The Community Solutions Program (CSP) is a year-long professional leadership development program for established community leaders working to improve their communities by addressing issues related to democracy and human rights, environment, peace and conflict resolution, and women and gender.
- Strengthen community leaders’ ability to lead collaboratively, address complex community challenges, and assume greater leadership roles in their institutions and communities.
- Enhance participants’ leadership and technical skills providing concrete tools and resources that facilitate community engagement and civil discourse.
- Build a global network of diverse, multi-disciplinary professionals and civil society leaders committed to innovative problem solving and community engagement.
- The Community Solutions Program also increases the capacity of U.S. partner organizations by nurturing collaboration and partnerships with international professionals and organizations.
- The program covers the cost of most expenses associated with:
- J-1 visa support
- Round-trip travel from participants’ home city to the U.S.
- Monthly allowance to cover housing, meals, and other living expenses while in the U.S.
- Accident and sickness health coverage
- Accessibility accommodations, such as ADA accessible rooms for in-person training, software such as JAWS, and community assistance and community training
- Four-month U.S.-based practicum: Community Solutions fellows are matched with nonprofit organizations, private entities, and government offices across the United States where they work with U.S. colleagues on initiatives related to issues they face in their own communities.
- Community Leadership Institute: The cornerstone of the program, the Community Leadership Institute is a leadership academy that provides customized learning and coaching to each fellow before, during, and after the U.S. experience. Fellows participate in online sessions and in-person workshops, receive professional coaching, engage in experiential learning through tailored professional fellowships at U.S. host institutions, and interact with other professionals in their field.
- Community-based initiatives: Community Solutions fellows develop innovative community action projects in collaboration with their U.S. host institutions and implement these projects after they return to their home countries. Project summaries are made available online, allowing fellows to share their work with other community leaders around the world.
- The international network of community development professionals: Fellows continue to network and collaborate with like-minded leaders from around the world on global development issues through alumni activities and opportunities offered through the Community Leadership Institute online platform.
To be eligible for the Community Solutions Program, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- You are between the ages of 26 and 39 as of January 1, 2024.
- You are a citizen of one of the eligible countries.
- You are living and working in your home country
- Individuals with refugee status working on behalf of their home community may be given special consideration.
- You have at least two years of experience working on community development, either as a full-time or part-time employee or volunteer.
- You are not currently participating in an academic, training, or research program in the U.S.
- You have a high level of proficiency in spoken and written English at the time of application
- Semifinalists will be required to take and pass or submit recent scores for a TOEFL or IELTS English language test.
- You are available to travel to the U.S. for four months from August to December 2024.
- You are not a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. and have not applied for U.S. permanent residency within the past three years.
- You are eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa
- Applicants who have participated in an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government must have fulfilled their two-year home residency requirement.
- You are committed to returning to your home country for a minimum of two years after completing the program and
- You are not a current IREX employee or consultant, or their immediate family member.