Call for Applications: Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellowship 2020 - 2021
Fellowship term: January 4, 2021 – July 30, 2021
Deadline for applications: August 11, 2020
THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF SELECTED FELLOWS IS DELAYED. WE HOPE TO ANNOUNCE BY SEPTEMBER 25. WE ARE TERRIBLY SORRY ABOUT THE INCONVENIENCE, AND APPRECIATE YOUR PATIENCE.
Applications are currently being accepted for the 2020-2021 Václav Havel Journalism Fellowship. The purpose of the Fellowship is to support aspiring journalists from countries lacking media freedom and independence to pursue their profession in support of pluralism. It is inspired by former Czech President Václav Havel's belief in the transformational role of journalism in challenging tyranny and oppression.
The Fellowship is a joint initiative of RFE/RL and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, and aims to strengthen media independence in Eastern Partnership countries and the Russian Federation. It is generously supported by the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation VIZE97.
The program will help prepare the selected Fellows to be standard-bearers of their profession and leaders in their communities, on-line, on air, and in the world.
The Fellowship is a seven-month program. Fellows will spend six months at RFE/RL’s headquarters in Prague, where they will be placed with an appropriate language service to receive daily, on-the-job training and mentoring while working alongside RFE/RL’s seasoned professionals. For two weeks before the term in Prague, Fellows may be assigned to a local RFE/RL bureau to gain an understanding of RFE/RL’s local role and editorial practices and meet local staff. After Prague, Fellows will return to the bureau for a final month.
A monthly stipend at the bureau and in Prague, housing, health insurance, and travel arrangements to and from Prague shall be provided.
The main components of the program are:
- Professional mentoring alongside RFE/RL’s seasoned professionals.
- Training and development of journalistic skills on traditional, multi-media, and digital platforms.
- Participation in the daily editorial discussions that inform a professional and independent press.
- Independent work on a personal project.
- Understanding of the mission and practice of a professional, free, and independent media.
The Fellowship also features workshops on journalistic practices and tools; discussions with government officials, civic leaders, and regional analysts; visits to local media and news agencies in Prague; and professional development opportunities in the Czech Republic and abroad.
Fellows will be expected to represent themselves and the Fellowship in English in public events and discussions relating to media freedom in their country.
The Fellowship accepts applications from journalists in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, and the Russian Federation. Fellows are assigned for the term of the Fellowship to one of those language services.
In addition, applicants may apply to be assigned for the term of the Fellowship to Current Time, the 24/7 Russian-language digital and TV network.
Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis. Eligible applicants will be from an Eastern Partnership country or the Russian Federation; have a minimum of two years’ experience working as a journalist in their native language; be committed to working as a journalist in, or for audiences in, their home country; share RFE/RL’s mission; and be proficient in English.
Applicants for a Fellowship position with Current Time must demonstrate native-level fluency in Russian, strong writing skills, and some TV and digital experience. They must indicate their wish to be assigned to Current Time in their application materials.
A complete application includes the following materials:
- Personal statement
- 3 work samples
- 2 letters of recommendation
- Curriculum Vitae, including current contact information
- Letter to Václav Havel
In addition, please let us know how you learned about the Fellowship (e.g., RFE/RL’s website, Facebook, a professional or academic reference, etc.).
Application materials must be submitted in English.
Candidates may be contacted and asked to participate in a telephone, Skype or in-person interview as part of the application process.
Your personal statement is a very important part of your application, and will be closely read and considered in the selection process. It should be written in English and not exceed 750 words. In your personal statement, please address your journalistic experience, including your reasons for pursuing journalism; the values and convictions that guide your work; experiences that have influenced your journalism; and what you hope to accomplish as a journalist. In addition, please explain your reasons for applying for the Václav Havel Journalism Fellowship and what you hope to gain from it. You are also encouraged to briefly describe your idea for a personal project.
Please attach 3 work samples, on any platform, demonstrating your best professional work. Two of the samples must have been published within the year of the Fellowship deadline. All samples must include a date and, if not in English, they must be accompanied by an English translation. In the case of video submissions, an English-language summary is sufficient. If translations are not your own, please state otherwise.
Two Letters of Recommendation
Two letters of recommendation are required with your application. One of the letters should be from a current supervisor or colleague who practices journalism and knows you professionally. The writers should explain their relationship to you and describe your qualifications, potential for professional growth and development, and reasons that make you an excellent candidate for the Fellowship. Letters must be submitted in English.
Please attach your updated curriculum vitae. This shall include your name, email address, social media profiles, phone number, present address and permanent address; a detailed work history since completing your formal education; and educational background. Please also list any noteworthy distinctions or awards, and current or recent memberships in professional, political, or other groups. Please also state if you have received any type of certification (and at what level) of English language proficiency.
Letter to Václav Havel
Havel wrote his “Letters to Olga” during his nearly four-year imprisonment in Communist Czechoslovakia in the late 1970s. In this submission, not to exceed 300 words, please be creative and imagine that you are writing a letter to President Havel. What would you ask? What would you like to share about journalism in your country, freedom, democracy, and human rights?
NOTE: The Fellowship will take place in accordance with all Coronavirus-related measures both in the Czech Republic and applicants’ countries, and is therefore subject to change.
COMPLETED APPLICATIONS MUST BE SENT THROUGH THE APPLY NOW BUTTON BELOW BY 8:00 CET, TUESDAY, AUGUST 11, 2020
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About Vaclav Havel
Václav Havel was the first post-revolutionary president of independent Czechoslovakia in 1989, and the first Czech president in 1993. He was also a renowned playwright, poet and essayist. Vaclav Havel's name is synonymous with peaceful resistance to authoritarianism and commitment to individual liberty and dignity.