Harvard University President Derek Bok established the Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program in 1979 to address the needs of South Africans denied access to advanced education by the apartheid system. The creation of this program was a direct response to the strong movement by Harvard students and faculty during the divestment campaigns of the 1970s. The Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program continues to serve as an intellectual resource for talented South Africans, with the goal of providing a “transformational experience” at Harvard University during the fellowship year.
The program was established, and is still intended, for mid-career professionals educationally disadvantaged by past laws and resource allocations in South Africa. Today, HSAFP seeks to expand its reach to institutions and organizations across South Africa in a continued effort to draw the broadest possible range of candidates for the program. The program is open to all South Africans who qualify. Priority will be extended to mid-career applicants from historically marginalized or underrepresented groups, including applicants from rural areas outside urban centers. HSAFP seeks to expand its reach to institutions and organizations across South Africa in a continued effort to draw the broadest possible range of candidates for the program. In addition, the University – reflecting the current South African constitution – has expanded its applicant pool to extend to all South Africans, regardless of ethnicity or race. Ideal candidates are those who seek to model ethical leadership, knowledge sharing, and serve as a resource to improve and transform their communities and South Africa. Applicants whose interest in the program is only in seeking an advanced degree or professional certification to advance their own career interests are not ideal candidates. Alumni of the program are expected to remain involved after the completion of their fellowship and serve as ambassadors for the fellowship.
Fellowships are for up to one year of study in one of Harvard’s Professional Schools or Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, with tuition provided by the participating School. General administrative funds for program management, stipends, and airfare for the fellows are provided by the Office of the President and administered by the Center for African Studies under the directorship of Professor John Mugane. The recruitment and selection interviews for the HSAFP fellows take place annually with the support of the Center for African Studies’ Africa Office in Johannesburg.
Fellowships have been awarded to men and women with careers spanning education, law, public health, the arts and humanities, business and the private sector, and a host of other professions and disciplines. Through their presence in Harvard’s classrooms, seminars, research initiatives, and conferences, HSAFP fellows have introduced knowledge and perspectives to the Harvard campus, the significance of which goes well beyond numbers and publications. Upon their return to South Africa, many of the HSAFP fellows have gone on to play prominent roles in their nation and local communities while remaining engaged with the Harvard community in Cambridge, Africa, and beyond.
Fellows are selected because they have shown considerable skill in their chosen fields, and are expected to benefit from advanced training. Fellowships are for a year of study in one of Harvard’s Professional Schools or Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, with tuition waivers provided by the School once fellows are admitted. General administrative funds for program management, stipends, and airfare for the fellow are provided by the Office of the President, and administered by the Center for African Studies, under the directorship of Professor John Mugane. Since the Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program was established 40 years ago, more than 220 Fellows are counted among the alumni of the program, representing leadership positions in all aspects of South African society, including many professors and senior administrators at universities in South Africa, leaders in the private sector, and a host of South Africans committed to public service as officials in government and international organizations
Keep in touch with us
If you are a former Harvard South Africa Fellow join the HSAFP LinkedIn Group so that you can stay in touch with other fellows, both current and past.