Lemann Visiting Public Policy Fellows

The Columbia University Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies administers the Lemann Visiting Public Policy Fellows program, a unique opportunity for scholars and practitioners to spend one or two semesters at Columbia engaging in public policy-related research, attending and contributing to public programming, interacting with faculty and students, and participating in courses.

The program is open to those with diverse disciplinary backgrounds related to public policy and social impact in Brazil. Applications are welcome from practitioners with hands-on experiences in public policy through work in government institutions or nongovernmental organizations, as well as PhD-holding academics in mid- or advanced- career stages. We especially welcome applicants who bring innovative approaches to studying or addressing major social challenges, such as education, public health, socioeconomic inclusion, urban development, and sustainable development. The center selects one or two fellows each year.

Professionals receive public policy-relevant research experiences and the opportunity to join a one-of-a-kind research and learning community at one of the world’s most prestigious universities and within a dynamic city. Previous fellows include Veveu Arruda (former mayor of Sobral, Ceara), Emanuel Ornelas (professor of economics at the Fundação Getulio Vargas), Ilona Szabó (cofounder and executive director of the Igarapé Institute), and Alexandre Schneider (former secretary of education of the Municipality of São Paulo).

Columbia’s distinguished academic and research institutions create a perfect learning environment to incubate and develop new ideas, exchange perspectives, and acquire new skills and contacts. This experience is further enriched by the diverse organizations and events in New York City, which provide unique opportunities for research, networking, and professional advancement. Fellows interact with Columbia faculty and, if relevant, develop their teaching portfolio, while strengthening Brazil-related research activities at Columbia and enriching our ability to teach and mentor students with an interest in Brazil.

Program Benefits and Support

Lemann Visiting Public Policy Fellows are appointed as associate research scholars. Among the benefits fellows receive are:

  • Opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of Columbia faculty
  • Opportunity to publicize research results through on-campus events
  • Potential opportunity to teach a course (this is optional and contingent on approval from the relevant academic department and school)
  • Office space or cubicle at the Institute of Latin American Studies
  • Access to Columbia University Libraries and other facilities
  • Option to audit courses throughout the University with permission of the instructor
  • Purchase of roundtrip ticket from city of residence to New York City
  • Monthly salary made possible by a generous gift from the Lemann Foundation. Fellows receive a salary for 5 months or 10 months, contingent on the length of appointment, paid in bi-monthly installments.


In order to come to the United States, foreign applicants will need a J-1 visa. Columbia is able to provide practitioners-in-residence with a DS2019 form, a document that is to be presented to U.S. Consulate authorities when submitting an application for a J-1 visa.


The Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies is unable to assist visiting fellows in obtaining housing in the Columbia-New York area, and Columbia housing is not provided. On-campus housing options may be available (to be paid for by the fellow), but availability is not guaranteed. Information on on- and off-campus housing is available on the Columbia Residential website.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Academic applicants should have completed their PhD and have significant years of experience beyond the completion of their PhD. In other words, the fellowship opportunity is not a postdoctoral fellowship for early career academics (unless they have significant years of experience in public administration and/or policymaking).  For applicants with relevant applied public policy/administration experience, a PhD or Master´s degree is desirable, but those without postgraduate degrees are eligible if they possess a minimum of 5 years of relevant professional experience (e.g., in public administration and/or at a nongovernmental organization).

The overarching objectives guiding the selection of Lemann Visiting Public Policy Fellows are the potential of an applicant to have a positive social impact and exert a positive influence on public policy challenges in Brazil through their proposed research interests, through sharing their knowledge and expertise with the Columbia community, and through the longer-term impact of being a fellow on their professional development. Considering these objectives, selection is based on the evaluation of various criteria including:

  • Professional merits of the applicant, including academic or professional background and accomplishments
  • Quality, creativity, and institutional fit of the proposed research project as evidenced by statement of interest and CV
  • Strength of references

How to Apply

A complete application consists of an online application form, a CV, and a statement of interest. Two letters of recommendation will also be requested from applicants selected as finalists (note: letters are not required at the time of application, we only request that you provide the names and contact information of potential references). Applications will be reviewed during a competitive process by a university committee.

The next application deadline is February 1, 2022, for consideration for a fellowship position for the 2022-2023 academic year. For the next call, applications are accepted for the following options:

  • 2022-2023 Academic Year (September 2022 until June 2023)
  • Fall 2022 (August-December)
  • Spring 2023 (January-May)

Applicants will be notified by April 1, 2022.