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Public Scholars Fellowship:
Call for Applications


The Moynihan Center at The City College of New York (CCNY) invites applications for the inaugural cohort of the Moynihan Public Scholars Fellowship. Moynihan Public Scholars will receive unrestricted awards of up to $100,000, and will spend one year at CCNY writing, teaching, and engaging in public conversations on critical issues in public affairs. The inaugural Fellowship term will commence September 2023.

The deadline for this competition has passed. If you have any questions, please contact


The Moynihan Public Scholars Fellowship takes inspiration from Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s celebrated career, which traversed the academy, government, and the media. Moynihan’s scholarship was “public” in the sense that it informed his work as a public servant and provoked impassioned public debate. In this spirit, Moynihan Public Scholars will be chosen from among academic researchers, public service practitioners, and writers or journalists with a demonstrated ability for blending critical thought, political engagement, and popular communication.

Like Senator Moynihan, Public Scholars will pursue bold, heterodox ideas—especially ones that cut across entrenched partisan divisions—in service of the public good. Public Scholars will be enthusiastic participants in an intellectual community that serves City College, including yearly cohorts of Moynihan Undergraduate Student Fellows, and New York City at large. Through workshops and public events, Public Scholars will draw inspiration from peer fellows and luminaries in their respective fields, to catalyze and amplify innovative thinking on public affairs.

Fellows will receive unrestricted awards of up to $100,000, and will have dedicated office space on City College’s historic campus in uptown Manhattan, New York City

A brief overview of the year of writing, teaching, and public engagement is outlined below.

Fall Semester (Sep – Dec):
During their first semester on campus, Fellows will focus on their individual writing projects and participate in a weekly seminar to learn from and share with other Moynihan Public Scholars, City College faculty, invited guests, and the Moynihan Student Fellows. Over the course of this semester, each Fellow will give two presentations in the seminar: one for peers, including academics, community leaders, public servants, and journalists from New York City; and one for Moynihan Student Fellows, chosen from CCNY’s undergraduates. Each presentation will be an opportunity to engage with distinctive intellectual communities, offering fertile ground to germinate new ideas.

Winter (Jan):
Reflecting the academic calendar, Fellows will spend January working independently on their own writing projects and preparing for their teaching semester.

Spring Semester (Feb – May):
During the spring semester, fellows will continue to work on their own writing projects. Fellows will also teach one undergraduate course, composed of Moynihan Student Fellows and other undergraduates, informed (or inspired) by their work. This is an opportunity to engage more deeply with CCNY’s diverse and intellectually curious student body.

Summer (Jun – Aug):
Fellows will spend the summer months working independently on their own projects, workshopping public-facing outputs with cohort members, and leveraging Moynihan Center networks in media, government, philanthropy, and community organizations to advance and amplify their work.

Reflecting Senator Moynihan’s multi-faceted career, Public Scholars may come from a variety of professions and academic backgrounds. We welcome applications from researchers, public service practitioners, and journalists or writers working on long-term writing projects.

Applicants must hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Applicants who identify as academics must hold a PhD. Graduate students are not eligible to apply.

The Public Scholars Fellowship is open to all applicants, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. However, during its inaugural year, the Moynihan Center is not able to sponsor visas, and may not be indicated as an affiliate or sponsor of visa applications.

The Public Scholars Fellowship is a residential fellowship. Applicants must be able to reside within a commutable distance to City College’s Harlem campus during the term of their fellowship (September 2023 – August 2024).

The Moynihan Center at The City College of New York (CCNY) advances the twin goals of public scholarship and public service. Taking inspiration from Senator Moynihan’s celebrated career, the Center cultivates leaders who cross the boundaries between critical thinking, public service practice, and popular communication. Through two signature fellowship programs and a rich slate of public events, the Center works to ensure that the next generation of public scholars and public servants reflects the diversity of viewpoints and lived experiences represented at City College and beyond.

The Moynihan Center is based in the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at The City College of New York. Founded in 1847, CCNY is the flagship of The City University of New York (CUNY) system. City College was created as a radical effort by the people of New York to make higher education available to all, regardless of income, religion, ethnicity or background. As the first free public institution in the United States, CCNY was a big idea and a dramatic achievement that contributed to the creation of “free academies” across the United States. From its earliest moments, CCNY has been a political project, one that places a commitment to equity and opportunity through affordable education at its core.

With 4,000 of CCNY’s 15,000 students, the Colin Powell School is the largest student division of CCNY. It has a unique mission within the CUNY system and one that is distinctive nationally: a commitment to transforming one of the nation’s most diverse student populations into tomorrow’s global leaders. The Colin Powell School combines the social sciences with a commitment to leadership development and civic engagement, all in service to a student body that is 80 percent people of color, half immigrants, nearly two-thirds first in their families to go to college, and mostly from low-income neighborhoods. The Colin Powell School serves precisely those in our society who come from communities that lack power. Our mission is to prepare them to take power—and challenge systems of power along the way—in order to position them as new generations of leaders across sectors and in service to society.

CCNY is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. We are committed to equity and inclusion and strongly value the experiences of historically marginalized people and encourage them to apply. We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics.