Friends of the International Center Fellowship

The Friends of the International Center (FIC) was a non-profit, all-volunteer organization founded in 1961 (dissolved September 2021) whose mission statement was to support international education, to foster friendship, understanding, and cooperation within the international community, and to create a meeting place on the UC San Diego campus for people who share these aims. This mission may not seem novel in present times, but, at the time, the concept of global citizenship did not exist and the very word “foreign” often engendered fear rather than igniting curiosity. The FIC operated a variety of programs, building cross-national community while supporting international scholars and their families at UC San Diego, as well as funding an academic student support program for both undergraduate students studying abroad and graduate students whose work had an international component and/or global relevance. 

The FIC student support program began with a single award in 1975 and at its peak, before the pandemic of 2020, awarded 41 scholarships to undergraduate students and 32 fellowships to graduate students. Over the life of the FIC student support program, it has awarded over $1 million to UC San Diego scholars. The FIC generously established a graduate fellowship endowment fund to support their mission in perpetuity at UC San Diego.


  • Up to 12 graduate fellowships of $2,000 each will be awarded for 2022-23.

  • Each graduate academic program may nominate a maximum of two outstanding eligible graduate students for these awards.

  • Ruth Newmark Award: In any year in which there is more than one Friends Fellowship award granted, one award will be noted as the “Ruth Newmark Award” to the student who best exemplifies service to others and/or is the most dynamic. Ruth Newmark is one of the founders of the Friends of the International Center, guiding the Program since its inception in 1975, and serving as its Committee Chair since the 1980s. Ruth is highly committed to UC San Diego, as was her husband, Leonard Newmark, the founding faculty member for the Department of Linguistics (1963). Ruth’s passion stems from her personal history: she was an immigrant, attended a public university, received academic scholarship support, and dedicated her life to promoting international education, cross-cultural understanding, and fostering community and friendship across ages and borders.


  • Nominees must be enrolled full-time in a UC San Diego matriculating graduate degree conferring program.

  • UC San Diego graduate students planning to conduct research or study abroad. (The review committee is aware that the coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted travel and will consider future intention to conduct research or study abroad as fulfilling this criterion.) 

  • Graduate students in residence at UC San Diego during 2022-23 (Any Nationality). 

  • Students must have a distinguished academic record.

  • The student must have completed one year of full-time graduate study for the Ph.D., D.M.A., M.F.A., or M.P.I.A. at UC San Diego by the time of award. Academic PhD's or Masters Students who are obtaining the highest degree level in their field study.

  • Students must be registered for a full-time program of study and research in 2022-23 at UC San Diego or, in the case of foreign student nominees, will be on campus at UC San Diego in 2022-23.

  • Students who promote international friendship, understanding, and cooperation in a meaningful way.

    The following degree programs are not eligible:

    • School of Medicine M.D. (currently listed)

    • Skaggs School of Pharmacy Pharm.D. and Masters Degree in Drug Development & Product Management

    • Rady School of Management M.B.A.

Each department may nominate ONLY two (2) students, please rank your nominees with #1 being the strongest candidate.

Please submit the following for each student applicant:

  1. Letter from the department chair or graduate advisor containing:

    • An evaluation of the nominee's graduate performance to date and potential for future contributions to research or artistic activity in the student's discipline.

    • Other support the student is receiving and the student's financial need, other financial support the student is receiving, dept. fellowships, other extramural funding. 

    • Contribution the student has made, if any, to promote international friendship, understanding, and cooperation at UC San Diego.

    • Program ranking, if more than one student is nominated.

  2. Statement from the nominee

    • Two-page maximum

    • In the statement, the nominee should describe their qualifications for the award, graduate study, career plans, financial need, past and proposed contributions to promoting international friendship and understanding at UC San Diego. The nominee should also explain their intended use of the award. Consider discussing compelling reason funding is not or has not been available that is needed to continue course of study equipment, etc.

      • A willingness to volunteer, mentor and/or pay it forward with their peers is encouraged though not a requirement. 

      • A willingness to meet with one or more of their donors is encouraged though not a requirement. 

  3. Student's vitae with current email and mailing address.

  4. Student's current transcript. (Unofficial is acceptable.)


Only department submissions will be accepted; students and faculty must work with their departments and may not self-nominate.

Generally, the annual call for nominations happens in Winter Quarter. Scholars will be selected and notified as soon as possible thereafter.

Department representatives should submit nominations via this Google Form:

To see a sample of the nomination form click here to view the form.

Questions can be directed to the Student Services and Support Portal, write the name of the fellowship in the subject line.

  • April 30, 2023 - Nomination Deadline

  • Is this fellowship limited to STEM disciplines?

    • No, this fellowship is open to many difference academic disciplines, please review the eligibility criteria above for more details.

  • Is this fellowship open to international and domestic graduate students?

    • Yes, all interested students (domestic and international) should seek departmental nomination.