Echidna Global Scholar

The Brookings Institution Scholar
Location Washington, D.C.
Application deadline 12 November 2023
Contract type Internship
Hours Full-time
Salary Applicants selected for the Fellowship will receive a stipend totaling $22,500 USD to support living costs during the pre-residency and residency periods (subject to U.S. tax withholding and reporting).
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The Brookings Institution is looking for the next cohort of Echidna Global Scholars to strengthen the capacity of local leaders to advance gender equality in and through education across the Global South.

Brief description of the organisation

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.

They bring together leading experts in government and academia from all over the world, rooted in open-minded inquiry and representing diverse points of view, who provide the highest quality research, policy recommendations, and analysis. Research topics cover a full range of public policy issues in economics, foreign policy, development, governance and metropolitan policy.

With fair and transparent business practices, clear communication, mutual respect, and a collaborative atmosphere that offers both professional and personal development opportunities, Brookings offers an inclusive and welcoming workplace that values the efforts of all contributors.

Brief description of the role

The Echidna Global Scholars Program’s Visiting Fellowship is hosted by the Center for Universal Education (CUE), within the Global Economy and Development program, at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

During a six-month Fellowship at Brookings, Scholars conduct individual research focused on improving learning opportunities and life outcomes for girls, young women, and gender non-conforming people, develop their leadership and evidence-based policy skills, build substantive knowledge on gender and global education issues, and expand their pathways for impact. Upon completion of the fellowship, scholars transition to the Echidna Global Scholars Alumni Network, a growing community of practice aimed at promoting their significant, sustained, and collective influence on gender-transformative education globally, regionally and locally.

Since its inception in 2012, the Echidna Global Scholars Program has hosted twelve cohorts of fellows and supports an alumni network. The Fellowship consists of two phases:

1. Pre-residency: sets the basis for the research training, leadership, and strategic impact components of the program. With the support of CUE fellows, scholars begin an intensive period of in-country data collection and analysis, accompanied by a series of virtual workshops, group working meetings, and individual advisory sessions. Scholars are introduced to the leadership concepts and tools that will be the focus of the leadership development program throughout the Fellowship and begin developing their impact strategy, identifying and engaging with local stakeholders. Time commitment is roughly 15-20 hours a week during this phase.

2. Residency: the residency period in Washington, DC focuses primarily on expanding Scholars’ reach and impact through publication and dissemination of scholars’ research on Brookings’s multimedia platforms, strategic impact capacity building, leadership development, and networking. The residency phase is designed to help scholars amplify their impact by strengthening skills and practices for analyzing, communicating, and leveraging research for policy contexts and key audiences, as well as expanding scholars’ networks and promoting visibility through Brookings convenings and strategic collaborations, culminating in the Gender Equality in and through Education Research and Policy Symposium.

In addition, during the two-year period following residency, the CUE team provides targeted support to alumni as they implement action plans in their home countries. Through impact planning, strategic advisement and leadership development work, CUE aims to enable scholars to leverage the knowledge, skills, and connections built throughout the Fellowship to catalyze change in their contexts.

Key roles and responsibilities 

Once selected to participate in the Fellowship, Echidna Global Scholars will spend approximately two months in pre-residency, working remotely from their home countries, followed by three and a half months in residency at The Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. During this time, Scholars will work with the Center for Universal Education to complete a uniquely developed research project and strategy for policy impact designed to increase the evidence base and improve learning opportunities and life outcomes for girls, young women, and/or gender non-conforming people in their countries.

Following their time in residence in Washington DC, Scholars will be supported in the implementation of activities in their local context that build on the findings of their research and will join a growing alumni network of global leaders working to change the lives of girls, young women, and/or gender non-conforming people in countries and regions around the world.

The Fellowship is a full-time, exclusive commitment during the residency period and a substantial part-time commitment during the pre-residency period (roughly 15-20 hours/week). The Program expects Echidna Global Scholars to:

  • Conduct professional, in-depth research, write an evidence-based policy paper, and present their research and policy recommendations at Brookings organized events.
  • Participate in individual and collective capacity strengthening and capacity sharing activities, including the leadership development program, as well as individual and group reflections.
  • Develop a post-residency project proposal with the intent of expanding the impact of their research upon return to their home country.
  • Interact professionally with other Brookings scholars and community members and be active participants in Brookings events (organizational meetings, informal discussions, seminars, presentations, private and public events), particularly those of CUE and the Global Economy and Development program.
  • Engage with key actors from the extended research, practice, and policy community within their home countries, in and around Washington, DC, and globally, by participating in additional meetings and conferences, and networking with the broader development community.

Education/experience requirements:

The Program selects professionals with substantial experience in and ties to the Global South, a clear intent to return to the Global South after completing the period of residency at Brookings, and a passion and demonstrated commitment to improving learning opportunities and life outcomes for girls, young women, and gender non-conforming people in and through education.

Applicants should have a background in education, gender and/or women’s studies, development, public policy, economics, or a related social sciences or humanities area, with a minimum of 10 years of professional experience in research/academia, non-governmental, community or civil society organizations, or government. Candidates with experience in both academic or government settings and community organizations are especially encouraged to apply.

A Master’s degree is required.

Knowledge/Skills Requirements:

Successful applicants will have an in-depth understanding of education, development, and gender issues, strong analytical and writing skills, the ability to collaborate with others, openness to give and receive feedback, and the capacity and desire to learn with speed and flexibility.

All Echidna Global Scholars must demonstrate proficiency in English.

Priority areas for 2024:

Geographic priorities: West Africa, South Asia, Central America; countries and regions marked by conflict and crisis, as well as those with high levels of gender-based violence, child marriage, early childbearing, and low levels of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Targeted actors and communities of interest: Socio-economically and politically marginalized girls, young women, and gender non-conforming people; children or young people experiencing homelessness; indigenous, migrant, displaced, or nomadic populations; out of school children and youth; and LGBTQ+ youth.

Research priorities: Echidna Global Scholars’ research topics must be focused on education priorities for girls, young women, and/or gender non-conforming people, as they are relevant in their specific contexts, and build off a gender transformative framework, seeking to actively challenge discriminatory social norms and/or strengthen the agency of girls, young women, and/or gender non-conforming people. Special priority will be given to projects that focus on ensuring learning and skill development (as opposed to a primary or sole focus on access/enrollment/ attainment); improving life outcomes, for example by supporting transitions to higher education and employment; research that employs intersectional feminist and/or decolonial methodologies and moves beyond disciplinary or practitioner silos, and research that focuses on the following key questions for education systems transformation:

  • What are the most important barriers to receiving a high-quality education and how do those barriers differ for girls, women and gender non-conforming people?
  • How do these barriers interact with the combined or intersectional effects of inequality in education?
  • What are the most effective policies or programs to address those barriers both locally and globally?
  • How do compounding and systemic issues (for e.g., Covid-19, climate change, political and/or religious contexts) change what we know about the barriers for these populations and the solutions for addressing them?

Applicants who have not worked explicitly on gender equality and education previously are welcome to apply but should include an explanation of how this focus on improving learning opportunities and outcomes for girls, young women and gender non-conforming people can be integrated successfully into their current and future work.