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Eisenhower Fellowships

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Eisenhower Fellowships

Eisenhower Fellowships
Founded 1953
Type 501(c)(3)
Revenue c. $40m (2011)[1]
Website .orgefworld

Eisenhower Fellowships is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization created in 1953 by a group of prominent American citizens to honor President Dwight D. Eisenhower for his contribution to humanity as a soldier, statesman, and world leader. The organization engages mid-career (age 32-45) professionals from around the world to enhance their leadership skills, broaden their network of contacts, deepen their global perspectives, and unite them in a diverse, global community where dialogue, understanding, and collaboration lead to a more prosperous, just, and peaceful world.

Each Fellow receives an individualized five to seven week program of consultations with experts and senior officials in government, industry, academia, the arts and the not-for profit sector. The Multi Nation Program brings 20 – 25 Fellows from countries around the world in all sectors to the U.S. each spring. Each fall a Single Nation, Single Region or Common Interest Program brings to the U.S. a similar number of Fellows. The USA Program sends 8 – 10 Americans abroad, including at least one U.S. farmer or rancher, to gain international exposure to people, institutions, technologies and ideas.

Fellows are identified by blue-ribbon committees in 48 countries and four U.S. locales (New England, Philadelphia, Research Triangle-NC and St. Louis).[2] They identify men and women who have demonstrated significant achievement and are poised to assume positions of substantial influence in their fields. Eisenhower Fellows regularly attain higher positions after they have been award the fellowship.[3] More than half of all Eisenhower Fellowships alumni indicate that they have been involved in fostering societal change at some point after their fellowship travels.

Since the organization’s founding, nearly 2,000 men and women have been awarded fellowships, forming a global network of leaders. Alumni Fellows are located in over 100 countries, including heads of government, cabinet-level officials, national legislators, provincial governors, university presidents, and CEOs of corporations and non-profit organizations who engage with other Fellows and with other members of the Eisenhower network.[3]


In 1953, Thomas Bayard McCabe led a group of Pennsylvania businessmen in the establishment of Eisenhower Exchange Fellowships to commemorate President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s first birthday in the White House.[4] Eisenhower Fellowships was different from existing fellowship and exchange programs in all parts of the world because Fellows were chosen by nominating committees and awarded to mid-career professionals from all sectors of society, not just academia. Fellows have come from a number of diverse fields which vary year-to-year as the nominating committees respond to the current international needs. The programs were designed to allow the fellows an individual experience in which they travel to another country and interact with professional peers to expand their worldviews and gain cultural experiences as well as interact with other Fellows.


Sixteen fellowships were awarded in 1954 to three Americans and thirteen men from overseas. Initially, all funds came from the fundraising efforts of the EF Board of Trustees, but a ten-year $600,000 grant from the Ford Foundation in 1956 massively contributed to the prestige and abilities of the program.[5] In the first decade, the size of yearly Fellow cohorts grew each year and from 1954 to 1964, the number of participating countries more than doubled.


As had been suggested by the first Fellows, each year’s program included at least two seminars where Fellows met and shared experiences. Yearly newsletters and three international alumni conferences strengthened the bonds among old friends and created new linkages. A second Ford Foundation grant in 1967 encouraged EF to experiment with larger programs. In 1961 the first Eisenhower regional conference was held in Geneva, Switzerland, and in the same year, the first female Fellow, Dr. Pilar G. Villegas, was named. In 1963, the USA Fellow program was suspended temporarily.


As the U.S. celebrated its bicentennial in 1976, one hundred and one Fellows from fifty six countries convened in San Francisco for EF’s First World Forum. The strength of the international alumni presence inspired the EF Trustees to name five international Fellows to the board. In 1977, President Gerald R. Ford was appointed president.


President Gerald Ford and John Eisenhower responded to fundraising challenges by helping to get a grant from the U.S. Congress for $7.5 million. The grant allowed EEF to expand its programs and reach. In 1986, the first Single Nation Program was introduced under the leadership of Theodore Friend, EEF President. Prior to 1986, Multi-Nation Programs had only allowed one fellowship to be granted to each participating country. The Single Nation Program allowed a closer focus and was launched in 1986 with six Eisenhower Fellows from the Philippines. In 1988, the first Dwight D. Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service was awarded to Ambassadors Walter Annenberg and Thomas J. Watson, Jr. In 1989, the USA Fellow Program returned after a 26-year hiatus, which brought EEF to three yearly programs (the Multi-Nation Program, the Single Nation Program, and the USA Fellow Program) with fifty Fellows participating.


EEF celebrated the centennial of President Eisenhower’s birth in 1990 at its second World Forum called “From Fellowship to Partnership” in Philadelphia. This time, over two hundred Fellows from 63 countries gathered. The enthusiastic response motivated the Turkish Fellows to hold a reunion conference in Turkey the following year. In the next eighteen years, eleven other countries hosted EF conferences. In 1991, legislation sponsored by Senator Bob Dole and Representative Pat Roberts established a permanent endowment for EEF in honor of President Eisenhower.[6] Single Area Programs in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and Fellows from Bulgaria and Romania in the early 90s demonstrated EF’s response to changing political conditions and support for emerging democracies. A Single Nation Program in South Africa for nine Fellows was run in 1994 after the country elected its first truly democratic government.


In its sixth decade, Eisenhower Fellowships developed additional programs and foci. In 2003, EF celebrated its 50th Multi Nation Program and 50th Anniversary Conference in Philadelphia called “Connecting Global Leaders.”[7] USA Fellows started choosing their fellowship destination(s) from a list of 27 countries on six continents. The Multi-Nation and Single-Nation programs continued, but the addition of Regional Programs, three in Asia, and one each in Latin America and the Middle East, were implemented to develop stronger international ties between countries in similar areas. In 2007 and 2009, two Common Interest Programs were introduced with Fellows from the United States and from overseas participating. In 2010, the first Women's Leadership Program was held.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award

In 2008, EF established the Distinguished Alumnus Award to recognize an alumnus or alumna who has demonstrated a significant contribution to his or her field of endeavor, and leadership in the Eisenhower Fellowships alumni network.[3] The recipient’s post-fellowship activities must reflect President Eisenhower’s commitment to peace and productivity by working through direct personal contacts across boundaries. Open to anyone who has completed an Eisenhower Fellowship since the program was founded in 1953, it is presented at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Trustees.


  1. 2008: Eisenhower Fellows of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
  2. 2009: Nezir Kirdar, ‘57, Iraq and Turkey
  3. 2010: Sister Mary Scullion, ’02, USA
  4. 2011: Jeffrey Koo Sr., ’71, Taiwan
  5. 2012: Conrado Etchebarne, '62, Argentina

The Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service

In 1988, the EF Board of Trustees established the Dwight D. Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service.[8] It is awarded annually to a business leader, statesperson, or other public figure who has achieved, through direct personal contacts across boundaries, widely recognized advances toward President Eisenhower’s vision of Douglas Dillon, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, Nobel Prize winner and economist Dr. Amartya Sen, Professor Muhammad Yunus, and founding Trustees Ambassadors Walter H. Annenberg and Thomas J. Watson, Jr. The Eisenhower Medal is conferred annually at a private gala dinner with Trustees, sponsors, and Fellows.


The governing body of the organization is the Board of Trustees, a distinguished group of more than seventy senior international leaders in business and public affairs currently chaired by General Colin L. Powell, USA (ret.) Prior chairs include Dr. Henry Kissinger, President George H.W. Bush and President Gerald Ford. Eisenhower Fellowships is headquartered in Philadelphia, PA.


  1. ^ Eisenhower Fellowships, 2011 Annual Report
  2. ^ "Eisenhower Fellowships". Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  3. ^ a b c "Eisenhower Fellowships". Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  4. ^ "Eisenhower Fellowships 1". Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  5. ^ "Grants / Ford Foundation". 2011-11-22. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  6. ^ Congressional Record, V. 150, Pt. 11, June 25, 2004 to July 14, 2004 By Congress
  7. ^ Perrone, Marguerite. "Eisenhower Fellowship: A History 1953-2003". 2003.
  8. ^ "Eisenhower Fellowships". Retrieved 2012-02-14. 

External links

  • Charity Navigator [1]
  • Eisenhower Fellowships Association of Sri Lanka [2]
  • Irish Eisenhower Fellowships Network [3]
  • Eisenhower Fellows Europe [4]
  • OMG Center for Collaborative Learning [5]
  • Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal [6]
  • Pakistan Eisenhower Fellowships Network [7]
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