Nonprofit Management Scholarship Program for Cuban Citizens

Nonprofit Management Scholarship Program for Cuban Citizens

The NMS program is a professional development program for Cuban citizens interested in nonprofit management and committed to making a meaningful contribution to the nonprofit sector in Cuba.

The program provides students and professionals from Cuba the opportunity for graduate-level study in the United States as well as intensive English-language training, a professional internship in the US nonprofit sector, and a variety of professional development opportunities. Ultimately, the program will support the professional growth of emerging nonprofit leaders and thereby contribute to the development and diversification of human capital in Cuba.

Under the terms of this grant, participants must return to Cuba immediately upon completion of the program. Participants are not eligible for visa extensions or transfers under any circumstances. No exceptions will be made.

Fellowships will begin in the spring of 2018.

Program Benefits

Full-time academic study: Participants pursue a graduate degree in nonprofit management at a US university. Note that participants may not choose their own host institution.

English-language training: Prior to beginning their academic study, participants will participate in English-language training, with a focus on English for academic purposes and field-specific vocabulary and terminology necessary to succeed in a graduate-level nonprofit management program.

Internships: Participants will conduct a three-month, full-time internship with a nonprofit organization in the United States in order to gain additional hands-on experience and reinforce the technical knowledge and skills developed during the program.

Professional development: Participants will have opportunities to engage in additional professional development opportunities related to nonprofit management throughout the program, including online webinars, an in-person workshop, and a nonprofit mentoring program.

Community service: Participants will have the option to participate in a volunteer community-service project during their program.

Application Materials

For participants
Application instructions
Application form (due December 5, 2017)

For host institutions
Application form for host institutions will be available in the winter of 2017.


IREX encourages individuals of all race, color, religion, national origin, socioeconomic background, disability, and gender to apply for the NMS Program.

IREX also welcomes applications from individuals interested in arts & culture, urban planning, environment, sports, women’s issues, health, agriculture, education, LGBTI, youth development, or any other field of the nonprofit sector.

Candidates must meet the following criteria to be eligible for participation in the NMS Program:

  • Is a citizen of and qualified to hold a valid passport issued by the country of Cuba,
  • Is currently residing in Cuba,
  • Is the recipient of an undergraduate degree by the time of application and able to provide proof of prior successful academic experience,
  • Is able to begin the academic exchange program in the United States as early as the spring of 2018,
  • Is able to receive and maintain a US J-1 visa,
  • Must return to Cuba after completion of the program,
  • Is proficient in spoken and written English at the time of application, and
  • Submission of a complete application by the application deadline.

Applications not meeting the above technical eligibility requirements will not be forwarded to the selection committee.

Additional Information

Financial provisions

This is a fully funded scholarship program. The scholarship provides:

  • J-1 visa support,
  • Roundtrip travel from Cuba to host university in the United States,
  • English-language training,
  • Tuition and mandatory university fees,
  • Accident and sickness insurance,
  • Monthly allowance for housing and living expenses, and
  • A small allowance for books.

Please note that the NMS program provides no financial or visa support for dependents.

Selection criteria

The selection panel will use the following criteria to evaluate applications (not in order of importance):

  • Demonstrated experience or interest in civil society, community or nongovernmental organizations;
  • Demonstrated ability to take initiative;
  • Successful academic experience;
  • Commitment to return to Cuba following completion of the program;
  • Commitment to engaging in work and/or volunteer endeavors designed to benefit their community;
  • Flexibility and adaptability necessary for success as a graduate student in the US; and
  • Solid working knowledge of the English language with the capacity to improve to meet university admission requirements following intensive English training.

Selection process and timeline

The NMS Program is conducted as a merit-based open competition. After the deadline, all eligible applications will be reviewed by a panel of specialists. Chosen semifinalists will be interviewed and will take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) in the winter of 2017–2018, as well as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), if applicable, in the spring of 2018. Program finalists and alternates will be chosen based on results of the initial application review, interview committee, and test scores.

December 5, 2017
Application deadline

Fall 2017
Application review and selection of semifinalists
Standardized English-language testing in Cuba

January–February 2018
Semifinalist interview with selection panel

February 2018
Finalists and alternates announced
Predeparture orientation

Spring 2018
Arrival in the US
Welcome orientation
English-language training begins

Fall 2018
Academic study begins


IREX works with a network of over 500 colleges and universities throughout the United States. IREX will seek to place participants in programs that correspond to their academic and professional interests as described in the application, taking into consideration the applicant’s academic credentials and test scores. Applicants will be considered for a graduate degree program only.

How to apply

The deadline for applications for the Nonprofit Management Scholarship Program is 5:00 p.m. Havana time, Tuesday, December 5, 2017. Completed applications may be submitted via e-mail to or sent by post or faxed to the IREX office in Washington, DC:

1275 K Street, NW
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005

Fax: +1-202-628-8189