|Program Background Fast Facts
“One of our most effective tools of relationship-building is English language training. Even in the most difficult of settings, we find that people value these skills and see them as building blocks to a better life."
EL Fellow Program - Background
The EL Fellow Program has placed more than 1,000 Fellows in over 80 countries since 2001. All fellowships are funded professional positions, not volunteer opportunities. Assignments are for a 10-month period, typically from September through June. In countries with a Southern Hemisphere academic cycle, the assignments may be from February through November. Fellows cultivate international experience teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language in all regions of the world at:
- Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)
- Foreign Ministries of Education
- Binational Centers
- Teacher-Training Institutions
- Other Related Language Education Institutions
- Judith A. McHale, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
Goals of the EL Fellow Program
Enhance English teaching capacity overseas.
Provide people around the world with the English communication skills they need to fully participate in the global economy and society.
Broaden foreign teachers’ and students’ perspectives on international issues.
Share information about American values, democratic representative government, free enterprise and the rule of law.
Advance the larger goal of reaching mutual understanding among nations.
The EL Fellow Program began as English Teaching Fellows (ETF), which was established in 1969 to increase U.S. presence, to raise academic standards, and to provide native speakers of English trained at the Master’s level in Teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language (TEFL/TESL) at selected Latin American Binational Centers. In the 1970s, the first ETF was placed in Africa at an American Center in Madagascar. By the 1980s, the program had grown to include universities, teacher training colleges, and other tertiary level institutions worldwide.
In 1991, the English as a Foreign Language Fellows (EFL) program was initiated, with funding from Support for Eastern European Democracy (SEED), in response to the dramatic increase in the demand for English language instruction in the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. As the success of the program grew, funding from other sources, including the Freedom Support Act (FSA) and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), helped encourage and foster the positive impact of the EFL Fellows on both English learning and mutual understanding. Each year from 1991 to 1996, as many as 46 Senior Fellows were placed in Eastern Europe and, later, in Russia and Eurasian countries. These Senior Fellows trained local teachers of English, thereby enhancing communication skills and raising the standard of English instruction.
In 2001, the two programs were combined under one name: The English Language Fellow Program. The School for International Training (SIT) worked closely with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassies around the world. Since 2011, the EL Fellow Program has placed over 1,000 Fellows in over 80 countries.
Since academic year 2006-2007, CIED at Georgetown University has administered the EL Fellow Program through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of State. To ensure that each group of Fellows reflects the rich diversity of the United States, Georgetown has designed a candidate selection system with six Regional Recruitment Centers located across the continental United States. These centers actively recruit and pre-screen applicants in their region.
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”
- Henry Brooks Adams