The Alfa Fellowship Program

The Alfa Fellowship Program was founded in 2004 with the aim of fostering a community of emerging leaders who have first-hand experience in the business, public policy, and cultural environments of Russia and the region. Since then, over 200 Americans, Britons, and Germans have been able to experience the workplace, while living and traveling in Russia through this unique professional and cultural immersion opportunity.

The goals of the Alfa Fellowship Program are to expand networks of American, British, and German professionals with experience in Russia, to develop greater intercultural understanding, and to advance knowledge of Russia in the West. 

The program is funded by Alfa-Bank, and administered in the U.S., U.K., and Germany by Cultural Vistas and in Moscow by the Fund for International Fellowships and Cultural Dialogue.


Alfa-Bank is the biggest private universal bank of Russia. It has been a leader in every segment of the banking business for the past 30 years. The Bank’s active clientele is comprised of 850,000 corporate customers and 18.7 million retail customers.

Alfa-Bank has a phygital development model, which combines digital innovations and an efficient physical presence network, including 498 offices in Moscow and Russian regions, courier service in 900 cities, and 28,700 of its own and partner ATMs.

According to IFRS financial statements for 2020, the Alfa Banking Group, which comprises ABH Financial, AO “ALFA-BANK” as well as its subsidiary financial companies, had total assets of USD 61.9 billion, gross loans of USD 42.7 billion, and total equity of USD 8.7 billion. Total comprehensive income for 2020, including net profit and other comprehensive income, is USD 1.35 billion.


Founded in 1963, Cultural Vistas is a nonprofit exchange organization promoting global understanding and collaboration among individuals and institutions. It develops international professional experiences that create more informed, skilled, and engaged citizens. Cultural Vistas’ programs empower people to drive positive change in themselves, their organizations, and society. Cultural Vistas has offices in Washington, D.C. and in Berlin, Germany.

Cultural Vistas is the U.S. representative for the Alfa Fellowship Program and has administered the program since its inception in 2004. In 2009, the program was expanded to include professionals from the U.K., which Cultural Vistas administers in consultation with Dr. Andrew Monaghan. In 2014, the program grew to include German citizens, which Cultural Vistas administers together with its European office. For more information, please visit culturalvistas.org/about-us/.


The Alfa Fellowship Program is administered in Russia by the Fund for International Fellowships and Cultural Dialogue. The Fund was established by the Corporate Charity Projects Department of Alfa-Bank with the goal of ensuring successful day-to-day operations of the Alfa Fellowship Program. The Fund, also known as the “Moscow Office,” is a welcoming place that provides a supportive environment for fellows to help them adjust to life in the Russian capital. Staff in the Moscow Office work together with fellows to identify suitable placements at leading institutions in Russia by drawing upon contacts throughout industry, media and foundations. Additionally, the Moscow Office staff arrange other important aspects of the program, such as the seminar series, language courses, housing and regional trips, and assist fellows with day-to-day needs.