The U.S. Department of State English Language Fellow Program is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2019. For fifty years, the Fellow Program has promoted mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through English language programming and cultural exchange. Please join us in celebrating this important milestone in our program’s history.



Nominate yourself or a former Fellow for the English Language Fellow Alumni Impact Award!


Award Description

The English Language Fellow Alumni Impact Award is designed to recognize and celebrate a former Fellow who has continued to use his or her fellowship experiences to positively impact his or her local teaching communities or career in TESOL in the United States post fellowship. 

The winner will be invited to attend the English Language Fellow Program 50th Anniversary Celebration in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, to receive this award, with travel and overnight stay provided by the program.


Selection Process

English Language Programs looks forward to receiving nominations from Fellow alumni or from friends or colleagues of Fellow alumni. Nominations should be submitted by July 15, 2019, at 5:00 PM EDT through this online form

On July 29, 2019, the finalists will be announced on the English Language Programs social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn) with the hashtag #fellowimpact2019. Finalists, friends, and the public will be invited to like, share, and comment on posts to vote for the winner. The winner with the most reach (likes, shares, comments) across platforms by August 12, 2019, at 5:00 PM EDT will be selected as the award recipient.     


Eligibility Requirements

In order to be considered for this opportunity, a nominee must:

  • have successfully completed a fellowship prior to November 2018
  • demonstrate a commitment to the field of TESOL 
  • have used their fellowship experiences to positively impact their local teaching communities or career in the United States


Is there an outstanding local teacher or administrator from your fellowship with whom you’d like to reconnect here in the United States? As a final 50th Anniversary celebration, the English Language Fellow Program wants to reunite Fellow alumni with local teachers and TESOL leaders from their countries of assignments.

Fellow alumni are invited to nominate English educators and administrators from their fellowships who are leaders in their local English language teaching communities. Selected nominees will be awarded the opportunity to travel to the United States to participate in a 2-week professional development exchange at a U.S. university focused on developing 21st-century skills for globalizing English as a foreign language. The purpose of this exchange is to strengthen international EL educators’ and teacher trainers’ expertise by concentrating on the following elements: developing and maintaining international partnerships, incorporating culture as a core element of language learning; using technology to connect classrooms; and teaching EFL with a focus on service learning and civic literacy (Request for Proposal). 

In addition, pending program approval, the Fellow alumni who nominated the selected participants will also be sponsored by the program to come to Washington, D.C., for a special event.

*Each Fellow alumnus/a is limited to one nomination submission.
**Current Fellows may submit a nomination if they will have completed their fellowships before November 2019.

Selection Process

English Language Programs looks forward to receiving applications from our alumni. Final selection will be determined in consultation with the local U.S. Embassy and RELO. Preference will be given to Fellow alumni who can attend a special event alongside their nominees.

Eligibility Requirements

Selected educators must meet the following criteria, in order to be considered for this opportunity:

  • Be a current university-level English language educator or teacher trainer from an exemplary EL Fellow host institution;

  • Have a minimum English language proficiency equivalent to a B1, or Independent User, as outlined in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) of Languages. Please access the following link for detailed language proficiency descriptions: B1- C2 language proficiency as defined by the CEFR;

  • Be a citizen of and resident in an eligible program-participating country or territory;

  • Demonstrate a commitment to EFL teaching after completion of the program; and

  • Not have any existing health issues that may prevent them from traveling.


To nominate an outstanding educator, submit the completed application with the required information. Nominations are due by Monday, June 17, 2019.



To celebrate the 50th Anniversary, the English Language Programs is sending 13 Fellow alumni back to their countries-of-assignments for short-term projects. Follow the English Language Programs on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn as these alumni return to Uzbekistan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Indonesia, Ecuador, Turkey, Russia, Azerbaijan, Israel, Lebanon, Tanzania, and Cambodia. 

Contest Winners:

Christine Smart – Uzbekistan, 2015-2016

Summer Peixoto – Brazil, 2008-2010

Alexis Cherewka – Burkina Faso, 2016-2017

Heather Linville – Indonesia, 2006-2007

Katherine Guevara – Ecuador, 2008-2009

Leslie Sapp – Turkey, 2013-2014

Nancy Burkhalter – Russia, 2012-2013

Stephen Sadlier – Azerbaijan, 2003-2004

Kate Kessler – Indonesia, 2012-2013

Dana Poole – Israel, 2007-2008

Sarah Gulley – Lebanon, 2009-2010

Lee Anne McIlroy – Tanzania, 2012-2013

Richard Silberg – Cambodia, 2015-2016


The English Language Fellow Program began in 1969 with a small number of teachers in Latin America. In the 1970s, a participant was sent to Africa for the first time. The program quickly expanded to a worldwide exchange by the 1980s, with a large number of educators sent to the Soviet Union in the 1990s. This program has sent thousands of educators to over 80 countries worldwide.

This year, the English Language Fellow Program is the largest it’s ever been, sending 173 experienced U.S. TESOL professionals on 10-month paid teaching assignments at universities and other academic institutions around the world.


English Language Programs is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the English Language Fellow Program! Celebrate with us by watching our video of happy birthday wishes from Fellows and alumni from around the world.


*English Language Programs is no longer accepting applications for small grants.


As part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, the English Language Fellow Program is sponsoring a Small Grants Competition. Fellow alumni are invited to apply for grants ranging from $500 to $10,000 in the following three categories:


  1. Raising awareness of the English Language Fellow Program within the English language teaching community in the United States

      For example:

  • Creating a local or regional Fellow alumni chapter

  • Organizing a series of presentations or workshops about the Fellow’s project and how it related to being a citizen diplomat, e.g. at high schools throughout the state


  1. Supporting former Fellows in their professional development in the United States

      For example:

  • Conducting research in a subject area related to an aspect of the original fellowship project, e.g. flipped classrooms, student motivation, creating culturally relevant materials

  • Attending a course related to an aspect of the original fellowship project, e.g. how to teach academic writing to non-English majors, techniques for differentiated instruction


  1. Supporting former Fellows in their work with English language learners in American classrooms

      For example:

  • Producing an event or publication showcasing student achievement, e.g. a play written and performed by the students, publication of student writing

  • Taking a field trip to a location or event related to a topic students have been studying, e.g. a museum with guided tour, state house of representatives for a public debate

  • Developing a service learning project related to a topic students have been studying, e.g. environmental conservation, helping elderly neighbors with their errands


Timeline for submission:

  • Projects must be carried out before the end of the year.

  • small group of selected winners will be invited to share the impact of their projects at a gala event at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. in fall 2019. In order to be considered, proposals must be submitted by the priority deadline and implemented by summer 2019.

Applicant eligibility:

  • Applicants must be a former Fellow of the program, currently working or studying in the field of TESOL or a directly related field in the United States.

  • Applicants must be in good standing with the program.

Application guidelines:

  • Applications must be submitted using the online form.

  • The examples above are just examples. The competition encourages creative, meaningful ideas.

Grant conditions:

  • Grant recipients will be given a grant based on the applicant’s estimate of costs for the project.

  • Grant recipients must agree to participate in promoting their project and the English Language Fellow Program on the program’s social media channels and in the participant’s local news and educational media outlets.

  • At the conclusion of the project, the recipient must submit a report summarizing the activity and its impact.

  • Payment received from GU/CIED for the Small Grants Competition is taxable and will be reported both to you and to the IRS on Form 1099-MISC in Box 7. These fees are called “non-employee compensation” and they are considered taxable income. You should consult your tax advisor or the IRS for guidance. Note that GU/CIED and ECA/DOS cannot provide any tax guidance. Filing and paying your taxes are solely your own responsibility.


Throughout 2019, we will be hosting events and providing exciting opportunities to celebrate the 50th Anniversary. Check back here throughout the year for information about upcoming events.

Over the years we have lost contact with many of our former participants. We want to be sure we have up-to-date contact information for all our former participants. Please take a moment to provide us with your contact information, so we can keep you in the loop on the upcoming festivities.