FELLOWSHIPS> International Buddhist Ministry at Harvard Divinity School

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Buddhist Ministry Initiative International Fellows Program at Harvard Divinity School

The Buddhist Ministry Initiative at Harvard Divinity School trains future Buddhist religious professionals in terms appropriate to modern, global conditions. Drawing on the strengths of Harvard's faculty resources in the academic study of religion and Buddhist studies, the Buddhist Ministry Initiative (BMI) coordinates a range of courses on the history, thought, and practice of Buddhism, in Buddhist languages, and in Buddhist arts of ministry. The initiative also supports the field education of Buddhist ministry students in hospitals and other sites of pastoral care, and offers the insights of Buddhist textual traditions and practices to students from all religious traditions who study ministry at HDS.

Part of the Buddhist Ministry Initiative, the International Fellows Program affords an opportunity for individuals who are deeply engaged in Asian Buddhist communities to do coursework and field education focused on Buddhist ministry at Harvard Divinity School for one year. This fellowship program was created in 2013, thanks to a generous gift from the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation. The program is intended for students from Asian countries who plan to continue their work in ministry in their home countries following the completion of the program at HDS. Applicants who are already enrolled in a degree program at their home institution may propose to spend a year at HDS to enhance their understanding of Buddhist ministry from an international perspective. Other applicants may propose to come to HDS for the year to strengthen an existing practice in Buddhist ministry. A major aim of the program is to increase exchange of knowledge and understanding among students of Buddhist ministry in Asia and in the United States, thus students who are awarded this scholarship will be expected to participate fully in classes as well as co-curricular community activities.

International Fellows receive scholarships to cover full regular tuition and living expenses. The fellows are engaged as full-time students who may enroll for a maximum of eight half-courses for credit within a period of one academic year. They receive full credit for work completed in this program and may transfer these credits elsewhere, or in some cases may petition to have some or all of the work count toward completion of one of the degree programs at HDS.

The deadline for application is February 15, 2021, and all materials must be received at the HDS Registrar’s Office by that date for an application to receive consideration.

Complete applications include:

  • A completed BMI International Fellows Program application form
  • An updated résumé or curriculum vitae.
  • Transcripts from each postsecondary institution attended showing all undergraduate and graduate work.
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International Language Testing System (IELTS) is required for all applicants whose native language is not English, or who did not complete their baccalaureate degree at an institution where the language of instruction is English. 
  • Three letters of recommendations, at least two of which should address the applicant’s intellectual abilities and readiness for studies at the graduate level. The third letter may address the applicant’s standing in a Buddhist community and promise for work in Buddhist ministry.

All these materials should be gathered and sent as one email to the Registrar’s Office, Harvard Divinity School, at HDS Registrar registrar@hds.harvard.edu with the subject heading, “BMI International Fellows Program”.

Among qualified applicants, preference will be given to members of Asian Buddhist communities who plan to continue their work in ministry in their home countries upon completion of their studies at HDS.

Accepted applicants will be responsible for securing a visa for their stay in the United States. They will then work with HDS administrators to arrange any necessary supporting documentation to be supplied by HDS.

Inquiries regarding the program may be sent to the Program Coordinator, Julie Barker Gillette, at jgillette@hds.harvard.edu.