World Selection Committee

The Selection Committee is responsible for the nomination and selection of awardees. It is required to discuss each of the nominees before making a final decision. Discussions should be held at a meeting set in advance (most likely a teleconference) and all members of the Selection Committee should be invited to participate. Exceptions may be made for conflicts of interest. Studies have shown that implicit bias is mitigated when committees take the time to thoughtfully reflect and discuss, instead of making snap judgments.

Ideally, the Selection Committee will have at least four and no more than seven members, representing different geographical regions of the world. The Committee should also include experts from civil society and from the U.S. Department of State’s program alumni with expertise in one of the five thematic areas of the fellowship: Civic Dialogue and Peacebuilding, Open and Participatory Government, Women and Gender, Resilience and Sustainable Development, and Youth Engagement.

Each Selection Committee member should have equal opportunity to contribute to the evaluation process, regardless of their nationality, gender, employment sector, or region of the world. Whenever possible, Selection Committees should include members from underrepresented groups to help ensure that their decisions are informed by diverse points of view.

Following a major uproar after India lost the 2007 Cricket World Cup, the BCCI was looking to replace its zonal selection system with a smaller committee. However, the zonal heads’ lack of enthusiasm and concerns scuttled the proposal.

In a similar vein, USAG’s selection of the team for this year’s World Championships caused an uproar among fans. The national team staff only selected six gymnasts for the competition based on rank order from a selection camp in Katy, Texas. This left out the top two from each of the other four regional camps, as well as former Olympic champions.

The reason for the controversy is that ranking isn’t always the best indicator of an athlete’s overall strength, and it can often be influenced by factors such as the quality of a gymnast’s coaches and teammates. It also doesn’t necessarily take into account a gymnast’s injury history or the fact that they have other commitments outside of the gym.

As a result, it is important for Selection Committees to carefully review their processes and look at new ways to evaluate candidates and select the most qualified winners. The following guidelines are based on research and practice from other international organizations that have found ways to avoid implicit bias and promote the most equitable evaluations of candidates. The Selection Committee should also be mindful of potential conflicts of interest and carefully consider each of these in their decision-making process. In all discussions, Committee members should be clear about any connection they may have with a candidate and recuse themselves if necessary. Moreover, the Selection Committee should conduct rounds of discussions with brief structured exchanges in between to allow all nominees to receive equal attention and prevent social loafing.