About the Community Solutions Program (CSP)

The Community Solutions Program (CSP), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and implemented by IREX, provides community leaders from around the world with an intensive, professional development exchange program in the United States from August to December 2021. CSP fellows gain valuable experience in community work and strengthen their capacity for leadership and development in their home countries.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the Community Solutions Program, applicants must meet the requirements listed below:

  • You are between the ages of 25 and 38 at the beginning of the year;
  • You are a citizen of an eligible country;
  • You are living and working in your home country (individuals with refugee status working on behalf of their home community may be given special consideration);
  • You have at least two years of experience working on community development, either as a full-time or part-time employee or volunteer
  • You have a high level of proficiency in spoken and written English at the time of application
  • You are not a citizen or permanent resident of the US and have not applied for US permanent residency within the past three years
  • You are eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa

Selection Process

Competition for the Community Solutions Program is merit-based and candidates will be considered without respect to race, color, religion, national origin, or gender. After the deadline, all eligible applications will be reviewed by a selection panel. The panel will then choose semifinalists to be interviewed. Semifinalists will also be required to take an English language exam or submit recent TOEFL or IELTS scores. After the interviews, finalists and alternates will be selected, pending their performance on their English language exam.


Applicants will be considered based on the following criteria:

    • Professional or volunteer work on substantive community development projects;
    • Knowledge of and experience in one or more of the Community Solutions Program focus areas (Environmental Issues, Tolerance and Conflict Resolution, Transparency and Accountability, and Women and Gender Issues);
    • Leadership experience and potential;
    • Professional and program goals; and
    • Intercultural and English language skills.

Program Activities

Four-month U.S.-based fellowship: CSP fellows are matched with non-profit organizations, private entities, and government offices across the United States where they work with peers (or U.S. colleagues) on initiatives related to issues they face in their own communities.

  • Community Leadership Institute (CLI):The cornerstone of CSP is the Community Leadership Institute, a leadership academy that provides customized learning and coaching to each CSP Leader. The CLI uses a blended-learning approach, where leaders participate in online sessions and in-person workshops, receive professional coaching, engage in experiential learning through tailored professional fellowships at U.S. host institutions, and interact with other professionals in their field. CSP enables fellows to work across the multiple communities — their individual fellowship cohort, the larger CSP alumni community, their U.S. host community, and their home community — to learn and disseminate knowledge and best practices aimed at generating positive community change.
  • Community Action Projects:CSP fellows develop innovative community action projects in collaboration with their U.S. host institutions and implement them after they return to their home countries. Project summaries are made available online, allowing fellows to share their work with other community leaders around the world.
  • International network of community development professionals:CSP fellows continue to network and collaborate with like-minded leaders from around the world on global development issues through alumni activities and opportunities offered through the online Community Leadership Institute platform.
  • Quick facts:
  • Since 2010, staff have supported more than 630 fellows from 84 countries in becoming more effective leaders.
  • Fellows have served more than 340,500 direct beneficiaries through follow-on projects.
  • The CSP program has partnered with over 350 diverse host organizations in 39 U.S. states and the District of Columbia
  • After completing the Community Solutions Program, 98% of fellows felt CSP made them a more effective community leader.

Application deadline:

October 28, 2020, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time To APPLY visit: http://oas.irex.org/csp

  • Participants have CSP Practicum in the U.S. during August – December 2021

Connect with the Community Solutions Program

For questions, email IREX at: csp@irex.org

For more information about the program and application details, see our website: www.irex.org/csphttps://exchanges.state.gov/non-us/program/community-solutions

For updates on program activities and alumni, follow us on social media:

Facebook: @CommunitySolutionsProgram and @ExchangeProgramsAtState
Twitter: @cspecairex and @ECAatState