WSD-Handa Fellowship

Through the generosity of the Worldwide Support for Development and Dr. Handa Haruhisha, Pacific Forum has established the WSD-Handa Fellowship Program in 2011.

The program offers resident and non-resident fellowships, in addition to hosting a number of in-person and virtual gatherings designed to enhance emerging leaders’ understanding of complex regional issues and facilitate their meaningful engagement with established policymakers, global leaders, and their peers. By providing promising next-generation voices with expert mentorship and professional development opportunities, Pacific Forum’s WSD-Handa Fellowship Program actively contributes to WSD’s enduring mission of cultivating informed leaders dedicated to cooperation, innovation, and the active pursuit of a more peaceful and prosperous world. The program’s activities are guided by the WSD-Handa Chair in Peace Studies at Pacific Forum.

The resident and non-resident fellowships both provide young scholars and up-and-coming professionals with a vehicle for delving deeper into the political issues, economic trends, and security challenges that define the geopolitical dynamics of East Asia with a particular focus on Japan. Resident and non-resident fellows join the Pacific Forum team for six months or one year respectively.

While all are welcome to apply, special consideration is given to young professionals from Southeast Asia and to those in Europe and the US whose previous academic or professional experience has focused on East Asian security issues. WSD-Handa Fellows should already have some knowledge of East Asian security and economic developments and should use this fellowship as an opportunity to take a more in-depth look into these issues and offer solutions for improvement.

Applications are currently closed for the Non-resident and Resident WSD-Handa Fellowship.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

  • Applicants may be of North American, European, or Southeast Asian nationality. Priority will be given to those from lesser-developed Southeast Asian nations including Burma, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, or Vietnam.
  • Have completed their undergraduate education and
    • Have several years of experience in Indo-Pacific security issues, or
    • Has completed or is completing their graduate education (master’s or doctoral)
  • Proficient in English (verbal and written skills).
  • For non-U.S. citizens, applicant must possess or be eligible for an extended stay visa.

To apply for the Handa Fellowship, please complete the Resident or Non-resident WSD-Handa Fellowship online application form and include all materials listed below. All materials must be written in English. Any statement in your application that is found to be false will be grounds for disqualification.

  • A cover letter detailing interests and why the WSD-Handa Fellowship will contribute to the applicant’s professional development.
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • A letter of recommendation
  • A description of a research project to undertake as a WSD-Handa Fellow (not to exceed 1,500 words)

Current Resident Fellows:

Michal Boksa (CZE) specializes in geopolitics, transnational threats, and NATO’s security policies. He has worked at the NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, NATO Defense College, and most recently within the NATO Resolute Support Mission to Afghanistan. Additionally, he has worked as a Lecturer at the University of Economics in Prague; and as a Research Fellow for the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Czech Association for International Affairs. He received his master’s degree in International Relations and Politics from the University of Cambridge.  

Current Nonresident WSD-Handa Fellows:

Walker D. Mills (USA) is a native of Philadelphia, PA, and a U.S. Marine Corps officer serving as an exchange officer in Cartagena, Colombia. He holds a bachelor’s in history from Brown University and a master’s in international relations and contemporary war from King’s College, London. Currently he is enrolled as a non-resident student at the Naval Postgraduate School in the homeland security program. He is also the 2021 Military Fellow with Young Professionals in Foreign Policy and a Non-Resident Fellow with the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Future War at Marine Corps University. His award-winning writing has been published in a range of outlets including War on the Rocks, USNI Proceedings, West Point’s Modern War Institute, Defense News, CIMSEC, the Marine Corps Gazette and Strategy Bridge. Walker volunteers at CIMSEC as an associate editor and podcast host for Sea Control. When not writing, he enjoys marathons, triathlons, and homebrewing.


Hanh Nguyen (VNM) received her M.A. in International Relations at International Christian University, Tokyo. Her research interests include Southeast Asia politics and security, and Vietnam’s foreign policy. Her analysis was published by the Pacific Forum, The Diplomat, ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute, Lowy Institute, East Asia Security Centre among others. She is also a Pacific Forum’s Young Leader member.


William Piekos (USA) is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on alignment policies in Southeast Asia, U.S.-China relations, and East Asian security issues. Previously, he worked in the Asia Studies Program at the Council on Foreign Relations and at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. His analysis on Chinese foreign policy and U.S. policy in Asia has been published by the Center for Advanced China Research, CNN, and the Council on Foreign Relations, among others. He received his MA in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania and his BA in International Studies from Middlebury College.


Gatra Priyandita (IND) is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at the Australian National University (ANU), where he studies Indonesia’s relationship with China. He specializes in the study of Southeast Asian security and has written articles on the subject, which have been published in a range of outlets, including the East Asia Forum, The Diplomat, and The Jakarta Post. He has also been involved in research projects covering China’s relationship with Southeast Asia, cybersecurity in Southeast Asia, and Australian security. Prior to his PhD candidature, he was a research assistant at Jinan University. He received a Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Security (Honours) from the ANU in 2014.


Huynh Tam Sang (VNM) (Ph.D.) is a Research Fellow at Taiwan NextGen Foundation and a Lecturer in the Faculty of International Relations at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City. He is an alumnus of the National Sun Yat-Sen University (Kaohsiung, Taiwan) and the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. His main fields of interest are East Asian international relations, Vietnam’s foreign policy, and middle-power diplomacy, with special reference to Vietnam, Australia, and Taiwan. His recent focus has been on the cross-Strait relations, Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, and Taiwan’s foreign relations. Sang has written for East Asian Policy, The Diplomat, ISEAS Perspective, East Asia Forum, Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, Taiwan Insight, Taipei Times, The Interpreter, Asia & the Pacific Policy Society, 9DashLine, among others. He can be reached at

Hong Kong To Nguyen (VNM) is a PhD student in International Relations at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University. She received a BA in philosophy and political science from Columbia University and an MSc. in International Relations from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University. She previously worked as a media monitoring analyst at the private company Vietnam Panorama in Hanoi where she closely tracked Vietnam’s socioeconomic and political developments. As a Japanese government (MEXT) scholar, she is now studying maritime security and international law in the South China Sea. Besides graduate school, Nguyen is also a part-time non-resident researcher at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Social Research of Phenikaa University, Hanoi where she has contributed to numerous publications on Vietnamese social sciences and public health.