"The landscape and the people were far more gripping and dramatic than anything I had ever seen"

Alistair Cooke

"The Harkness Fellowship was a brilliant experience and a pivotal point in both my professional and personal life (I met my wife in New York while I was a Fellow)"

Simon Stevens

“It gave me an understanding of America, its culture and institutions and a deeper global perspective”

Aminatta Forna

“It broadened my horizons – figuratively and literally – in ways that have influenced and benefited my entire life”

Sir Colin Blakemore

"It provided the time and place for an invaluable period of creative development and art world contacts that continue to this day"

Nigel Hall

"Without the Harkness fellowship, I would never have become really internationally focussed, or been able to hold my own in US academic circles - it was life changing"

Baroness Julia Neuberger

"The Harkness Fellowship was the most profound experience of my life"

Harold Evans

Our Purpose

The Harkness Fellows Association and Transatlantic Trust is the alumni association of the Harkness Fellowships, an international programme offering study fellowships in the USA. The Company is a charity set up with the aim of encouraging transatlantic understanding. By sustaining a supportive learning network of Harkness Fellows, we develop, encourage and promote initiatives that enhance international learning and understanding.

Membership of the Harkness Fellows Association is open to all interested in transatlantic relationships. The core of our members are former Harkness and Commonwealth Fund Fellows who at some stage in their careers enjoyed the benefit of living, studying and travelling in the United States of America,

If you wish to join the Harkness Fellows Association, please click here ».


Harkness Fellowships (known as Commonwealth Fund Fellowships until 1960) were set up by Edward Harkness – a major benefactor on both sides of the Atlantic – in 1925. They were funded by the Harkness family foundation, the Commonwealth Fund of New York. Over the years the scheme has gradually changed to reflect prevailing priorities for the Commonwealth Fund and transatlantic study opportunities, as well as to include fellows from many other countries, not just the UK. Read more »

The Harkness Fellows Association, set up by a number of former holders of Harkness Fellowships in the UK, was registered as a charity on 13 September 2001. The HFA has no full-time staff. Its activities are carried out on a voluntary basis by committee members and part-time administrative assistance is bought in from an educational organisation, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). Read more »

Forthcoming Events


The Harkness Fellows Association runs a regular programme of events open to Harkness Fellows and their guests, and other interested parties.

Our next bookable event is The Rise of China: What Consequences for British Interests and Policies? Our speaker is Charlie Parton, OBE, a diplomat who spent over 22 of 37 years as a diplomat working on and with China. 

Click here to book

Save the Date

How national is the national interest?  Speaker Anthony Cary CMG, (HF 1980-82)

In person meeting September 13th 2022, early evening London UK

Harkness Group

Harkness Stories

The Harkness Fellows Association welcomes all returning fellows to its network and events.  See more about the most recent returning Harkness Fellows in Healthcare Policy and Practice here. Harkness and Commonwealth Fund Fellows have spanned the breadth of human endeavour in their studies and careers. Many have led innovation and discovery in their respective fields. Many have been active in voluntary and charitable activities as well as pursuing successful careers. The HFA wants to share more stories of former fellows.  Please share your alumni story with us. See here for guidance on what to cover in your story.

Read more »


Ian Hay Davison: A Second Introduction to the States

Ian Hay Davison (CFF 1957-58) was a  chartered accountant when he started his fellowship. He later became a managing partner at the UK firm of Arthur Anderson, then went on to spend 17 years as a financial services regulator, chairing a number of different bodies. Here he gives us a glimpse of US life in the 50s as he started his Commonwealth Fund Fellowship. 

Read more »

Recent Events

Harkness Fellows meet regularly to hear stimulating speakers and discuss current topics. In keeping with the spirit of inquiry that all Harkness Fellows have, fostered by their time in the US, the issues explored are wide ranging and provocative.

Professor Keon Lenaerts (HF 1978-80), President of the Court of Justice of the European Union spoke to the HFA recently. Commitment to the rule of law by all EU Member States, and acceptance of the primacy of EU-law over national law, has proved powerful in enabling integration. The way legal matters have been handled over the 70 years of the Union’s development enhances trust between states.

Read more »