Number of recipients
In addition to being a prestigious academic exchange program, the Fulbright Program is designed to expand and strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of other nations and to promote international understanding and cooperation. To support this mission, Fulbright Scholars may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host community, in addition to their primary activities.
The U.S. Scholar Program to Belarus has been suspended through the 2022-2023 academic year. We are accepting applications for the 2023-2024 academic year. Potential applicants for 2023-2024 should discuss the status of the U.S. Scholar Fulbright Program to Belarus with IIE (EuropeEurasia@iie.org) before applying.
The purpose of the program in Belarus is to offer U.S. Scholars a possibility to teach or teach/research in any discipline. Research-only grants are not available. The scholars are expected to teach at least two or three courses per semester for undergraduate or graduate students. For teaching/research awards, a preferable teaching/research ratio is 70/30, yet it is negotiable with the hosts.
The Fulbright Scholars will be asked to give public talks, engage with the host university faculty and students’ community, advise on curriculum development and participate in the conferences in addition to their primary activities.
Upon arriving in Belarus, U.S. Embassy Public Affairs staff will conduct an in-country orientation for all visiting faculty and their family members.
The U.S. Embassy in Minsk will engage the Scholars in its educational and cultural activities and provide opportunities to build bridges with other local institutions and network with professional communities.
Thus, a Fulbright placement in Belarus will contribute to the noble goal of the Fulbright program in expanding and strengthening relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of other nations.
Minsk-based or regional universities; other locations depending on concurrence of the host institution. Final affiliation is to be confirmed by U.S. Embassy in Minsk. Applicants are encouraged to contact universities of potential interest for a letter of invitation, though this is not required.
Four or five months for a one-semester grant; nine months for a two-semester grant. Flex grants are not available.
The academic year in Belarus runs from September 1 through June 30.
Teaching will be in English. Russian-language proficiency is helpful but not required. For research, Russian or Belarusian language proficiency, sufficient to complete the proposed project, is required. For applicants without local language proficiency, feasibility of conducting the project must be demonstrated in the project statement.
U.S. Scholars are required to enter Belarus on a U.S. passport with a Belarusian visa. The U.S. Embassy staff in cooperation with the host institution will assist with visa application process. Detailed info on applying for a Belarusian visa is available at http://usa.mfa.gov.by/en/consular_issues/visas/.
International visitors coming to Belarus for first time are entitled to receive a short-term single-entry visa for up to 90 days. Upon arriving in Belarus, the host institution will help the Scholar to get registered with local authorities, receive a residence permit for the length of the program and apply for multi-entry visa, which will allow teh Scholar to freely travel out of country. Usually this process takes up to 4-6 weeks.
The Belarusian rental market offers excellent options of modern, well-appointed apartments. The estimated monthly cost of living includes rent of about $1,000 for a two-bedroom apartment in Minsk; in the provinces the prices will be around $500. The U.S. Embassy staff will connect to a real estate agent and will assist with identifying an appropriate accommodation.
There is an international English-language school (QSI, K-12) in Minsk. All cities have top-notch public transportation amenities and well-stocked supermarkets and department stores. Taxi fares and living expenses prices are moderate, significantly lower than in most European capitals.
In general, medical care in Belarus is below U.S. standards. However, a few private medical/dental care companies have staff licensed in Canada or one of the European Union countries. Medical services there are accessible and affordable. Government hospitals provide reliable medical assistance in emergency situations.
For Flex grants: round trip travel will be included for each segment of the grant for the grantee only.
$1,500 books and educational materials allowance for teaching and teaching/research grants; should be donated to the host institution (or other entity) upon grantee's departure.
Additional living and housing allowance is provided for grantees with one accompanying dependent or two or more accompanying dependents. These amounts range from $150/month to $300/month.
In addition, a travel allowance of $2600 is provided for one dependent and $5200 for two or more accompanying dependents.
Reimbursement for dependent education expenses may be available on a limited basis, depending on funding availability and grant duration. Grantees should confirm with IIE that proposed expenses meet eligibility criteria; however, availability of funds may not be known until the end of the academic year.
Dependents must accompany the grantee for at least 80% of the period abroad and a minimum of one semester in order to qualify for additional dependent benefits. Dependent benefits are not provided to Flex grantees.
Please refer to the figures above for an estimate of total monthly Fulbright award benefits. Benefits may include a monthly base stipend, living and housing allowances, and additional one-time allowances. Benefits may vary based on a scholar's current academic rank (or professional equivalent), the city of placement, the type of award (teaching, teaching/research, or research), and the number of and duration of stay of accompanying dependents. Research-only or Professional Project grantees receive a standard stipend that is not adjusted for academic rank. In most cases, dependent benefits will not be provided to Flex grantees, or to grantees pursuing grants less than four months (or a semester) in length.
Final grant amounts will be determined prior to the start of the academic year and are subject to the availability of funds. The United States Department of State reserves the right to alter, without notice, participating countries, number of awards and allowances.
Belarus is located between the European Union to the west, Russia to the east, and Ukraine to the south, and Lithuania and Latvia to the north. Belarus is a sovereign country whose people have a unique national identity and are struggling to secure democratic changes and fundamental freedoms under a dictatorial regime. Since the fraudulent presidential election of August 9, 2020, a longtime autocrat clings to power while large-scale peaceful protests ensued for several months as never before in Belarus' recent history. The Belarusian authorities' ongoing violent crackdown, which has led to the imprisonment of thousands, and the protesters' shifting tactics have created stalemate conditions. The United States, along with the European Union, Canada, and the United Kingdom, imposed additional sanctions on senior Belarusian authorities and entities responsible for this oppression. The Lukashenka regime actively hinders, harasses, and at times arrests the Belarusian citizens that the regime views as opposing it, and people are under constant surveillance. Consequently, academic freedom, as understood and practiced in the West, is much more restricted in Belarus. Teachers and students are prohibited from exercising their civil liberties both on and off campus and many have been jailed for attempting to exercise their basic liberties.
The system of higher education is state-run and reflects its Soviet roots with little substantial change since the fall of Communism. The Belarusian Ministry of Education governs 42 public (State) and 9 private (non-State) higher education institutions that operate under unified standards of teaching, management, assessment, and research. Most of the higher education institutions are in the capital city of Minsk. The academic year runs from September 1 through June 30 and is traditionally divided into 2 semesters, with the second semester beginning in early February. However, in the fall semester, lectures are usually scheduled between September and mid-December, and the spring semester, between early February and May.
There have been few efforts at educational reform over the last several years. In May 2015, Belarus was awarded membership in the European Higher Education Area conditioned on fulfillment of a road map emphasizing not only Bologna degree structures, but also academic freedom, university autonomy and democratic and civic values. Belarus took certain efforts to bring its degree programs into compliance with European standards, yet the Soviet Union's legacy is still apparent in the country's higher education sphere. These and other issues must be resolved before Belarus is made a full member of the Bologna process.
Outside of academia, Belarus offers ample opportunities for recreation. Belarus has developed infrastructure and a high quality of life with rich cultural offerings. The Internet is cheap and fast, except of course when the government cuts it off for reasons of political control. The air is relatively clean, despite Belarus having received significant radiation after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and many natural areas are pristine. Minsk is a great jumping off point for weekend trips to regional capitals, such as Kyiv, Warsaw, and Vilnius, which are reachable by car (although COVID restrictions have significantly disrupted travel temporarily).
A Fulbright placement in Belarus is a great opportunity to explore this vibrant country, contribute to the development of its educational system, and engage with partners across the country. Local people are genuinely interested in interacting with Americans and learning more about the American experience.
Visit our Scholar Directory to view and search all Fulbright alumni. You can also learn more about Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors.