Who we are looking for

WIP is looking for future leaders. People with passion, new ideas and approaches who want to write a better future for Northern Ireland and Ireland.

The problems facing Northern Ireland and Ireland span across all sectors of society and require creativity and leadership from people of all backgrounds and interests.  WIP seeks emerging leaders and influencers from diverse academic, socio-economic, and political backgrounds to join our community.

Applicant Characteristics

Each student is valued according to their unique perspective and potential, and while there is no ideal applicant, we look for a range of characteristics and competencies as follows:

  • Leadership Potential. Demonstrates the character, skills and experience to be a leader. Shows the initiative to have taken a formal or informal leadership role whether large or small.
  • Long-standing commitment to service. Students may have shown their commitment to others through sports, volunteer work, or have played an active role in a community or service project.
  • Maturity. Able to care for self in foreign country away from home, family and other support structures. Thoughtful and respectful of others, and positive ambassadors of the Washington Ireland Program.
  • Interested in dealing with difference. Willing to working with people of diverse views, backgrounds and political perspectives to develop constructive and mutually supportive relationships. Seeks to understand and learn from others.


In addition to our Applicant Characteristics, applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Born in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, or a citizen of Ireland or Northern Ireland, or regard Ireland or Northern Ireland as home.
  • Full time university student or other full time student of higher education in Ireland, Northern Ireland or Great Britain as of 1st June 2018.
  • Aged over 18 as of 1st March 2018.
  • Have a valid passport, or can obtain one by 1st March 2018.
  • Fit and healthy to travel and participate in the program.
  • Available to participate fully, including all orientation and return weekends and for a full and uninterrupted eight weeks in the US.
  • Work a minimum of 30 hours on a public service project before departing for the US.
  • Complete substantive 90 hour service project after return home from the US (designed to fit around full time work or study).

In 2018, we particularly welcome applications from:

  • Students on full grant from university or having all their fees based upon the income of their parents.*
  • Students who are first in their family (excluding siblings) to attend university or college.
  • Students who received Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) during the last two years of their secondary school education (Northern Ireland).
  • Students who graduated from post-primary schools supported through the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) Program (Republic of Ireland).
  • Students who are from a single parent family.
  • Students who are members of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Church of Ireland or the Methodist Church in Ireland.
  • Students studying in any of the Institutes of Technology in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Students studying in any of the six Regional Colleges in Northern Ireland.
  • Students who have completed a resiliency program (example available here) or similar program provided by their university/college.

*Students on full grant from university or having all their fees based upon the income of their parents are automatically eligible for a scholarship from WIP. See our Scholarship section for more details. 

“It’s amazing to think that just a few months ago; we sat as 30 non-likeminded strangers in Belfast. Since then, a strong and unique bond has been created. Of course there have been arguments and differences of opinion, but then that’s what happens when 29 people from a range of different backgrounds and passionate beliefs come together. Instead of allowing our differences to drive a wedge between ourselves, we have channeled them as unifying forces.

We are a class of introverts, extroverts, musicians, artists and statesmen and women in training. We are fiery but sensitive and have grown to be equally as open to be challenged as we are to challenge others, and that has been a fantastic process to watch in some of my classmates. I feel an enormous sense of pride as I watch people introduce a speaker, ask a question or deliver a speech. To see my friends and classmates overcome insecurities and flourish in D.C. has been a privilege and I have learnt a great deal from everyone. Indeed, my own progress over the summer has been strengthened by my classmates and, without their support and acceptance, I wouldn’t be at the stage I am now.”
(Katherine Parke – Class of 2016)