Frequently Asked Questions
Eligibility and Application
Q: What criteria are used to select fellows?
A: Please see Eligibility, How To Apply, and Application Materials. The selection committee takes into account each applicant's past professional or research experience in global affairs, negotiation & mediation, or arms control & nuclear issues. Letters of recommendation play an important role in distinguishing applicants. ACONA also takes into consideration future growth potential of a candidate, and overall cohort diversity in terms of nationality, professional experience, gender, and other criteria.
Q: How many Fellows will be accepted to ACONA?
A: 16 Fellows per year.
Q: I am not located in the United States, Russia, or the EU. Can I apply to ACONA?
A: Yes! ACONA is committed to including candidates from all continents, and especially candidates from traditionally underrepresented communities.
Q: I am currently a graduate student. Can I apply to ACONA?
A: ACONA will consider applications from emerging professionals, including advanced PhD candidates, however, the strongest applicants will have several years of relevant work experience in their field. If you are not sure if you are eligible to apply, please contact us.
Q: I applied to the ACONA program last year, but was not selected. Can I re-apply this year?
A: Absolutely! ACONA receives more qualified applicants than it can admit every year, so we strongly encourage you to reapply. Multiple fellows have been accepted on their 2nd try.
Q: Do re-applicants have to complete the entire application from scratch?
A: No, they can be similar, but you should update your application materials and resubmit them.
Q: If I'm re-applying, do I have to ask my recommender to re-submit a recommendation letter?
A: Yes. This can be the same recommendation letter as the one submitted in the previous cycle. However, we do request that you reach out to your recommender to re-submit said letter to ACONA.
Q: Is there a minimum level of English language proficiency required? Is there a minimum TOEFL score?
A: English-language fluency is required. The suggested minimum TOEFL score is 100.
Q: When do applications open? When are they due?
The call for applications for the 2023-2024 ACONA Fellowship Cohort closed on May 13, 2023. The call for applications for the 2024-2025 ACONA Fellowship Cohort will open in March 2024.
Q: What type of letter of recommendation? How long should it be?
A: Recommendations can come from anyone who can attest to the candidate’s work or research experience and fitness for the ACONA program. Letters should clearly identify the recommender’s name, position, and organization. ACONA values recommendations that demonstrate the quality of interaction with the candidate over the seniority of the recommender. Applicants are hence advised to seek letters from individuals who are familiar with their work regardless of their job title. Recommendations should be no longer than one page. Recommenders should send their letter directly to the ACONA Secretariat.
Q: Can I apply to ACONA if I am currently completing a PhD?
Q: Does a masters degree in a related field count as 3-5 years of professional experience?
A: It depends. A masters degree on its own does not count towards 3-5 years of professional experience unless you completed relevant professional work or research concurrently.
Q: I see that several of the previous fellows already have significant diplomatic, military, or arms control experience. Should I still apply?
A: Yes! We seek to admit a diverse cohort of ACONA fellows each year from a wide range of professional and academic backgrounds. We look for at least 3-5 years of advanced professional or research experience (including work done concurrently with higher education) and consider the full profile of each applicant.
Q: I don’t have extensive professional experience with arms control. Am I too young / inexperienced to apply to ACONA?
Not necessarily. For example, strong candidates could not have experience with arms control as long as they make a compelling case why ACONA would benefit their professional development. ACONA strives to create the next generation of arms control negotiators, so those who wish to enter the field are encouraged to apply.
Q: I don’t see my nationality represented in the past fellows. Is it worth applying?
A: Yes, absolutely! With only 16 fellows each year, it’s not possible for ACONA to represent the entire world. However, as ACONA continues to grow, we seek to expand the list of countries from which our fellows are drawn. Applicants of all nationalities are welcome. ACONA does not discriminate based on nationality.
Q: I’ve been put on the waiting list. What does this mean?
A: If you’re on the waiting list, this means that the selection committee believes that you would be an excellent addition to ACONA. From all applications, the selection committee creates a shortlist of candidates from which the 16 fellows are selected. Those on the shortlist are offered a spot on the waiting list.
Q: I’ve applied for an ACONA fellowship and I've been rejected. Can you provide feedback so that I can improve my application for next time?
A: Unfortunately, we are unable to provide individual feedback to applicants.
Q: I’m waiting to hear back about my ACONA application. Is there a problem?
A: There could be technical problem. Please 1. check your spam folder, and 2. add email@example.com to your safe senders list. If you you have not heard from us by late June, please email us.
Boot Camps and Travel
Q: When and where are the ACONA boot camps?
A. 2023-2024 Fellowship Cohort: Bootcamp 1: August 14-18, 2023 (virtual); Bootcamp 2: January 8-12, 2023 (virtual); Bootcamp 3: May 13-17, 2024 (Reykjavik, Iceland). The third bootcamp includes the 3rd ACONA Conference on May 17, 2024. (2024-2025 Fellowship Cohort: dates to be announced.)
Q: I will need a visa to travel to Iceland. Will ACONA help me with the visa process?
A: ACONA will provide an official invitation letter in support of participants’ travel to the boot camps.
Q: I am not yet sure that I will be able to participate in all three ACONA boot camps. Should I still apply?
A: ACONA Fellows must firmly commit to the August boot camp and full attendance of the 12-month Fellowship upon acceptance into the program. You should also clearly state your intention to attend both the January and May boot camps in your application materials. Only fellows who participate in all program elements will receive a Certificate in Arms Control Negotiation.
Program and Logistics
Q: How much of the program costs are covered by ACONA?
A: ACONA will cover the cost of domestic and international travel to Iceland (economy class) and double room accommodation during the third boot camp for all ACONA participants. Also covered: course materials, some meals during boot camps. Not funded: visa application costs and fees, other personal, incidental, and misc. expenses. Please note that the first two bootcamps will be held virtually, and there will thus be no travel expenses associated with participation.
Q: How long is the program? What is required of ACONA Fellows?
A: The duration of the Fellowship is 12 months. ACONA Fellows are expected to attend three boot camps (4-6 days) and to work on a collaborative research project in between boot camps. The work between boot camps will take place online and via phone and video conferencing. The amount of time spent on research projects will vary.
Q: What is ACONA’s working language?
Q: Does ACONA grant degrees?
A: No, ACONA is not a degree-granting institution.
Q: Does ACONA award stipends? Do Fellows get paid?
Q: Do fellows obtain a Certificate?
A: Upon successful completion of the program, Fellows will receive a Certificate in Arms Control Negotiation issued by the Arms Control Negotiation Academy. Fellows must participate fully in all program activities to obtain a certificate.
Q: Who runs ACONA?
A: ACONA is an international consortium of several academic institutions. The consortium is led by Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre at the University of Iceland, in collaboration with Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program, the Project on Managing the Atom at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University.
Q: How does ACONA make decisions?
A: The ACONA Executive Board (EB) is responsible for executive decisions and the supervision of the ACONA fellows selection process. The ACONA Curriculum Development Group (CDG) is comprised of scholars from the U.S., Europe, Russia, and China and jointly develops the ACONA Fellowship Curriculum. The ACONA International Advisory Board (IAB) is comprised of distinguished arms control experts who provide strategic advice and expertise to the academy.
Q: Where is ACONA based?
A: ACONA is an international consortium based at Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre at the University of Iceland. The ACONA Secretariat is staffed jointly by the ACONA consortium members. Fellows are not in residence at the academy. Rather, they participate in three boot camps on location (or virtually).
Q: Who finances ACONA?
A: To cover its expenses, ACONA has drawn on funding from several sponsors. See here for a full list (please scroll down to "Our Sponsors").
Q: How do I contact ACONA?
A: Email the ACONA Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the ACONA office at +354 525 5262. Our mailing address is:
Arms Control Negotiation Academy (ACONA)
Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre
University of Iceland
Aragata 9, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland