Visiting Fellows Program

We are not currently accepting applications for the SNF Agora Visiting Fellows Program. Please check back in spring 2024. Thank you!

SNF Agora Institute Background

The SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University, founded in 2017, is a multi-disciplinary academic and public forum dedicated to strengthening global democracy by improving and expanding civic engagement and inclusive dialogue, and supporting inquiry that leads to real-world change. By building integrated partnerships with scholars, practitioners, students, and the public, we use research to identify and sharpen strategic choices that members of the public and civic and political stakeholders around the world can make to realize the promise of democracy. 

For more information about the institute, including our strategic plan, click here. 

About the SNF Agora Visiting Fellows Program

The SNF Agora Visiting Fellows program supports the institute’s mission of strengthening global democracy by enabling us to expand our reach and incorporate a broader range of people into our work. This program identifies and recruits a select cohort of fellows from diverse sectors, disciplines, backgrounds, and ideologies to join the institute to work with our permanent faculty, researchers, and students for a defined period—typically one semester or less—during the academic year. Visiting fellows contribute to an academic community that is open and permeable—based at Johns Hopkins but reaching well beyond its walls.

Applications to the SNF Agora Visiting Fellows Program open in January each year for participation during the following academic year. The institute welcomes applicants from academia, civil society, government, industry, media, the performing arts, and other fields. In some years, we will have a thematic focus area based on the work we anticipate doing at the institute. In those years, not all visiting fellows will have to be part of the thematic focus, but some will.

Applicants are invited to propose their own projects or participate in the thematic focus area when one is offered. Projects could include, but are not limited to:

  • Teaching a full-term undergraduate seminar course (for AY 2023–24, the fall semester runs from 8/28/2023–12/8/2023 and the spring semester runs from 1/22/2024–4/26/2024)
  • Teaching a half-term course for first-year students (for AY 2023–24, the course runs from 10/25/2023–12/8/2023)
  • Providing other forms of teaching or training to students, the greater JHU community, and/or other publics
  • Developing and hosting a community of practice around a particular issue facing democracies (examples of institute-supported communities of practice are here)
  • Authoring a case study for the SNF Agora Case Studies series about strategic challenges civic and political actors face in strengthening democratic practice
  • Designing and developing a conference, symposium, performance, or other public engagement
  • Developing other content or strategic opportunities for the institute
  • Partnering with SNF Agora Institute faculty on research or other projects

To support a vibrant and collaborative community, SNF Agora Visiting Fellows are expected to be in Baltimore to meet the terms of their project (subject to COVID-19 restrictions). The institute is open to a variety of arrangements—an intensive month or weeks in residence, weeks in residence spread out over the course of a semester or year, weekly one-day visits over a semester to teach a class, or other proposed alternatives. We will work with fellows to ensure baseline levels of equity in residency expectations across the visiting fellows cohort, but still allow for individual flexibility. Visiting fellows are also expected to participate in all programming for fellows, and are welcome to attend the institute’s many public programs during their time with SNF Agora.


SNF Agora Visiting Fellows are invited to fully participate in the life of the SNF Agora Institute. The fellowship includes dedicated programming for visiting fellows, such as workshops and social gatherings, convenings with SNF Agora faculty and senior fellows, the opportunity to audit SNF Agora faculty courses, and inclusion in all invitation-only SNF Agora programming, including programming around the thematic area of focus. Visiting fellows also have the opportunity to meet with senior university leadership and faculty in disciplines related to their area of inquiry. And they have access to the Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries and associated electronic resources available to the university for their research. Become a visiting fellow also means joining a growing community of practitioners and scholars committed to strengthening democracy. 

To support their work during their fellowship, SNF Agora provides visiting fellows with a modest stipend to help defray the costs of their time with the institute. The stipend is pro-rated depending on the amount of time the fellow spends with the institute, the extent to which the fellow has housing needs in Baltimore, and other factors, and only rarely gets as high as $25,000 in a given academic year. (Please note this is a limited–term position that does not carry benefits.) Fellows who have their own funding that would enable them to extend their time with the SNF Agora Institute should reach out to us. The SNF Agora Institute provides all fellows with shared office space, some administrative and marketing support, and research support from students. The institute also provides assistance with locating short-term housing, where applicable.

“For my fellowship, I organized and moderated an online symposium on secularism in France and the United States, in which nine renowned panelists had a thoughtful debate on a contentious theme. I’m grateful to SNF Agora for the opportunity to develop what I believe is a scalable model for bringing together academics, policymakers, and journalists for meaningful, in-depth conversations on important and timely questions.”

Rachel Donadio, SNF Agora Visiting Fellow AY21–22


Applicants from a variety of backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Prospective visiting fellows should have a clear idea of what they would like to contribute to the institute and the JHU community during their fellowship. They should be prepared to engage in their proposed project(s) for a pre-determined period during the academic year. The specific time commitment and expected workload will be discussed in detail before an official offer is made.

The institute is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and reiterates its full support of Johns Hopkins’s policies and statements in this regard. We add to these policies our own commitment to selecting visiting fellows without regard for political preference, educational background, or place of residence.  

Selection Criteria

In general, SNF Agora Visiting Fellow applicants will be considered for participation in the program based on the following criteria: 

  • Relevance of Project to SNF Agora: The applicant’s proposed project must be related to and/or complement the work of SNF Agora. Ideal visiting fellows will be able to draw a clear line from their application proposal to the SNF Agora mission.
  • Capacity: The applicant must have the capacity within their schedule to organize and lead the range of activities they propose for their time with the institute, and participate in institute programs organized for them. An agenda of commitments will be pre-determined before the visiting fellow’s start; however, they should indicate their availability and willingness to commit to a variety of engagements throughout their fellowship.
  • Collaboration: The applicant should be willing to collaborate with other SNF Agora fellows, faculty, staff, students, and the greater JHU community. As communication and open dialogue are integral to the mission of our institute, these principles are also strong components of our programming.
  • Cohort Coherence: In selecting each cohort, we also pay special attention to the balance of expertise, backgrounds, and interests among our visiting fellows. Each year, we seek to select a group of fellows whose work will complement each other, as well as the work of the institute and its thematic focus area, when one is offered.