an interest in international collaboration but as of yet had not been afforded many opportunities to travel abroad.

The length of time for the travel is expected to be between 4 and 6 weeks and should include interaction with individuals from other nations. During his/her travel, the recipient should be willing to participate in public diplomacy events arranged with the pertinent U.S. State Department Consulate, Mission, and/or Embassy.

Following the travel, the recipient agrees to submit a report describing experiences and analyzing objectives achieved; share his/her experiences with others; and be available to make a presentation to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.

By-laws for the Laura W. Bush Traveling Fellowship program are available here.

In order to apply for the Laura W. Bush Traveling Fellowship, applicants:

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen eligible for foreign travel
  • Must be at least 18 years old and not older than 25 at the time of application
  • Must be currently enrolled in an accredited U.S. college or university in the United States

Only complete applications received by the application deadline will be considered. A subcommittee of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, which shall include a personal representative of Mrs. Laura W. Bush, will conduct an initial review of the applications, conduct phone interviews as needed, and provide recommendations to the entire Commission about which candidates are the most qualified to receive the Fellowship. The number of recipients and exact amount of money awarded will depend on the quality of applications and the funds available. The average fellowship award amount is $2,500. Applications are due September 30, 2016 for winter/spring travel and February 28, 2017 for summer travel.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Originality and feasibility of proposal
  • Quality of essay
  • Apparent dedication to bridging nations, enlarging freedoms, and promoting democracy through one or more of UNESCO’s fields of competence
  • Performance during interview, if applicable

The Application Package
All material must be submitted electronically as a single file (.doc or .pdf where the filename is the first and last name of the applicant) to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO Executive Secretariat ( by 5:00 pm EST on the application deadline. Applications are due September 30, 2016 for winter/spring travel and February 28, 2017 for summer travel.

The application packet should include:

1) Completed application coversheet (form DS-7646)

2) One page summary of project, including items that help provide a concise, clear understanding of the proposal, such as:

- Goals/objectives/outcomes
- Timeline
- Budget, funding, and plan for supplementary funding should it be needed to complete objectives (including letters of support or commitment, if relevant)
- Methodology for monitoring/evaluating success, potential impact and sustainability
- Action plan/ideas for follow-on activities
- Any relevant resources or photos

3) Essay (up to 500 words, double spaced) explaining your interest in being considered for the award and how your proposed project reflects or is related to both UNESCO’s mandate and U.S. interests in promoting peace by sharing advances in education, science, culture, and communications.

4) Current resume

5) One letter of recommendation (from an academic source or another of the applicant’s choosing)

Questions regarding the application process or receipt of applications can be directed to or by calling 202-663-0026.

Fellowship Recipients


Veronica Lin, Wellesley College
Project Title: Improving Education through New Technologies, Connections, and Insights

Phillip Stringer, Tuskegee University
Project Title: Powering Opportunity: Small-Scale Gasification to Empower the Garifuna Community


Grace French, University of Michigan
Project Title: Connecting with Rwandan Street Children through dance: A base for education

Benjamin Howard, Washington University in St. Louis
Project Title: Sustainable Development in Madagascar: Pedal Powered Machines

Chelsea Snipes, College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina
Project Title: More Than Just Sirens: Using Emergency Responses To Deliver Healthcare Education

Ariel Willette, University of Minnesota
Project Title: Debate in India


Inesha Premaratne, Harvard University
Project Title: GrowLanka: Closing the Information Gap in Post-Civil War in Sri Lanka

Marissa Reitsma, Brown University
Project Title: The Intersection of Culture and Health: A Mixed-Method Investigation into the Effect of Tribal Affiliation on Accumulation of Drug Resistance Mutations and Treatment Failure in Kenya


Carl Silliman, University of Notre Dame
Project Title: Developing a Proper Home for Tibetan Refugees

Kaitlynn Bartz, George Washington University
Project Title: Reducing ethnic discrimination against the Serbian Romas through education reform and intercultural dialogue

Saira Husain, Southern Methodist University
Project Title: Prevention of Acute Gastroenteritis in Pakistan Children

Carolyn Pelnik, University of Virginia
Project Title: A Geo Health Alliance: Collaboration to Increase Potable Water Access in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Lacy Scott Williams, University of Virginia
Project Title: Community Compost & Garden for Local Food Security in Ngongongare, Tanzania


Sivakami Sambasivam, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Project Title: GPI Action Project, Chiteje de Garabato, Queretaro, Mexico & La Vaquita, Zacatecas, Mexico

Jonathan Yates, Wheaton College
Project Title: Integrated Geology: Clean Water for Tushile, Kosovo


Colton Kennedy, Iowa State University
Project Title: Technology Granted Freedom (India)

Donglin Lynn Yi
Project Title: Implementing a Sustainable Method of Teaching Scientific Experimentation in Primary and Secondary Schools in Post-War, Liberia, Africa

Melina Schoppa, University of Virginia
Project Title: Water and Health in Limpopo: Maintaining Water Health Education in Primary Schools (South Africa)


Thao Nguyen, George Washington University
Project Title: Human Traffic’s Rush Hour: A Study of the Human Trafficking Industry in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Stan Wang, University of Akron
Project Title: Prevention of Childhood Diseases through Handwashing with Soap in Ghana: A Participatory Approach


Michael Aguilar, American University
Project Title: Back to School, Back to Peace: A Culture of Peace in Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador)

Laura E. Olsen, George Washington University
Project Title: Ethnographic Study to Develop Sustainable Access to Clean Drinking Water (Dominican Republic)

Marika Shioiri-Clark, Harvard University
Project Title: Designing for Airborne Diseases in India

Heather LaRue McGee, University of Michigan
Project Title: The Conflict Mitigation Potential of Water Users’ Associations in Southern Kyrgyzstan

David Hee Lee, Georgetown University
Project Title: Stinky Peace: Bringing Sustainable Income and Energy Source to Kabul, Afghanistan

You can see each of our Fellows’ project reports here and here.

Application Deadlines:

Spring 2015 (For Projects Conducted in the Summer/Fall of 2015): Monday, February 23, 2015