Thursday, 22 September 2011

Human Rights Watch Fellowships

For recent graduates of law schools or graduate programs in journalism, international relations, area studies, or other relevant disciplines from universities worldwide.

Unrestricted Fellowships

Alan R. and Barbara D. Finberg Fellowship - Established in memory of Alan R. and Barbara D. Finberg, early supporters of Human Rights Watch, this fellowship is open to recent graduates (at the Master's level) in the fields of law, journalism, international relations, or other relevant studies. Graduates with LL.B. degrees or advanced degrees in other relevant disciplines may also be considered.

Arthur Koenig Fellowship - Established in 2010, the Arthur Koenig Fellowship is designed to help bring talented people from disadvantaged economic backgrounds into the human rights movement. The Arthur Koenig fellowship is open to recent graduates (at the Master's level or above) in the fields of law, journalism, international relations, or other relevant studies. Graduates with LL.B. degrees or advanced degrees in other relevant disciplines may also be considered.

In addition to the application materials described below, applicants must submit an essay describing the aspects of their background that have been economically disadvantaged.

Restricted Fellowships

NYU School of Law Fellowship at HRW - This fellowship is open to 2012 J.D. graduates of New York University School of Law only.

Leonard H. Sandler Fellowship - Established in memory of Judge Leonard H. Sandler, a 1950 Columbia Law graduate with a lifelong commitment to civil rights and liberties, this fellowship is open to recent J.D. graduates of Columbia Law School only.


Fellows work full-time for one year with Human Rights Watch typically in New York or Washington, D.C., or in some instances in another location. Fellows monitor human rights developments in various countries, conduct on-site investigations, draft reports on human rights conditions, and engage in advocacy and media outreach aimed at publicizing and curtailing human rights violations. Past fellows have conducted research and advocacy on numerous different issues in countries all over the world. Recent examples include projects on: civil and political rights in Cuba; criminal defamation laws in Indonesia; the rights of persons with mental disabilities in Croatia; corporal punishment of children in public schools in the US; abuses against migrant domestic workers in Kuwait; and police brutality in Brazil.
Applicants must demonstrate a strong background in international human rights and be committed to building a career in human rights. Research experience, including experience conducting interviews, ideally in the context of human rights research, is required. Field experience in human rights is strongly desirable. Applicants must have exceptional analytic skills and excellent oral and written communications skills in English. Proficiency in one language in addition to English is strongly desired as is familiarity with countries or regions where serious human rights violations occur.
Applicants should be highly motivated and well-organized; able to work quickly and well under pressure, both independently and as a member of a team; juggle multiple tasks; and meet tight deadlines. The Fellowship year will require creativity, initiative, perseverance, and flexibility while maintaining HRW's high methodological standards.
Depending on the fellowship for which they wish to apply, prospective fellows must be recent graduates of law, journalism, international relations, or other relevant studies, or must provide evidence of significant, comparable, relevant work experience. (Please see our Frequently Asked Questions section for the specific requirements of the various fellowships.)
Fellowships begin in September 2012.
SALARY AND BENEFITS: The salary for 2011-2012 fellows is US$55,000, plus excellent employer-paid benefits. The salary for 2012-2013 is currently under review and may be increased.
Applicants are responsible for compiling complete application packets which must include the following:
  • cover letter
  • resume
  • two letters of recommendation
  • at least one unedited, unpublished writing sample (no legal briefs, please)
  • an official law or graduate school transcript (applicants in one-year graduate programs should supply an undergraduate transcript with a list of their graduate school courses)
  • Arthur Koenig Fellowship applicants only: In addition to the cover letter, resume, letters of recommendation, transcript, and writing sample, applicants must also submit an essay describing the aspects of their background that have been economically disadvantaged. Applicants may wish to consider the following when writing this essay:
    • The economic circumstances of their family, including during childhood.
    • Their history of need-based financial assistance used to complete their education to date and their experience working to make a substantial financial contribution to their own education.
    • The highest education level attained by one or both parents, or whether the candidate is a first generation university graduate in his or her family.
    • Please limit the essay to no more than 1,000 words.
Complete applications (including transcripts and recommendations) for 2012-2013 fellowships must be received no later than October 6, 2011. Applications should be sent by e-mail, under single cover (in one email) and preferably as one PDF file (or, at a minimum, as separate PDF files), to with the name of the fellowship in the subject line.
Applicants must be available for interviews in New York from late November to mid-December 2011. Inquiries may be directed to Please see more information.
Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and, in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.

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