The International Fellowships Program (IFP) was launched with a grant from the Ford Foundation in 2001. It is one of the biggest educational projects in the history of the Ford Foundation. The program operates in 22 countries of the world and offers fellowships for post-graduate study to leaders from underserved communities in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Russia. The total budget of $350 million has been projected for 10 year duration period of the program.
Fellowship recipients are exceptional individuals with demonstrated social commitment and academic achievement. Typically, they are men and women who have overcome obstacles such as poverty and discrimination to gain access to higher education, and they aspire to work for social justice in their home communities upon completion of their studies.
In Russia the IFP program has been administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE), one of the oldest educational non-profit institutions that provide support for international education. IIE Moscow representative office was established in 1993 to develop educational exchange programs. Today IIE Moscow office administers educational programs funded by the US government, and works on corporate programming.
IFP Russia Alumni Association was initiated by Russian alums in 2005. The purpose of the association is to implement joint project activities, to maintain close relations between alums and to be aware of professional interests within the alumni community. The Alumni steering committee represents the Board of the Alumni Association. The Association has been initiated and conducted a range of conferences, workshops, and seminars, in which many burning issues were raised, related to social life (e.g. reforms in education, interdisciplinary communications, social partnership, human rights, urban development, eco-settlement development, etc.) Alumni Association members attended a number of alumni international sessions in India, Vietnam, South Africa. As of March 01, 2011 Alumni Association consists 192 members.