ReThink.CEE Fellowship 2022 – Call for Applications

Deadline: 20 December 2021
Open to: young policy experts from Central Europe, the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership countries 
Benefits: a stipend of 4,500 USD and other benefits


Democracy and Euro-Atlantic integration became contested paradigms in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Three decades after the revolutionary transformation of 1989—guided by the vision of democratic, free, West-oriented, and prosperous countries—neither democracy nor Euro-Atlantic integration are the only games in town anymore. While domestic and external threats to democracy are unequally distributed in the region, they are present everywhere and come hand in hand with the increasing malign influence of authoritarian great powers. Illiberal narratives and populist politics stir social polarization, attack independent institutions and media, intimidate civil society, and scapegoat vulnerable groups in society, while high-level political corruption risks forfeiting competitiveness and prosperity and distorting political competition. Authoritarian players like Russia and China are conscious and keen to support these tendencies and to exploit the vulnerabilities of CEE countries, while the European Union and the United States are struggling to find appropriate answers and their ability to act as role models for the region is diminishing. Instability and insecurity, which have long damaged the region, appear to be returning. In short, the grand vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace is at stake.    

Given these mounting threats, the CEE countries and their Western partners urgently need fresh thinking and innovation in policymaking to address the democracy, security, and prosperity challenges in the region. For this reason, The German Marshall Fund of the United States launched the ReThink.CEE fellowship program that supports next-generation policy experts from the region.


  • Young policy experts from Central Europe (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia), the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Serbia) and the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine).
  • Maximum age: 35 years
  • Proven track record of policy analysis at national, regional, or international levels, in a think tank, university, business, governmental institution, or nongovernmental organization.
  • Specific and well-elaborated projects for innovative policy research that address the current and coming challenges for Central and Eastern Europe. Priority will be given to projects with sound timetable and methodology that have regional, rather than single-country, reach and applicability.
  • Commitment to producing a quality policy publication as the main output of the fellowship.


  • A year-long non-resident fellowship
  • Affiliation with The German Marshall Fund of the United States, a premier transatlantic think tank
  • Access to the GMF network of policy and civil society professionals as well as individual support by GMF peers
  • Two workshops on policy research and writing at the early and mid-stages of the fellowship
  • Possibility of close cooperation with colleagues from different GMF offices, subject to research theme and availability, including short-term stays if the epidemiological situation allows
  • Professional publication, presentation, and distribution of a research paper
  • Full coverage of travel, board, and lodging for the purposes of policy research under the fellowship
  • A stipend of $4,500 for the entire fellowship

How to apply?

  • Fill in the application form
  • Outline your project (including relevance of the topic, innovative approach, research question, timetable, methodology) in max. 2 pages
  • Your CV in max. 2 pages
  • A recent publication (policy paper, article, op-ed) in English authored by you

Applications should be submitted in English by December 20, 2021.