The Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University in New York City, New York, United States, offers the prestigious Human Rights Advocates Program for highly qualified activists who are currently working with non-governmental organizations focused on sexual and gender-based violence, minority rights, LGBT rights, labor rights, migration, health, social exclusion, environmental justice, disability rights or corporate social accountability. Since the start of the program, more than 300 individuals from over 85 countries have participated.
To be considered, applicants must be involved with their respective NGOs at the grassroots level. In addition, applicants must either be from mid- to low-income countries or come from a marginalized community. Individuals who work for government agencies and full-time students are ineligible for consideration. Applicants must be fluent in English and be able to provide proof of fluency. Also, applicants must sign a commitment letter that states they will return to work for their non-governmental organizations upon completion of the program. If the university receives applications from two individuals working for the same non-governmental organization, both of the applicants will be disqualified. Preference is given to applicants who have never had the opportunity to study abroad before.
Some applicants who are admitted to the program will receive full funding to cover the cost of the Human Rights Advocates program. In some cases, individuals may be selected and asked to cover all or part of the funding themselves.
Individuals who are admitted to the Human Rights Advocates program spend four months at the Columbia campus in New York City. Students attend rigorous academic classes, receive one-on-one mentoring from faculty, participate in skill-building workshops and are given networking opportunities. The program is geared toward both individual professional development and organizational capacity building. Additionally, the program includes a one-week networking trip to Washington, D.C.
Coursework is offered through the School of International and Public Affairs, the Law School, the Mailman School of Public Health, the Graduate School of Arts; Sciences, the School of Social Work, Teachers College and Barnard at Columbia. The classes are at the graduate level. All skill-building workshops are conducted by Human Rights Watch and WITNESS. Fellows will have a chance to learn about a variety of topics, including fundraising, campaign strategy, advocacy tools, media relations, stress management, and research and documentation.
The deadline for both paper and online applications to be received by the university is December 16, 2019. Applicants will learn about their status by June of 2020.
For more information, visit the official website