ERC Summer 2019 (June - August) Program Application - Deadline has passed.
TajRupt is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization with a mission of disrupting the educational status quo and empowering the youth in Tajikistan. Launched in 2016, TajRupt now incorporates two areas of work: civic education, and artificial intelligence. The civic education component is implemented through our Extracurricular Resource Center (ERC) in Khujand where local high school and university students partake in a 10-week after-school curriculum free of charge. The objective of the CivicEd curriculum is to enable the youth to develop critical thinking skills through active learning, community-building, and social impact projects over the course of 30 lessons. Combining in-class learning on topics across public policy, media, and global affairs, with extracurricular initiatives and community service, the ERC seeks to transform the students into leaders of change in their local communities. To date, hundreds of students have completed various parts of the curriculum over the course of five 10-week iterations in the Khujand area. The average age of an ERC student is 16 years old, with priority in enrollment given to academically excelling students from lower-income backgrounds.
FEllowship program overview:
The summer fellowship program enables excelling students enrolled in liberal arts curricula to facilitate development of critical thinking skills among students in Tajikistan. In the process, the fellows gain an opportunity to become immersed into the local context of Tajikistan, balancing formal work responsibilities with informal community activities alongside the students. The fellowship program was established over the course of summer 2018 with three fellows – two undergraduate students from the University of Chicago through our partnership with the Institute of Politics, and one graduate student from the Evans School of Public Policy at University of Washington.
Summer 2018 fellows taught activism courses on gender equality, media freedom, and globalization, led study groups on topics across economics, sociology, and literature, and conducted research on digital expansion of our curriculum. Explore the impact of their work here.
Summer 2019 Program:
The fellows will be responsible for delivery and refinement of our critical thinking curriculum, as well as devising a plan for scaling of TajRupt’s civic education effort. The format of our newly integrated CivicEd curriculum is unlike a traditional course. It emphasizes active learning through in-class exercises, case studies, and Socratic method of inquiry while exploring concepts across public policy, philosophy, media, markets, activism, technology, and leadership. In addition, the curriculum is powered by technology through the use of Canvas as the student learning management system and Poll Everywhere to gauge student opinion in live mode. Separated into four levels, the curriculum is delivered through a combination of English, Russian, and Tajik. The fellows will be responsible for leading English sections of the CivicEd course alongside TajRupt’s teaching staff.
Furthermore, the fellows will design and lead study groups – seminar-style courses focused on particular subjects of interest to the fellows. Last year’s study groups explored topics across economics & statistics, art & sociology, and literature & linguistics. The fellows will receive training from staff before arrival in designing the curriculum for their study groups.
The following qualities are essential for prospective teaching fellows:
Demonstrated passion for teaching: While teaching experience is not required, passion for teaching is a must. We view the civic education curriculum as a foundation toward emergence of a young generation holding democratic values, which places teaching at the center of a transformational experience for our students.
Previous leadership experience: The teaching fellows are the CEOs of their classrooms, managing the entire process from curriculum formation to adjustment of lesson plans. The ability to organize, execute and adjust is key in this setting.
Perseverance: Teaching is not a simple endeavor - especially in extracurricular format. Perseverance will enable the fellows to work through the daily challenges of teaching and classroom management.
Openness to feedback: We have instituted a meticulous feedback process on an organizational level (see “Team Culture” section below). We expect the teaching fellows to be open to change upon feedback from staff and students in order to optimize both their work and TajRupt’s impact.
Adaptability: Culture shock is an inevitable component of transitioning into a new context that is far from home, pushing the fellows out of their traditional comfort zones. The fellows who are adaptable and open to cultural diversity will have a smoother process of adjustment to Khujand.
Initiative-taking: We pride ourselves in retaining a start-up approach to our nonprofit work. While we have built up internal protocols and procedures for project implementation, the field for new initiatives remains wide open - and we expect the fellows to take up the challenge of systemically improving our organization during their time at TajRupt.
Previous experience with study abroad or extensive travel is preferred but not mandatory.
TajRupt follows a flat organizational structure that disregards hierarchy and values mentorship. As a summer fellow, you will not have a supervisor to report to, but rather a mentor to work with. Each fellow will have a ‘support system’ pair from among local staff members who will serve as focal points of contact before arrival and throughout the fellowship period. Moreover, the fellows will work directly with the organization’s founder on day-to-day basis. We place emphasis on transforming your fellowship experience into an opportunity for personal and professional development.
As for team culture, TajRupt has introduced a ‘radical transparency’ approach that facilitates provision of open and honest feedback, encourages constructive criticism, and is focused on identifying structural shortcomings. Our bi-weekly team meetings are accompanied with post-meeting reflection periods during which the team members fill out a Google Form providing feedback to one another on a list of key team attributes, highlighting positive and negative elements of performance at the meeting, and tracking each other’s progress on feedback over time. Each individual piece of feedback is then compiled into an aggregate sheet that is accessible to all team members, maximizing transparency of the process. As a summer fellow, you will be expected to fully participate in this process.
note for stanford applicants:
This year, TajRupt has partnered directly with the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University to secure funding for a Stanford fellow. The selected fellow will work under the faculty mentorship of FSI Director Ambassador Michael McFaul. Funding for the fellowship will be provided jointly by FSI and the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program. To apply through FSI, please visit the Institute’s application portal. Stanford applicants will undergo an on-campus interview process. If you have questions about the FSI program, please contact the Academic Program Manager Patrick Laboon at email@example.com. If you would like to participate in an on-campus information session about the TajRupt fellowship, please sign up here.
We value the time that prospective applicants put into exploring our fellowship opportunity. As such, we follow one-week turnaround policy for all applications (e.g. you will hear within a week of applying whether your candidacy has advanced into the interview stage). The interview process is structured into two separate rounds: behavioral interview, and work-sample test. The following is the application timeline:
Deadline: April 1st
February - early April: Rolling two-round interview process.
Early April: Offers extended & list of fellows finalized.
Mid-April - late May: Virtual pre-arrival sessions and trainings, travel to D.C. for visa, etc.
Early June: Arrival to Tajikistan and on-boarding activities.
Mid-June - late August: 10-week fellowship period.