Between 2000 and 2020, 940 scholarship holders coming from 13 countries completed the program. Each year, the program is participated by approx. 45 scholarship holders.
In the course of their individual programs, the scholarship holders study selected aspects of economics and management, public administration and business, law, social and political sciences, journalism, NGO management, or culture management.
The scholarship begins with a preparatory course, which aims to present and systematize knowledge about Poland’s history and the current socio-political situation. Scholarship holders then go on to attend their individual programs at universities in Warsaw, Cracow, Poznań, Wrocław, and Lublin, where they write semester and diploma papers under the tutelage of their academic supervisors. Integration and knowledge-sharing meetings are organized for the scholarship holders, as well as internships in State, non-governmental, and private institutions (e.g. the Supreme Court, the National Bank of Poland, or regional marshal offices). Participants are also welcome to take part in classes concerning the preparation and execution of civic projects and teamwork.
In 2016, a new path was launched – the Kirkland Research Project. This is a one-semester offer of research and scientific internships for academics holding an established position in participating countries. Interns following this path write a scientific article under the supervision of their academic supervisor.
Each year, the program is attended by 45 individuals. Between 2000 and 2020, the program was completed by 880 people from 13 countries: 484 from Ukraine, 157 from Belarus, 58 from Georgia, 56 from Russia, 34 from Armenia, 24 from Moldova, 22 from Kazakhstan, 12 from Lithuania, 10 from Slovakia, 10 from Azerbaijan, 10 from Kyrgyzstan, 2 from Uzbekistan, and 1 scholar from Tajikistan.
The most popular faculties are economics and management, and law. Also popular are social sciences, journalism, political sciences, and international relations. Academic staff, public institutions’ representatives and experts have accounted for the largest number of professionals coming to Poland.
After the program’s completion, the graduates keep in regular touch among themselves and with their Polish hosts through the bulletin, alumni reunions, and the www.kirkland.edu.pl website. The alumni conferences, held every few years, help maintain alumni ties with Poland and with each other, as well as establish new contacts. They also offer an opportunity to broaden alumni knowledge about Poland and the European Union, and to discuss possible directions of changes in countries of the region. Former scholarship holders are supported by the Coordinator of Post-Scholarship Projects whose task is to maintain graduates’ contacts with Poland and encourage them to undertake joint initiatives such as developing national alumni associations.
The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 forced the bulk of program activities to shift online, e.g., integration and knowledge-sharing meetings had to go digital.
Because of the pandemic-related sanitary restrictions, the planned 20th jubilee of the program had to be called off. The Kirkland Scholars and Alumni meeting, scheduled for May, was to be an important event of the 20th anniversary of PAFF. Instead other meetings between Kirkland alumni were held online and attended by more than 150 participants.
Between 2001 and 2013, the Kirkland Program was managed by the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission. In the following period leading up to 2016, the Education for Democracy Foundation took over the task of managing the program.
Since 2017, some of the Kirkland scholarships have been financed from funding provided by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange.
The Foundation has disbursed $16,203,475, including $544,584 for the current edition of the program.