If you are pursuing a career in human rights, it’s well-worth your time to consider a fellowship. These paid programs, which usually last for a duration of a few months or a few years, give you opportunities to build skills, network with experts in the field and gain valuable experience. Here are several human rights fellowships that are offered every year.
This fellowship is coordinated with Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute and the Office of Graduate Legal Studies. Together, they offer a program that will allow students to build skills and receive career mentoring. Fellows are also given special consideration when applying to Columbia’s Human Rights Clinic. Fellowships provide partial or full tuition waivers, and, depending on the applicant’s need, a living stipend. If accepted, fellows should spend a big chunk of their time studying human rights and being part of the human rights community at the law school.
To be eligible, you must have a first degree in law. According to the description of the LL.M, a first degree in anything other than law, even if you have a master’s in law, may not be enough. You also are not eligible if your law degree was obtained through correspondence course work or distance learning. If you have at least a year of full-time work after your first law degree, your chances of getting accepted are much better. You can apply if you’re still in your final year of your first law degree, but you have to be really impressive.
To apply, candidates will need to submit an application through LSAC; an essay describing their qualifications and previous human rights experiences; letters of recommendation; and application for financial assistance.
The Pozen Family Center For Human Rights, found at the University of Chicago, is a place of interdisciplinary teaching, research, practice-oriented training, summer internships, and collaboration with human rights scholars and activists around the world. The fellows program is a year long, and consists of writing and gaining experience with doctoral students focusing on human rights. Fellows meet every other week to discuss what they’re working on.
If accepted, a fellow receives up to $1,000 in reimbursements for the costs that come with presenting a paper through the Human Rights Doctoral Fellows Program at a conference. If a fellow is international, they may request more financial support for travel.
There is also a Pozen Human Rights Dissertation Completion Fellowship, which is awarded to a doctoral student who has made a significant contribution to human rights scholarship. The fellowship includes tuition, student health insurance, a $27,000 stipend, and student life fee. Applicants must be ABD (“all but dissertation”) by the time the application is due.
Named in honor of Robert and Phyliss Henigson, this fellowship is for Harvard Law Students and recent graduates dedicated to international human rights. The fellowship covers 12 months working with an NGO in the developing world. To be eligible, you must be expected to receive your degree in 2020 (most likely June of that year; at the time of this writing, exact dates have not been released yet). If you are a graduate, you must have been in full-time public interest work since your graduation, or active in public interest work and human rights while a student.The fellowship gives out $27,000 for the year, and up to $1,500 for international health insurance. If accepted, you may supplement with outside grants and awards, up to $18,000.
Fellowships are only given out if your project is located in a low or middle-income country in the developing world. Your project will be considered if the work connects developed world orgs with developing countries, as long as you plan on spending most of the lime in that developing country. You must have an organization sponsoring you for your project.
Established in memory of early Human Rights Watch supporters, the fellowship involves working full-time for one year in HRW’s Washington, D.C. office or the New York office. Responsibilities include monitoring human rights in countries around the world; doing on-site investigations; reporting on human rights conditions; and participating in advocacy and media outreach. Salary is $60,000 for the per, plus employer-paid benefits. All nationalities are encouraged to apply. Deadline for 20/21 is October 11, 2019.
To be considered, you must have either an advanced graduate degree or will have one by June 2020. Relevant fields are law, journalism, area studies, and international relations. You may also be considered if you have an LL.B degree. Research experience, including interview experience, is required, as well as a background in international human rights. Speaking another language is encouraged, while interpersonal skills, excellent communication skills, and the ability to multitask are required.
This fellowship is one-year and gives recent law school graduates an opportunity to practice civil rights with experts at the Lawyers’ Committee in Washington, D.C. Fellows participate in legal activities, including co-counseled litigation and non-litigation, such as public policy advocacy and public education. Fields include employment discrimination, voting rights, fair housing, and more. Stipend is $57,000 for the year, as well as a $2,000 loan forgiveness.
To be eligible, you must have past experience working with low-income communities of color. Other qualifications include exceptional research and writing skills; ability to work with others; and at most, two years of practice, not counting clerkships. Preference is given to applicants who have been admitted to the bar, or are scheduled to take the exam by summer 2020. If you can show an involvement in scholarship or employment involving racial, gender, economic, and national origin justice, you’re also given preference.
The Open Society Fellowship is designed to fund work of individuals who are pursuing innovative and unconventional approaches to fundamental open society challenges. Open Society Foundations invites proposals corresponding to a specific proposition or issue relevant to ongoing work at the organization. As opportunities open up to specific topics and fellowship opportunities, Open Society Foundations updates the information specific to the fellowship on their site. Open positions are posted under the Grants section.
Global Health Corps offers a range of paid fellowships with various health organizations in Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, the United States, and Zambia, giving participants the chance to become leaders in the health equity movement. To be eligible, applicants must be 30 years or younger, have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and be proficient in English. Check the website for application guidelines and deadlines.
This fellowship program is available to students and recent graduates from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Ukraine, and the United States, as well as students of other nationalities are enrolled or graduated from universities in those countries. This fellowship is designed to bring together a group of international students to explore issues surrounding discrimination, resistance, and minority groups. Application instructions and deadlines for each fellowship cohort year can be found on the website.
amfAR (Foundation for AIDS Research), The Alan Rosenfield, M.D., HIV/AIDS Public Policy Internship and Fellowship Program
This program was developed for undergraduate and graduate students working to become leaders in public health and the fight against HIV/AIDS. Through this opportunity, interns and fellows dedicate their time to public policy research and writing on emerging issues in AIDS policy, including biomedical research, domestic and international AIDS funding, harm reduction, equity, and human rights. For the fellowship program, applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree, and a graduate degree in public health or a related field is preferred but not required. All fellowship positions last up to six months and are full-time, paid.
Yale’s Schell Center for International Human Rights offers this summer fellowship to fund at least six weeks of human rights work throughout the summer. The program gives students the opportunity to work on a variety of human rights issues with non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and international courts. The fellowship helps pay for living and travel expenses throughout the summer. Any Yale student can apply for this fellowship, but only law students are eligible for living costs to be covered. Instructions on how to apply and deadlines are available through the website.
This fellowship is for students and recent graduates who are interested in post-graduate public interest fellowship opportunities and fellowship hosts. Fellows conduct research and report on their findings, prepare legal documents for international tribunals and advocacy, communicate with various clients and partners, attend and report on briefings, monitor countries and issues of concern, and more. Applicants should have experience with and knowledge of regional and international human rights laws and norms as well as working knowledge of the UN system. A JD or LL.M. degree is required, and fluency in Spanish, French, and/or Arabic is preferred. See the website for instructions on how to apply and deadlines.
Offered by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, this fellowship provides six months of funding for journalists who wish to work on media projects in Asia Pacific countries. Four years of work experience are required as well as proven commitment to furthering human rights and women’s equality. Applicants must also be fluent in English and a second language of an Asia Pacific nation.
The largest NGO in the world, BRAC offers a fellowship program for individuals aged 18 to 35 who are interested in working with the organization. During the one-year fellowship, the selected individual will have the opportunity to address a human right’s problem and have access to mentors and resources from the organization to put their plan into action. The fellow is given a monthly stipend, office space and money for travel to their assigned area.
This program provides funding for women journalists who specialize in social justice and human rights. Those selected for the program have an opportunity to study at the Center for International Studies at MIT in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. In addition, fellows complete internships at The Boston Globe and The New York Times. Applicants are accepted from around the world. Three years of work experience is required. Fellows will receive a stipend to cover the cost of their transportation, housing and meals.
The Centre for Human Rights, Multiculturalism, and Migration (CHRM2) at the University of Jember in East Java, Indonesia, offers a number of fellowships for individuals who are interested in working in human rights. Participants spend at least three months working as a research assistant, field researcher, English teacher, outreach coordinator or in other positions. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree or work history related to migration, multiculturalism or human rights.
Through this program, individuals who are interested in human rights will have an opportunity to perform public service and gain valuable work experience. To qualify for the fellowship, applicants must have five years of relevant work experience and be U.S. citizens. Fellows will have a chance to work with the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Development on a broad range of issues, including environment; counterterrorism; human rights; consular matters; HIV/AIDS and other trans-national diseases; and trade, energy and financial policy.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF offers this highly competitive fellowship program. Fellows spend two years working as grassroots organizers and spokesmen in different locations in the United States. Qualified applicants will have previous work experience or education related to children’s rights and previous volunteer management experience. In addition, applicants must be U.S. citizens or have U.S. work authorization.
Through this program, law students who wish to work in human rights or international law can receive a mini grant of $2,000. Applicants can come from any country but must currently be enrolled in law school and have a verifiable interest or project related to human rights for which they wish to use the funds.
Two times each year, a select group of college graduates are given the opportunity to participate in this fellowship program. Fellows live in Washington, D.C., for six to nine months and have the opportunity to work at a participating organization of their own choosing. In addition, fellows have the chance to engage in regular meetings with policy experts to further their professional development.
Sponsored by the Open Technology Fund, this fellowship provides funding for individuals who are interested in promoting the free flow of information around the world. Applicants must have a project that relates to this are of interest. The program awards fellowships ranging from three months to one year in duration. Most often, postdoctoral students are selected, but doctoral candidates and other researchers from around the world may also apply.
Fellows in this program receive full funding to complete a 14-month Master of Law Degree program at the Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., United States. The program is open to women from Africa who hold law degrees and currently work in human rights. All fellows must agree to return to their home countries and continue their work upon graduation.
The Carey Institute in Rensselaerville, New York, United States, offers this fellowship program to nonfiction writers and reporters who are interested in politics, health, environmental science, social issues, human rights or justice. Fellows spend four to 12 weeks at the institute and are given lodging, technological support and meals. Individuals from around the world are invited to apply, but fluency in English is mandatory.
Through this program, the Centre for Human Rights, Multiculturalism, and Migration provides two- to four-week fellowships for PhD students who wish to conduct field research in Indonesia for a project related to human rights, law, politics, education, gender, sociology and anthropology. Fellows receive a stipend, housing and an office.
Employees of NGO, CSOs and associations in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Libya or Lebanon between the ages of 25 and 40 are invited to apply for this fellowship program. Individuals must be committed to promoting civil society through their work at their respective organizations. The fellowship lasts for one month and gives fellows the opportunity to work with a service organization, advocacy group, grassroots organization, federal agency or congressional office to gain experience that they can use when they return home.
Each year, 20 fellows receive funding in the amount of $50,000 to launch projects that relate to human rights. Specifically, projects must relate to civil rights, climate change and environmental justice, immigration and refugee rights or LGBTQIA and women’s rights. In addition to the funding, fellows receive one-on-one mentoring.
Every year, one LGBTQ professional is given a chance to work in the office of the co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus in Washington, D.C., United States, to gain work experience in the legislative projects policy making. The fellowship lasts for one year and pays $30,000 plus healthcare reimbursements and airfare. Qualified applicants will be 21 years of age and hold either a master’s or a bachelor’s degree.
This fellowship aims to help recent law school graduates and young lawyers gain work experience to help them drive social change. Lasting for two years, the fellowship includes a paid placement at a human rights organization and opportunities to conduct field research.
The fellowship seeks to support journalists, artists, community organizers, activists, scholars, policy makers, and others who are responding to organized criminality in their communities. The theme for 2020 is: “Disappearances related to organized crime” — extrajudicial killings, kidnappings for ransom, arbitrary detentions, human trafficking, organ harvesting, missing migrants and refugees, among other similar issues. Fellows will receive our support via: 1) a stipend for the year (US$15,000) to help their individual work; 2) opportunities to disseminate their ideas and work through various avenues (conferences, forums, summits, literary festivals, publishers, etc) with whom we’ll partner on their behalf; and 3) collaborative opportunities with each other along with mentors from our network of more than 400 experts from the Resilience Fund’s parent NGO, The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.