U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship

The U.S. is undergoing a demographic shift. People of Latino origin are now the second largest ethnic group in the nation. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanics will become 29% of the U.S. population by 2060.

The  U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship brings together talented and emerging leaders who are committed agents of transformation in U.S. Latino and other underserved communities. U.S. Latino Leadership Fellows have addressed disparities in their communities through efforts in public policy, education, economic development, health care, immigration, social entrepreneurship, and a variety of other fields.

The U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship is a game-changing opportunity for practitioners, scholars, and activists ready to lead the transformation of U.S. Latino and other underserved communities.  

U.S. Latino Leadership fellows are leaders who:

  • Create sustainable change in underserved communities by leveraging community assets

  • Inspire new ideas and innovative change in local and national programs and policies

  • Build cross-sector partnerships and collaborations

We need talented people driven to tackle immense challenges regardless of the odds. We need emerging leaderswho want to develop and enhance their ability to create necessary and sustainable change. We need you.

The Center for Public Leadership acknowledges the generosity of the
William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and the Coca-Cola Foundation for their support of the U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship.  


"The Center for Public Leadership has enriched my experience at HKS. I have felt supported in developing projects and hosting events related to my interest in economic development and public finance. The co-curricular programming has opened doors for me to engage with fascinating speakers and policymakers at the school and from throughout the U.S. Through leadership simulations I have become a better leader and communicator, and I have built a lifetime bond with my fellowship cohort "
- Rodrigo Dorador MPP/ID '20


Step 1: Apply to Harvard Kennedy School: Application deadline is early December, 2019.

Step 2: Apply for the Fellowship: Application deadline for the U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship is early February, 2020.

To apply for the U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship please visit the Student Financial Services website

Applicants must submit:

  1. A biographical profile, not to exceed 150 words. (This profile should be short, concise and in the third person.) Please include the following highlights: an introductory sentence including your name; the degree you are pursuing at Harvard Kennedy School in addition to any joint degree at Harvard or concurrent degree program at another graduate or professional institution; where you are from and where you currently reside; an overview and highlights of your relevant work/professional experience; significant leadership achievements including awards or certifications; and educational credentials with the degrees earned and institutions attended.

  2. A document containing written responses to the following two essay prompts: 1. Please discuss a topic you are passionate about as it pertains to reducing disparities in U.S. Latino communities and your experiences as it relates to this topic. Please use specific examples in your response. (750 words or less) 2. Please discuss your interest in the U.S. Latino Fellowship and how your leadership goals have motivated you to apply. (200 words or less)


Finalists for the U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship will be interviewed spring, 2020 by members of the CPL U.S. Latino Leadership selection committee. Please visit our Fellows FAQs page for more information.

Program Information

  • U.S. Latino Leadership Fellows are awarded a full tuition scholarship and health fees for up to two years, depending on the length of their graduate degree program.

  • Fellows are eligible for a living stipend up to $25,000 for up to two years depending on their master’s degree program.

  • Applicants will be considered based on their leadership potential and demonstrated interest in reducing disparities in U.S. Latino and other underserved communities in the United States. Successful candidates will also demonstrate excellent academic credentials.

  • A comprehensive co-curricular leadership development program set within the Harvard ecosystem—a robust network of faculty, students, and opportunity.

The Fellowship Experience

Fellows will participate in a proven, yearlong co-curricular program designed by Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. This not-for-credit program is intended to inspire, provide concrete opportunities for leadership skill-building, and connect fellows with an interdisciplinary network of peers and mentors that will last a lifetime.

The fellowship co-curricular program includes dinner seminars, an annual retreat, and robust field experiences grounded in discussions with visionary leaders whose work has had significant impact in marginalized communities. The program will also focus on strengthening core competencies central to public leadership. Delivered by expert faculty and practitioners, workshops and lectures will cover topics including promoting strong moral character and ethical decision making, mastering the art of negotiation, and leading effective teams and organizations among others.

The co-curricular program also provides a hands-on leadership learning lab where fellows can workshop new ideas, problem-solve intractable challenges, and receive valuable feedback. Fellows play an active leadership role in driving programming that directly impacts their learning and that of their peers. When fellows graduate, they join the ranks of over 600 innovative and highly accomplished CPL alumni who are forging transformative change across sectors.

Key Fellowship components include:

  • Fall Annual Retreat: CPL Fellows begin engaging one another and developing the network of fellows, faculty, and alumni that will support their aspirations as leaders.

  • Dream Trusts: Dream Trusts are a structured opportunity for fellows to receive counsel and support from a trusted and experienced group of peer advisors. Each fellow has at least one opportunity to present a leadership challenge to the group.

  • Leadership Discussion Series: On almost a weekly basis, fellows engage one another as well as eminent practitioners and local and national leaders on current challenges and opportunities for Latino leadership.

  • January Field Experience Trip: Fellows choose a city or small region to take a multi-day field experience. On this trip, they meet with local leaders in order to gain an understanding of society’s deep rooted problems and innovative approaches to resolving them. Fellows plan, coordinate, and lead the field experience. 

  • Connection with CPL and U.S. Latino Public Leadership Initiative Network: Fellows engage with a diversity of emerging leaders from the U.S and other parts of the world through opportunities like roundtable discussions, mentoring experiences with fellowship alumni, leadership skills workshops, and networking events.


The fellowship is open to all admitted degree program students at Harvard Kennedy School. Domestic students from underrepresented groups with an interest in government, medicine, law, education, business and public health are encouraged to apply.

Award decisions will be primarily merit-based but with a consideration for financial need as determined by the HKS Student Financial Services.

Commitment to Nondiscrimination

As a matter of commitment, policy, and law, Harvard Kennedy School does not discriminate on the basis of gender, gender identity, color, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, intellectual focus, disability, or veteran status. The School strongly believes diversity enhances the value of all its activities, from research and teaching to degree programs and public events. The School encourages applications from candidates who are interested in careers in public service and acknowledges a special responsibility to train effective leaders in public policy and management.

  • If I am interested in applying in 1-2 years, may I contact you to learn more about the fellowship?
    Yes, we are happy to share more about the fellowship and answer any particular questions you may have.

  • I am undocumented. Can I still apply?
    Applications are welcomed from all individuals applying to Center for Public Leadership fellowships regardless of immigration status. All undocumented individuals are eligible for consideration of CPL merit-based fellowship awards whether or not they have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA). If you have any questions about applying to HKS as an undocumented person, please contact the Harvard Kennedy School Office of Admissions.

  • I am Latin American and have worked on similar issues in Latin America. Am I eligible to apply?
    We encourage any applicant with a demonstrated interest in working on issues affecting Latino and other underserved communities in the United States to apply for the U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship

Is there a person I can speak to about my interest in the fellowship and my application?

Yes, for more information on the U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship, please contact:
Marisabel Jaramillo, Program Manager, U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship
Harvard Kennedy School, Center for Public Leadership
617.496.4764 | marisabel_jaramillo@hks.harvard.edu