Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship


The Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship was launched in 2013 as a new component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. It provides opportunities for U.S. citizens to participate in an academic year of overseas travel and digital storytelling in one, two, or three countries on a globally significant theme. This Fellowship is made possible through a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the National Geographic Society.

The wide variety of new digital media tools and platforms has created an unprecedented opportunity for people from all disciplines and backgrounds to share observations and personal narratives with global audiences online. These storytelling tools are powerful resources as we seek to expand our knowledge of pressing transnational issues and build ties across cultures.

For the 2016-17 competition, the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship will accept proposals to undertake an in-depth examination of a globally relevant issue or issues in one country, or in multiple countries, by comparing and contrasting how that issue is experienced from one country to another. Utilizing a variety of digital storytelling tools, including text, photography, video, audio, graphic illustrations, and/or social media, Fellows will tell their stories, or the stories of those they meet, publishing their work on a dedicated blog hosted on the National Geographic website. Stories deemed by National Geographic to be of interest or merit may be considered for publication on other National Geographic platforms. In addition to receiving Fulbright benefits (for travel, stipend, health, etc.), Fellows will receive instruction in digital storytelling techniques, applicable to Fellows’ projects, including effective blog writing, video production, photography, and other relevant training, by National Geographic staff prior to their departure. Fellows will be paired with one or more National Geographic editors for continued editorial direction and mentoring throughout their Fulbright grant period. Fellows will provide material for a blog on the National Geographic website at least once per week, and will have the opportunity to develop additional content for use by National Geographic and the Department of State.

Applications for the 2016-2017 academic year will be accepted for the following themes:

  • Our Human Story
    Themes: Culture/Geo-politics, Contemporary Social Issues (Sociology, Urbanization, Crisis, Migration)
  • Our Living Planet
    Themes: Places, Environment, Climate Change, Conservation, Landscapes, Oceans
  • Critical Species
    Themes: Conservation of Species, Extinction (Storytelling in this area should include a public policy frame)
  • New Frontiers
    Themes: Innovations in areas of Health, Medicine, Technology, Space, Energy, Maritime issues.

2016-2017 Competition Deadline: October 13, 2015 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Visit us.fulbrightonline.org for more information.

Fulbright-National Geographic Fellows

2014-2015 Fellows

Group photo of the 5 fellows from 2014-2015.Michael Waldrepis a documentary filmmaker and multimedia artist who traveled to Mexico City to examine its people and neighborhoods.

Anthropologist Erin Moriarty Harrelson tapped into her own experience as a deaf person to explore the emergence of deaf culture in post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia.

Filmmaker Daniel Koehler is creating a documentary examining culture change among the San people of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana.

Artist and educator Mimi Onuoha traveled to the United Kingdom to explore the chasms and intersections between the real and online lives of a diverse group of Londoners.

Ann Chen, an artist and researcher, mapped the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline in Canada using collective storytelling and citizen science.


2015-2016 Fellows

Photo of Ari BeserAri M Beser will travel throughout Japan to tell the stories of the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the 5th Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami, and nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima. Using photo essays, videos, and articles, his Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship will give voice to the hundreds of thousands of people directly affected by nuclear technology today. These survivors, Hibakusha in Japanese, will be the subject of his blogumentary “Hibakusha: The Nuclear Family.”

Photo of Ryan BellRyan Bell is a writer and photographer who travels the world documenting “cowboy” cultures. He’s ridden with the horsemen of Argentina, Canada, Mongolia, and the American West. For Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship project titled “Comrade Cowboys,” Mr. Bell will explore rural Russia and Kazakhstan where pastoralists are working to rebuild cattle industries decimated by the fall of the Soviet Union.


Photo of Janice CantieriJanice Cantieri, is a journalist and recent graduate who will be spending her Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship traveling for nine months between the Pacific island nations of Kiribati and Fiji. She will use written stories and journals, images, and video footage to tell the stories of the Banaban Islanders, who were displaced to Fiji in 1945, and the stories of those currently facing displacement from Tarawa, Kiribati to Fiji as the sea level rise inundates parts of the islands.


Photo of Hiba Dlewati

Hiba Dlewati is a Syrian American writer who will spend nine months moving throughout Jordan, Turkey and Sweden to document and narrate the stories of the Syrian diaspora using multimedia storytelling. By the end of her Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, she hopes to produce a film that expresses the frustrations and triumphs of a people without a place, or perhaps, a people of many places.


Photo of Christina GerosChristina Leigh Geros, a Tennessee native, is a designer, researcher, and educator who received the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship to use videographic, photographic, and written narrative to give voice to the Ciliwung River and communities through an interactive website, cartographically registering each story and exposing the relationships between urbanism, ecology, and politics.