Humanity in Action Fellowship Program 2016

Publish Date: Jan 19, 2016

Deadline: Feb 23, 2016

Fellowship Overiew

Humanity in Action fellowship programs will take place from May 27 - June 22, 2016 in five European cities simultaneously: Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris and Warsaw. Additionally, participants of all those programs will meet during the seventh annual Humanity in Action International Conference, which will run from June 23 to June 25 in Athens. 

Intensive and demanding, the Humanity in Action fellowship programs bring together international groups of college/university students and recent graduates from United States and Europe to scrutinize human and minority rights, civil society, societal (in)justice and to explore national histories of discrimination and resistance, as well as to analyze issues that affect a variety of marginalized groups nowadays. Moreover, the ‘host’ country becomes the case-study for each of the programs (e.g. the Warsaw program will treat Poland as the main point of reference).

Each program is highly interdisciplinary, multidimensional and time-consuming. It features daily presentations, workshops and discussions with prominent academics, activists, journalists, policy-makers, artists as well as site visits to NGOs and community organizations, government agencies, international organizations, museums, and memorials. The programs seek to present a variety of opinions and perspectives on different models of action, which aim at reducing injustice, discrimination and societal divides. 

The objective of the Humanity in Action fellowship is to facilitate a collective exploration of the social and political roots of discrimination, as well as to provide a forum where potential solutions can be considered and discussed. The programs are also intended to instill a responsibility among Humanity in Action fellows to recognize and address the need to protect minorities and promote human rights—in their own communities and around the world.  

Humanity in Action senior fellows, the alumni of the Humanity in Action fellowships, are expected to use the know-how obtained during the fellowship while implementing their Humanity in Action ‘Action Projects’. Additionally, they are to participate in Humanity in Action international network and Senior Fellows Networks once their programs end—and to sustain their active engagement in the issues addressed during the fellowships.A Note About Humanity's Focus

A Note on Humanity in Action's Focus

Humanity in Action's programs concern human rights activities generally, but they focus specifically on the relationship between majority and minority populations in the five European countries where the programs take place: Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. The programs address a carefully selected range of subjects intended to give the Fellows analytical and intercultural skills and perspectives that will aid in their work on a broad range of human rights issues in the future. 

These issues include the relationships among European immigrant communities and their host societies or current notions of solidarity, especially in Poland. We are particularly concerned with the contemporary causes and consequences of xenophobia as well as religious, ethnic, racial, gender and national identities present in Europe and especially the five Humanity in Action European countries.

The fellowship programs explore national diversity issues in regard to their economic, educational, political, social, cultural, religious and environmental ramifications. We use a national perspective to explore the international implications and repercussions of the treatment of minorities in those countries. It is important for applicants to recognize that these issues are central to Humanity in Action's educational activities during the five-week fellowship programs. While we recognize the importance of transnational problems and the impact of global issues, the Humanity in Action Fellowship concentrates almost exclusively on issues and problems within specific countries in continental Europe. 

Fellows apply the knowledge and skills gained from their Fellowship experience to strengthen their work in their own communities around the world. 

A wide range of international topics, conflicts, and crises are addressed in follow-up conferences, study trips, and fellowship opportunities for Senior Fellows. The Fellowship itself, however, adheres to a strong national focus. Those who prefer instead to study international conflicts should carefully consider whether the Humanity in Action Fellowship is right for them.


When: May 27 - June 26, 2016

Where: Warsaw, Poland 


What makes the Humanity in Action fellowship special is that it is focused on people – their unique experiences, passion for taking action and readiness to engage in a global network of activists! So far, over 200 participants from all over the world took part in the Warsaw fellowships. The experience of the fellowship for many of them happened to be a turning point in their lives. According to the newest study - on Humanity in Action alumni, the senior fellow community is personally and professionally profitable to fellows: approximately half of fellows consider someone within the Humanity in Action community to be a role model. One in four Fellows has found a job through a Humanity in Action connection.

The program is not only an opportunity to engage in a vigorous and multidimensional debate as well as to share experiences and knowledge with people from a variety of disciplines and different countries, but also it is a gateway to new skills, networks, and new potential for making a difference. In addition to cooperating with their peers and human rights trainers, the fellows will deepen their knowledge and skills by engaging in a dialogue with experienced human rights activists, NGO leaders, NGOs, renowned academics and policy experts, journalists, representatives of public administration. During the site visits to various human rights-oriented institutions and organizations, the fellows will also get to see how they operate on a daily basis.

Please refer to the program of the 2015 fellowship - in Warsaw for more details.

Thematic scope

As it is the case with all Humanity in Action fellowships, the Polish program called “Ideas Incubator” deals with the question on how the Polish state and society have been dealing with human rights challenges in historical and contemporary perspectives. The special attention will be drawn to histories of discrimination and resistance especially in the context of the World War II, the Holocaust and the National Socialism, relationships between a majority and minorities, civil society, societal (in)justice, activism and solidarity. Those important and complex issues will be tackled through the Polish perspective so that they are not analyzed solely in an ‘abstract’ vacuum but in a given socio-political-economic and historical context. In other words, Poland’s past-present-future will be treated as a case study in order to look for certain universal and particular patterns/mechanisms that influence how a showcased society is functioning at a given time and what is the role of the individuals to make ‘things work better’. The special attention of the program will be to present cases of contemporary human rights violations from the perspective of various categories of discriminated or excluded members of the Polish society.
Since after the World War II Poland is a rather homogenous country, the society lacked an exposure to ‘the other’ and as a consequence Polish society is polarized in debates on diversity. In many instances free speech turns into hate speech. That is why this year’s fellowship will be focused on the issue of hate speech and discrimination: how it manifests, what kinds of threats it poses to a democratic society and how it could be counteracted. Throughout the program the participants will have a chance to come up with ideas/best practices what kind of initiatives young activists could undertake to try to counteract discrimination in on-line and off-line realities and by that make at least some difference.
Participants will take part in trainings on how to raise awareness on human and minority rights with a special focus on community organizing using social campaigns and various kinds of social actions. The overall goal for participants will be to develop and implement social campaigns on social media. Task would be first to reach out and to research on problems and needs of selected groups of the society facing discrimination and developing innovative strategies of counteracting these human rights infringements.


The fellowship consists of ‘input’ and ‘output’ sessions, which complement each other. In the ‘input’ sessions the stress will be more on developing knowledge and exchanging ideas in debates, whereas the ‘output’ activities will be more focused on enhancing skills essential in human rights activism by completing a given task. In other words, throughout the fellowship, thanks to applying active learning methods and with the help of experienced trainers, the participants will have a chance to effectively combine theory with practice and to ‘learn by doing’.
An important note to prospective applicants: The fellowship is intensive and time-consuming.Participants are expected to be prepared for the daily active participation and to make time for meeting with participants after the organized program. We therefore kindly inform potential participants that there will NO be time for tourist excursions, university, work, meeting family, friends and partners etc. during the fellowship.


The Humanity in Action Fellowships in Poland, Germany and in the United States are free of charge. 

Additionally, Humanity in Action Poland, thanks to grants and other donations -, covers the costs of participation, accommodation (housing costs are covered for those fellows who reside outside the Warsaw area), public transportation, entrance fees and relevant guided site-visits. Although Humanity in Action provides a modest meal stipend, it will not cover all meals, fellows should also bring spending money for food and social activities during the program (depending on personal needs the amount might range from ca. 800-2300 PLN/400-550 EUR in the Warsaw Program, ca. 450 EUR in the Berlin Program, and ca. 700 EUR in the Atlanta Program ) 

Important: all the fellows will be responsible for financing the cost of transportation to and from the fellowship programs. Please note however, that Humanity in Action might cover this cost for fellows with documented need.

The transportation to the venue of the Humanity in Action International Conference in Athens will be provided by Humanity in Action. 

For more details about the fellowship in Poland, please contact us via email: j.rybicka(at) 


ictured: 2015 Berlin Humanity in Action Fellows 

When: May 27 - June 26, 2016

Where: Berlin, Germany 


The German Program focuses on historical and contemporary human rights issues in German society. During the first few weeks of the program, fellows meet with academics, journalists, activists, elected officials, and recognized leaders in human rights organizations. In the second half of the program, fellows develop ideas for a local human rights project.

Against the background of World War II and the Holocaust, the 2016 seminar in Berlin deals with questions of history and remembrance and identity and diversity in Germany. 

During the first half of the seminar, the participants will focus on the themes of exclusion, discrimination and racism in a historical and contemporary perspective. Due to current events the refugee crisis will be one of the focus points of this year Berlin Program.

The group of some 20 participants (fellows) is comprised of students from Germany, Greece, the United States, Poland, Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The aim of the seminar is an intense human rights dialogue with experts, eyewitnesses, activists, and stakeholders, and visits to institutions in the broader field of human rights. 

The second half of the seminar is dedicated to team work in small international groups and to skills building through workshops. The fellows will develop project ideas  addressing human rights situation in their local communities, discuss them in small teams and develop a plan for their implementation. 

The topics can range broadly from Anti-Semitism, hatred towards Muslims, structural discrimination, right-wing extremism, human trafficking and other human rights issues. The necessary skills for project planning and implementation will be provided by experienced trainers in workshops. 

Please refer to the program of the 2015 Humanity in Action Fellowship in Berlin -

For more details about the fellowship in Germany, please contact l.schweizer(at) 


When: July 5 - July 30, 2016

Where: Atlanta, Georgia


The John Lewis Fellowship explores America’s unique history of diversity, immigration and civil rights along with present-day tensions related to minorities across the country. Key areas of inquiry include race and racism, immigration, national identity, Native American issues and the relationship between civil rights and human rights. 

The program honors Congressman John Lewis -, an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. Humanity in Action has partnered with The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Inc. -, a major museum and civic institution in Atlanta, to create the fellowship. The John Lewis Fellowship is made possible by the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation - provided through The Center. 

Fellows in the John Lewis Fellowship will attend discussions with renowned scholars and activists at The Center, visit historical sites around Atlanta and engage in discussions on a range of political and social issues. They will also draw upon the immense resources of The Center and contribute to its extensive and innovative outreach initiatives. 

More information: on the John Lewis Fellowship -

In case of any upcoming questions regarding the content of the John Lewis Fellowship please get in touch with Yulia Shalomov (Email: admissions[at], Tel. +1 (212) 828-6874).

Eligibility & Application Process


Humanity in Action Poland invites applications from university students and recent graduates interested in taking action in their communities and around the world, and who demonstrate a great interest and commitment in promoting human rights, pluralism, diversity as well as active and responsible citizenship. All majors and academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. 

Successful candidates possess the following characteristics:

Intellectual Curiosity: Humanity in Action seeks candidates who are eager to discuss in international groups a range of historical and contemporary topics that drive, challenge and impact diverse societies. This means that participants should be eager to stretch their understanding of these issues beyond their own national contexts and specific fields of study.

Collaborative Spirit: Humanity in Action seeks candidates who thrive in collaborative settings and enjoy discussing challenging issues in culturally and internationally diverse groups. Humanity in Action’s pedagogy is based upon collective and intellectually demanding discussion with speakers and peers. Participants must possess the social maturity and skills to discuss sensitive topics.

Open-mindedness: Humanity in Action seeks candidates who are open to challenging their personal convictions and eager to explore international perspectives.

Humanity in Action does not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity, religion, political party, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or financial ability. Humanity in Action strongly encourages applicants of a minority background to apply.

Eligible applicants are:

  • Polish students and recent graduates (no earlier than 2014) of BA/MA/Postgraduate/PhD studies;  
  • Proficient in English (as the programs are conducted in English); 
  • Not older than 28. 

Please note that short-term exchange students are not eligible to apply.

Experience in grass-root activism is not a must but would be considered as important asset.

Application Process

Humanity in Action Poland is now accepting applications from Polish university students and recent graduates for the 2016 Humanity in Action Fellowship programs in Poland, Germany and the USA.

Candidates may apply to all programs, but will only be selected to participate in one of them.

The Polish Program will take place in Warsaw from May 27 through June 22, 2016. The German Program will take place in Berlin during the same dates.

Additionally, all participants will take part in the seventh annual Humanity in Action International Conference, which will run from June 23 - June 26 in the Athens, Greece.

The application deadline is February 23, 2016, 23.59 CET. 

Admission to the Humanity in Action Poland fellowship program is highly competitive with participants coming from Germany, Poland, Ukraine and the USA. (Please note that this national composition concerns the fellowship in Poland. For details about the fellowship in Germany and the USA, please see here -

  • The first selection is made based on the written application, completed online -, which must include: curriculum vitae, personal statement, response essay, Action Project proposal and a future commitment statement. Please make sure to check the application instructions and guidelines - before beginning your application.
  • Based on your written application, you may be invited for a personal interview with the admissions committee in Warsaw. The interviews will take place in March/April 2016. The exact date/time as well as the place (the committee might conduct interviews also by Skype) of the interview will be communicated via email. 
In general, final selections are made on the basis of finalists past accomplishments, demonstrated commitment to human rights and social justice, evidence of leadership potential, significant academic achievement, entrepreneurship and social maturity. Final decisions will be announced shortly after the interviews.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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