The Fellows Program is the principal forum for the interaction of practitioners with the faculty, students, and visiting scholars of the Weatherhead Center. The program was inaugurated in 1958, simultaneously with the establishment of the Center itself, in the belief that the Center's research activities would benefit from the contributions of nonacademic professionals with broad practical experience in international affairs, and that the Center could broaden the practitioners' horizons and deepen their understanding of the contemporary issues in which they are professionally involved.

Weatherhead Center Fellows may stay for an academic year, or for a shorter period, as necessary and practicable. While on campus, Fellows are exposed to social science theories and research intended to place their experiences in an academic perspective. Their primary activity is to work on a research project of their choosing or in collaboration with Center faculty associates. They may also participate in seminars at the Weatherhead Center and elsewhere, organize and lead study groups for Harvard undergraduates, provide advice to undergraduate and graduate students, and otherwise interact with the faculty, visiting scholars, and other members of the University's community. Past Fellows have been senior diplomats, military officers, politicians, journalists, international civil servants, officials from nongovernmental organizations, and business leaders from around the world.

The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs provides a multidisciplinary environment for policy-relevant research on international issues that is both academically rigorous and tied to contemporary problems. The Center is structured to encourage the highest practical level of personal and intellectual interaction among a diverse community of scholars and practitioners. It is distinctive in its recognition that knowledge is not only a product of individual academic research, but also of vigorous, sustained intellectual dialogue among scholars and nonacademic experts. To stimulate this dialogue, the Center sponsors a wide array of seminars, research programs, workshops, and conferences. These activities not only encourage interaction among resident affiliates but also serve to involve a wide variety of scholars, government officials, representatives of the private sector, and others from around the world. The fruits of Center research are made available to the public-policy community through books, articles, reports, seminars, and lectures, as well as through the personal participation of Center members in policy planning and decision making in governments and institutions outside the university. The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs is an integral component of Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences.