International Fellowship Canceled Due to COVID-19, Visa Restrictions

For the first time in over 25 years, World Forestry Center’s International Fellowship Program will not happen as planned in 2020. But we are adapting in real-time to make the program better than ever.

Group of people posing for a photo overlooking hillside of tree

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs paused all J1 visas for at least two months, vowing to review their decision every 30 days thereafter. As the 2020 cohort of Fellows was set to arrive at the beginning of April, we felt the fairest course of action was to cancel rather than postpone the program.

We did not make this decision lightly. Our Fellows already make significant financial, personal, and professional sacrifices to join us for six months in Portland. By canceling the program now, we hoped to avoid causing them additional disruption and uncertainty.

World Forestry Center informed the 2020 Fellows and will refund Program Fees. Also, to lessen the financial impact, we chose to reimburse their Visa Application fees. We also extended to them immediate acceptance into our 2021 International Fellowship Program. The Fellows were understandably disappointed, but grateful for our conclusive action.

In the absence of new Fellows, our staff will strengthen, refine, and reimagine this unique program. They are already preparing for when we can once again bring together natural resource professionals from around the world to learn from the experts of our region and from one another.

If you have questions, please contact Shadia Duery, International Fellowship Program Manager, at If you’re interested in supporting the Fellowship Program, please contact our Director of Philanthropy, Rick Zurow at

Inside World Forestry Center, looking from the base up of a tall pine tree.

World Forestry Center & COVID-19

Like nonprofit organizations all over the world, we are adapting to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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