Contact Us | Donate | Advertise Follow us on TwitterFollow us on facebookFollow us on LinkedIn


Cunningham Memorial International Fellowship

The purpose of the MLA Cunningham Memorial International Fellowship is to assist in the education and training of health science librarians from countries outside the United States and Canada. The Cunningham Fellowships were established in 1967 with a bequest from the estate of Eileen R. Cunningham. The first fellowship was awarded in 1972 at the annual conference in San Diego, CA. This program continues to train and motivate international librarians with the latest advances in the health information profession. The fellowship supports attendance at the MLA annual conference and observation and supervised work in one or more medical libraries in the United States and Canada. The fellowship also permits access to MLA-sponsored online Continuing Education courses for a one year period beginning January of the fellowship year.

International Cooperation Caucus members assist in planning the fellow's itinerary and schedule while in the United States, serving as hosts or host institutions for the fellow, and providing mentorship opportunities during the annual conference.


  • The applicant must:
    • have an undergraduate degree and/or a master's level library degree. The latter requirement may be waived.
    • be working or preparing to work in a health science library in their own country.
    • be a citizen or permanent resident of a country other than the United States or Canada.
  • The applicant is not required to be a member of MLA.
  • Past recipients of the Cunningham Fellowship are ineligible.


  • The online application must be completed and all supporting files uploaded no later than November 15.
  • Applicant must submit:
    • an essay in English (no more than 500 words) that discusses the following:
      • the state of development of health sciences libraries in your country;
      • the library in which you are employed and your duties there;
      • full description of your career goals;
      • what you envision accomplishing through the Cunningham Memorial International Fellowship and a specific experience that might fulfill these expectations;
      • and your ability to live alone, function in a foreign setting, and travel in unfamiliar surroundings.
    • Video, as well as, a typed transcript, responding to the questions.
      • Were you to be selected for the fellowship:
        • In what areas of expertise or skill development would you be most interested in obtaining training and research information?
        • Do you have any specific projects you would like to complete? If so, please provide overview.
        • How would you plan to use the ideas and skills learned from the fellowship experience when you returned home?
        • Would you be able to apply what you learn to other libraries or institutions?
        • In what types of libraries/institutions would you like to work or visit while in the United States or Canada (hospital libraries, academic medical libraries, etc.)?
        • What is your current job title and status within the organization/institution in which you work?
        • Describe briefly your previous training and level of expertise/experience in medical or health sciences librarianship.
        • Describe the setting of your current library (location, resources, level of automation, etc.)
        • Indicate any questions you have about the fellowship for the selection committee.  
    • Three letters of reference in English:
      • from responsible persons who are familiar with the applicant's qualifications
      • may include officers of institutions where the applicant has worked, US officers of information, other librarians from the applicant's country, or persons in North America.
      • should describe:
        • the professional and interpersonal skills;
        • an assessment of their sense of curiosity;
        • and ability to live alone, function in a foreign setting, and adaptability to traveling in unfamiliar places.
    • Undergraduate and/or graduate transcripts in English. (Transcripts or a copy of diploma and grades for courses taken at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.)
    • A signed statement in English from a responsible official of the institution where they work or plan to work, guaranteeing their position upon return.
    • Certificate of good physical health, written in English, from a licensed physician.
  • If there are no appropriate candidates, the association may elect not to present the fellowship in a given year.

Fellowship Funding

  • The Cunningham Fellowship fund will pay a stipend toward living, and travel expenses in the United States and Canada. The amount is determined annually.
  • These funds are for the Cunningham fellow only. (Spouses, dependents, or others are not allowed to accompany the fellow.)
  • Payment for travel to and from the United States or Canada is the responsibility of the fellow and will NOT be paid from the fellowship stipend.

Submission Checklist

  • The online application must be completed and all supporting documents uploaded no later than November 15.
  • Brief essay in English (no more than 500 words).
  • Video link, plus a typed transcript. 
  • Three letters of reference in English.
  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts in English.
  • Statement in English indicating that you will be employed in your country when you return.
  • Certificate of health in English.
  • Current photo for promotional purposes.
  • An announcement of the fellowship recipient is made in March each year. 
  • Unsuccessful applicants will be notified in March each year.


  • The fellowship recipient and non-recipients will be notified in March. 
  • The recipient will receive a fellowship handbook including general information, guidelines, and expectations for the fellowship.
  • The recipient must obtain a visitors visa for the stay in the U.S. through their local embassy. MLA will provide a letter of invitation. 
  • The recipient will be asked to share a photo and video for the virtual awards ceremony held in April.
  • The Cunningham Fellow will attend the MLA annual conference, in-person. 
  • The Cunningham Fellow must submit an report to the MLA after the fellowship.   

International Membership Option

Consider joining MLA to help build partnerships and foster international collaboration. MLA does offer discounted membership fees to international health information practitioner from Research4Life eligible Group A or Group B countries, in order to support the information needs of under-served individuals. (Membership in MLA is not required in order to apply for this fellowship.)

Ready to Submit an Application

  • The fellowship application process is closed.
  • Recipients will be announced in March 2024.
  • Applications will open next in August 2024.

Fellowship Recipients

  • 2024: Dominic Dankwah Agyei, Ghana
  • 2023: Khutsafalo Kadimo, Botswana
  • 2022: Kubra Zayim Gedik, Turkey
  • 2021: Mercy Wamunyima Monde, Zambia
  • 2020: Anar Kairatovna Dautova, Kazakhstan
  • 2019: Deepali Kuberkar, India
  • 2018: Biliamin Oladele Popoola, Nigeria
  • 2017: Tam Ha, Vietnam
  • 2016: Prabavathy Naido, South Africa
  • 2015: Joseph Olubunmi Olorunsaye, Nigeria
  • 2014: none awarded
  • 2013: Cunningham Grant Recipients: Michael Chimalizeni, South Africa; Silvia Ciubrei, Republic of Moldova; Valerie Clarke, Barbados; Elaine Garrett, United Kingdom; Gussun Gunes, Turkey; Nguyen Hai Ha, Vietnam; Shona Kirtley, United Kingdom; Carol Lefebvre, United Kingdom; Richard Ssenono, Uganda; and Mary Louise Thompson, St. Vincent and The Grenadines
  • 2012: Midrar Ullah, Pakistan
  • 2011: Satish Munnolli, India
  • 2010: Petros Demilew Miskir, Ethiopia; and Marie-Therese Mitri, Lebanon
  • 2009: Hasbullah Atan, Malaysia; and Stanslaus Ngadaya, Tanzania
  • 2008: Lisa Kruesi, Australia; and Vijay Padwal, India
  • 2007: Alison Kinengyere, Uganda; and Jin Cheng, Peoples Republic of China
  • 2006: Hanne Caspersen, Denmark
  • 2005: Raphael Euppah, Kenya
  • 2004: Grace Ajuwon, Nigeria
  • 2003: Saroj Bhatia, Australia
  • 2002: Yuan Lin, China
  • 2001: Kgaladi Kekana, South Africa
  • 2000: Elena Leonova, Moscow
  • 1999: Timothy Shola Abolarinwa, Nigeria
  • 1998: Anita Verhoeven, The Netherlands
  • 1997: Ioana Robu, Romania
  • 1996: Weraduwage Ravindranath Gamini de Silva, Sri Lanka
  • 1995: Elena Ivanova Korotkova Librarian, Moscow
  • 1994: Gu Xiaohong, China
  • 1993: none awarded
  • 1992: Ruihong Zhang Librarian, China
  • 1991: Sally Anne Montserin, Trinidad and Tobago
  • 1990: Olufunmilayo Olufunke Akhigbe, Nigeria
  • 1989: none awarded
  • 1988: Sitsofe Afua Dzansi, Ghana
  • 1987: Frances L. Bluhdorn, Australia
  • 1986: Chandraiya Librarian, Fiji
  • 1985: Lise Noregaard Christensen Librarian, Denmark
  • 1984: Mahesh P.S., India
  • 1983: none awarded
  • 1982: Teresita Chavez Moran, Philippines
  • 1981: Erna G. Klopper, Republic of South Africa
  • 1980: Margaret Okeke, Nigeria; and K.S. Yeung, Hong Kong
  • 1979: Catherine Pi-Ying Yang, Taiwan; and Sile M. Nevin, Ireland;
  • 1978: Susan Anne Flegg, Rhodesia; and Maria Dulcineia Nunes, Portugal
  • 1977: Wilawan Vongsuphar, Thailand; and Miskiah Ahmad, Malaysia
  • 1976: Godfrey Belleh, Nigeria; and Bror L. Erikson, Sweden
  • 1975: Lucita B. Dones, Philippines
  • 1974: Jean Adams, Scotland
  • 1973: A.M. Pathan Librarian, India; and Shinako Honda, Japan

Have a question? Contact MLA