See Where Our Scholars Have Explored
In any given year, Luce Scholars are living and working throughout Northeast, Southeast, and South Asia. They are in big cities and small villages, working in such diverse fields as public health, the arts, economic development, environmental science, and many more. The Scholars contribute their talents to NGOs, government agencies, private companies, universities, think tanks, and museums. You can see where this year’s Scholars are on the map below or use the filters to customize your view. You can also use the directory of scholars to search all cohorts, countries, and fields.
Past Luce Scholars have been placed in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Timor Leste.
Established in 1974, the Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship that offers early-career leaders immersive, professional experiences in Asia. We aim to forge stronger relationships across geographic borders by creating opportunities for young Americans to deepen their ties and understanding of the countries, cultures, and people of Asia.
Open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, the Luce Scholars Program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 18 Luce Scholars each year. We welcome applications from college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals in a variety of fields, with a range of backgrounds and experiences, who have had limited exposure to Asia.
Today, there are about 800 Luce Scholars alumni living around the world, making invaluable contributions as global leaders and citizens and building lifelong professional relationships that began with this program. Their experiences demonstrate that there is no better way to build mutual understanding and a sense of common purpose than through sustained, immersive, in-person engagement with others.
Applications for the 2024–2025 Luce Scholars competition will open on April 25, 2023. The application deadline is October 16th at 5:00 pm ET.
The Luce Scholars Experience
The Luce Scholar year is a 13-month commitment beginning with the orientation in June through the wrap-up meeting in July of the following year.
After a series of virtual sessions that begin in April and a five-day in-person orientation program in Asia in late June (all designed to build community and prepare for a year of living and working in Asia), Luce Scholars spend July and August engaging in intensive language training in their respective placement countries. Language study is a program requirement and is fully funded by the Luce Foundation through the intensive two-month period with additional funds available to each Luce Scholars for continued language training throughout their Luce year.
Individually tailored professional placements—a hallmark of the Luce Scholars program—begin in early September and are arranged for each Scholar based on their professional interest, background, and qualifications. These assignments, where Luce Scholars work alongside Asian colleagues, are the heart of the Luce Scholar experience.
Specific placements have included:
- An architect’s atelier in Tokyo
- A dance theatre in Kuala Lumpur
- An agricultural and environmental center in Hanoi
- An economic growth initiative in Ulaanbaatar
- A pediatric hospital in Bangkok
- A TV network in Beijing
In addition to the professional placement, the Luce Scholars cohort is an essential part of the Luce Year. Individuals share their experiences with their fellow Luce Scholars through regular group meetings and bonds of mutual learning, understanding, and support as they face shared challenges and serendipities.
The cohort convenes mid-fellowship for a five-day retreat to reflect, recharge, reevaluate, and bond as a group. At the end of the Luce year, the cohort gathers once more for the wrap-up meeting. This meeting is an opportunity for Scholars to share their experiences with one another and reflect on their time as Luce Scholars.
What We Look For
Since its founding, the Luce Scholars Program has sought to spread experience of the region far beyond those who are interested in building their professional careers around engagement in Asia. We are committed to engaging young professionals who might not otherwise have an opportunity to get to know and build professional networks in Asia.
Luce Scholars are open-minded, curious, and engaged in the world. They are open to new ideas and new perspectives. They are individuals from a wide range of fields and come from a variety of backgrounds, but all share a common objective—to make the world a better place.
The Program seeks Scholars who demonstrate the following traits and interests:
- Exploratory curiosity
- Interest and embrace of diverse perspectives, beliefs, and modes of living
- Commitment to serving and supporting others
Aida Gureghian is the program director for leadership at the Henry Luce Foundation. She previously served as the assistant dean for professional development at the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University, where she designed and implemented innovative programming to cultivate leadership and public engagement skills. Aida also served as the assistant dean for students at NYU, where she launched several pathway programs for underrepresented students. Prior to pursuing a career in higher education administration, she taught history at the University of Pennsylvania and Brooklyn College. Aida earned her bachelor's degree in history from UCLA, her MPhil from Oxford University, and her PhD in history from the University of Pennsylvania.
Michelle Douenias manages all aspects of the Luce Scholars Program and oversees The Asia Foundation grant. She previously worked as program associate and event coordinator for the Luce Scholars Program and prior to that, program assistant for the Luce Scholars and Clare Boothe Luce Programs. Before joining the Luce Foundation in 1990, she worked as a jewelry designer and briefly taught K–12th grade art. She holds a BA and a teaching certificate in fine arts from Ohio Wesleyan University. Among other various volunteer positions in the Morris School District and local community, Michelle served on the Board of Trustees of the Morris Educational Foundation from 2013-2019.
Fiona Carter-Tod holds a BS in Biology from the University of Richmond, where she also double majored in Leadership Studies. At her core, she is a researcher interested in the intersection of biological research and health equity. As a 2021–2022 Luce Scholar based in Colombo, Sri Lanka she worked as an independent researcher for the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA). During her time with CEPA she completed a project that investigated the role of community organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka. Currently, she works as the Luce Scholars Fellow and Presidential Fellow at the Henry Luce Foundation. In this role she is continuing to fortify her professional connections across Asia through assisting with all aspects of the Luce Scholars Program.
The Luce Foundation has partnered with The Asia Foundation (TAF) on the Luce Scholars Program since its inception. With its extensive network of field offices in Asia and connections in the region, The Asia Foundation provides operational and administrative support to the Luce Scholars Program including, but not limited to, the coordination of professional placements, intensive language study in Asia, orientation in the US, and meetings in Asia.
The Asia Foundation serves as our boots on the ground. There is a TAF office or a TAF representative in every country where we place Luce Scholars.