The Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship program. It was launched by the Henry Luce Foundation in 1974 to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society who have had limited exposure to the region. The program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Luce Scholars each year, and welcomes applications from college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals in a variety of fields who have had limited exposure to Asia.
Luce Scholars have backgrounds in virtually every field other than Asian studies, including but not limited to the arts, journalism, law, medicine, science, public health, environmental studies, and international relations.
Luce Scholar candidates are nominated by seventy-five colleges and universities. Completed applications necessary for institutional endorsement are due by September or early- to mid-October at most participating schools.
Applications from interested candidates not affiliated with a nominating institution will be reviewed by the Luce Scholars program staff; strong candidates will advance to the first-round interview and participate in the Luce Scholars competition along with candidates put forward by nominating institutions.
Successful candidates should have a record of high achievement, outstanding leadership ability, and clearly defined interests with evidence of potential for professional accomplishments. After two rounds of one-on-one interviews, the new class of Luce Scholars is announced in February.
We strive for diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of the Luce Scholars Program; they are critical to our mission of developing young leaders and to the future of American Society. Diversity in any given class of Luce Scholars enriches each Scholar’s learning in Asia and enhances the Luce “cohort effect.” In the selection process, we broadly consider candidates’ unique perspectives and experiences, including but not limited to those of marginalization, disadvantage, or hardship, and how they faced or overcame such challenges, which may be rooted or reflected in race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender expression, economic status, disability, and/or religious belief, as well as family background (e.g. first-generation American, or first-generation to college). Luce Scholars are chosen without regard to field of interest, marital status or financial need.
Luce Scholars gain new perspectives and cultural insights on their host countries through immersive living and working experiences in Asia. A professional placement is individually arranged for each Scholar on the basis of his or her professional interest, background, and qualifications.
Placements can be made in the following countries or regions: Cambodia, mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.
The “Luce year” begins in June with orientation in New York. Luce Scholars engage in intensive language study in Asia in July and August. Placements begin in September, and conclude with a wrap-up meeting in July of the following year.