Cold War Archives Research (CWAR)

As part of its Initiative on Cultural Power in International Relations, the European Institute offers the Cold War Archives Research (CWAR) Fellowship. The fellowship gives students the opportunity to conduct archival research on the cultural history of the Cold War and develop original research papers based on their findings. Those interested in public and cultural diplomacy, journalistic history, and the engagement of modern Europe with other regions during the Cold War will find abundant resources for productive investigations at archives they will visit with the group.

The fellowship was created in 2015 under the name "Radio Free Europe (RFE) Research Project Fellowship" and sponsored student research in the archives of RFE in Europe and in the US. It was renamed in 2017 to "Cold War Archives Research Fellowship” as the focus was expanded to other cultural projects and archives of other media active during the Cold War.

Fellows work as a unit when in the archives and are expected to demonstrate both independent thought and scholarly collaboration. After the conclusion of each research session, the students work on individual research papers. The goal of the project is for fellows to present their research at a conference and publish peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles.

The project is led by Professor Victoria Phillips, Lecturer in History at Columbia, who teaches two courses on the Cold War at Columbia: one on public diplomacy and the other one on soft and hard power. Professor Csaba Békés, Professor of History at Corvinus University in Budapest and Founding Director of the Cold War History Research Center in Budapest, and A. Ross Johnson, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution and former Director of Radio Free Europe, serve as advisers to the project.

Applications Open - 2021 CWAR Program

In spring 2021, the CWAR project, led by Professor Victoria Phillips, will include the following online activities:

1/ Participation in live sessions with archivists who will present their online collections and how to explore them, including a session on Latin American newspapers and resources on 22 January, and a session on February 5 with the League of Nations and United Nations archivists.

2/ Participation in a seminar week for the CWAR Fellows only, from May 3 to May 7, which will combine individual online research, one-on-one meetings with archivists, and group workshops directed by Prof. Phillips.

3/ After the conclusion of the seminar week, the Fellows will work on individual research papers. They will make online presentations of their individual papers at the Annual International Student Conference of the Cold War History Research Center, Corvinus University, Budapest, on June 1 and 2.


CWAR Fellows are required to participate in the following activities:

  • CWAR Fellowship award & orientation meeting (date to be confirmed);
  • Seminar week from May 3 to May 7;
  • Online presentations at the Annual Student Conference on June 1 and 2.

For questions regarding the archival sessions, project proposal, or personal statement, please contact Dr. Victoria Phillips, V.Phillips2@lse.ac.uk. Note that fellows from Columbia University will be joined by fellows at the London School of Economics and West Point Military Academy.

Please view the Call for Applications for full program details.


Applications must include:

  • Cold War Archives Research Fellowship application form
  • CV
  • Transcript
  • Personal statement (1-3 pages):
    • Describe your current studies at Columbia and how the Cold War Archives Research Fellowship will engage with your studies and long term career goals.
    • Confirm your availability to participate in the full duration of the program.
    • Briefly describe a topic, question, or project that you will pursue.
  • Writing sample (may include a seminar term paper or published work)
  • Optional faculty letter of recommendation

Submit completed applications by January 15th  to the European Institute’s Senior Program Manager, Sharon Kim, at kim.sharon@columbia.edu.

Successful applicants will be contacted by the European Institute by February 1st .

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