Meridian-Cox Foreign Service Fellowship for Emerging Leaders

Seven students, dressed in business professional suits, stand on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
2023 DiplomacyRISE fellows stand on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.


The Meridian-Cox Foreign Service Fellowship for Emerging Leaders is a fully-paid enrichment and training program seeking to expand awareness and access to Foreign Service careers to students from underrepresented communities across the United States. A partnership among Meridian International Center, the Una Chapman Cox Foundation, and Community Colleges for International Development, the Foreign Service Fellowship provides undergraduate students with insight into American diplomacy while underscoring educational, internship, and career paths within the U.S. Foreign Service. The program will spotlight the vital work of Foreign Service Officers, while also teaching the critical soft skills necessary to succeed in a diplomatic career. Fellows will enhance their understanding of diplomacy and international affairs through site visits while developing their career development skills through workshops and networking opportunities.

The Fellowship draws upon the Cox Foundation’s commitment to strengthen the U.S. Foreign Service, advances CCID’s work building pathways to global careers at community colleges, and leverages Meridian’s experience developing leadership and diplomatic training for emerging leaders around the world.

The Meridian-Cox Foreign Service Fellowship for Emerging Leaders will take place in Washington, DC, from Sunday, June 23 to Saturday, June 29, 2024. Activities will include a full-day visit to the U.S. Department of State, an interactive two-day diplomatic skills training course, a diplomacy simulation, panel discussions with representatives from the broader U.S. Foreign Service apparatus, and site visits. A tour of Washington monuments and cultural activities will also be included. The fellowship will also include at least one virtual workshop prior to and following the Washington program.

This program was generously underwritten by the Una Chapman Cox Foundation, and Stephanie and Mark Robinson.


Who is eligible?  

Participants must be U.S. citizens currently enrolled in an accredited college or university (this includes both 2- and 4-year institutions). Individuals from underrepresented groups, such as first-generation and low-income, and overlooked regions of the country will be prioritized. Applicants should be on track to receive a Bachelor’s degree by May 2025 or May 2026 (current sophomores and juniors).

What are the requirements? 

Fellows are expected to participate fully in all aspects of the fellowship, including attending pre-meetings, participating in the full one-week fellowship, and completing all assignments and surveys.

What are the out-of-pocket costs? 

None! This is a fully-paid program. Fellows will be provided with a stipend of $500 and receive per diem for meals and incidentals for each day of the Foreign Service Fellowship. Roundtrip airfare, lodging in Washington, DC and ground transportation to and from the airport in Washington, DC (IAD, DCA or BWI) will all be covered.

When and where does it take place?  

The Meridian-Cox Foreign Service Fellowship for Emerging Leaders will take place in Washington, DC from Sunday, June 23 to Saturday, June 29, 2024.

What forms will I need for my application? 

You will need to upload your resume and your most recent college transcript. This may be an unofficial transcript.

When is the application deadline? 

March 20, 2024 at 11:59 PM ET

What if I am not pursuing international affairs, law or political science degree?

The Foreign Service seeks Americans of various educational backgrounds to fulfill a range of positions. While we welcome individuals pursuing international affairs and similar degrees, we also encourage students working to obtain a degree in STEM, business, economics, computer science or in any other field to apply. Current areas critical to U.S. foreign policy include cyberspace and emerging technologies, climate, environment and energy, global health security, economic statecraft, information technology, and law enforcement.

We are looking for individuals interested in careers in foreign policy, diplomacy, democracy, and public service. This means you may know or want to learn foreign languages, work abroad, embrace a variety of cultures and diversity, study global issues, be civically engaged, and defend and champion American and democratic values, such as free and fair elections and an open and independent press.

What is the selection process? 

A committee composed of representatives from Community Colleges for International Development with participation from the Una Chapman Cox Foundation and Meridian International Center will review all applications. Based on the information provided in their applications, a select number of applicants will be asked to participate in a 15-minute phone or video conference interview.

When will I be notified? 

Applicants will be notified of final selection on or before April 24, 2024.

What is the intended outcome of my participation in this fellowship?
  • Build knowledge of different Foreign Service career pathways;
  • Obtain awareness, tools and network (relationships) to more effectively obtain scholarships, fellowships, and job opportunities with the U.S. Government.
  • Understand how diplomatic skills like cultural competency are crucial to the field of international affairs; and,
  • Become part of a national network of American students dedicated to international affairs and public service.

For more information, please email: Meridian at

Una Chapman Cox Foundation: 

Meridian International Center: 

Community Colleges for International Development:

Project summary

Meridian-Cox Foreign Service Fellowship for Emerging Leaders | June 2024
Impact Areas: Foreign Policy, Civic Engagement, Education
Program Areas: Diplomatic Engagement