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Call for Applications: Václav Havel Journalism Fellowship 2024

Applications for the Václav Havel Journalism Fellowship are now closed.

Fellowship term: January 3, 2024 - July 31, 2024
Applications open: May 1, 2023

Application deadline: June 1, 2023
Selection results announced by: July 21, 2023

The Václav Havel Journalism Fellowship is available to aspiring, independent journalists in the European Union's Eastern Partnership countries and the Russian Federation. The purpose of the Fellowship is to help aspiring journalists from the region pursue their profession in support of media pluralism and independence. Launched in 2011, the Fellowship is inspired by the late Czech president’s belief in the transformational role of journalism in challenging tyranny and oppression and builds on RFE/RL’s legacy of promoting more open societies through journalism. The Fellowship is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and RFE/RL, which is co-funded by the Ministry.


The Fellowship is a seven-month program, which equips Fellows with cutting-edge journalistic skills and involves them in the daily editorial debates and discussions that inform a professional and independent press. Fellows spend six months at RFE/RL’s headquarters in Prague, where they are placed with an appropriate language service to receive daily, on-the-job training and mentoring while working alongside RFE/RL’s seasoned professionals. After Prague, Fellows spend a final month at a local RFE/RL bureau (if applicable).

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 company

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 at public events and in discussions relating to media freedom in their country.

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.

A monthly stipend at the bureau and in Prague, housing, health insurance, and travel arrangements to and from Prague shall be provided.


The Fellowship accepts applications from journalists from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, and the Russian Federation. In the cases of Belarus and Russia, only journalists currently living outside of these two countries may apply.

Eligible applicants should

  • 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
  • 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.

Application Instructions

Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis.

A complete application includes the following materials:

  • curriculum Vitae, including current contact information
  • personal statement
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • 3 work samples
  • letter to Václav Havel

Details of each part of the application can be found below.

All application materials must be in English.

In addition, please let us know in the online cover letter how you learned about the Fellowship (e.g., RFE/RL’s website, Facebook, a professional or academic reference, etc.).

Shortlisted candidates will be contacted and asked to participate in a telephone, online or in-person interview as part of the application process.

Curriculum Vitae

Please attach your updated curriculum vitae with your current contact information. This shall include your name, e-mail 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.

Personal Statement

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 describe 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, which will be completed during the Fellowship.

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.

Work Samples

Please attach 3 work samples, on any platform, demonstrating your best professional work. Samples must have been published within the 12 months before the application 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 so.

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?

Privacy Notice for RFE/RL Fellows

Fellowship at RFE/RL is contingent upon the successful completion of a background security check performed after the acceptance of RFE/RL´s offer. More details and information about the collection and processing of your personal data will be provided to you together with the Fellowship agreement.


Please contact

​About Vaclav Havel​

Václav Havel served as the first post-revolutionary president of Czechoslovakia from 1989, and as the first president of the Czech Republic from 1993. He was also a renowned playwright, poet, and essayist. Václav Havel's name is synonymous with peaceful resistance to authoritarianism and commitment to individual liberty and dignity. Throughout his career as a writer and playwright, Havel established himself as Europe’s most renowned voice of dissent. During his time as president of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, Havel used his position of influence to speak out as an unyielding advocate for democratic voices the world over. Long a listener and supporter of RFE/RL, Havel invited RFE/RL to take up residence in Prague in 1995, planting RFE/RL’s headquarters in a city where its broadcasts were once banned.

Learn more

Vaclav Havel and Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship Programs:

General Information →​