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Stanford Human Rights Center Fellowship

Purpose of the Fellowship

The Stanford Human Rights Center (‘the Center’) offers one (1) Human Rights Fellowship for graduating Stanford Law School students or recent graduates who have demonstrated a strong commitment to international human rights.  The fellowships will provide recent graduates with experience essential to developing a career in human rights work. The fellowships are not intended to fund research at academic or similar institutions, but instead to promote engaged practice with a human rights supranational human rights body, wherever located, whose work focuses in significant degree on the developing world.  Typically, preference will be given to applicants who wish to work within the inter-American human rights system, or the African human rights system.

Eligibility and Preference

Current 3Ls expecting to receive a JD degree by June 2015 are eligible to apply, as well as SLS JDs who received their degrees as early as June 2013 and who are either currently clerking for a judge or engaged in full-time public interest work, or were active in human rights work while at SLS.  Consideration on an exceptional basis may also be given to recent graduates from before 2013 who can make a compelling case.  Graduating JSD, LLM, and SPILS students who expect to receive their degrees in June 2015 are also eligible to apply.  While preference will be given to Stanford candidates, consideration will also be given to graduates from other legal and graduate institutions whose focus is on the inter-American system.

Preference will be given to students who are fluent in languages—other than English—relevant to the work of the institution in which they intend to work.

Interviews may be required for finalists. The Center is not required to award a fellowship in the absence of sufficiently qualified applicants.


The application shall consist of:

  • Curriculum vitae, including information about classes, work, and extracurricular activities related to human rights or public interest;
  • A personal statement about the applicant’s relevant human rights experience.  The statement should be no more than 500 words and should discuss the ways in which the fellowship would contribute to the applicant’s career path;
  • A project proposal that includes:
    • a description of the sponsoring organization and its work in the local and international context;
    • a detailed discussion of the student’s proposed activities while at this organization, including the skills and substantive knowledge that the student expects to acquire.
    • A discussion of the role of this experience in the student’s overall career goals.
  • A letter of support from the sponsoring organization(s) detailing its mission, purpose, and particular interest in the work of the applicant;
  • TWO letters of recommendation, including at least one from a member of the SLS faculty; the letters of recommendation should be sent directly to the email addresses below;
  • A copy of the applicant’s SLS transcript.

Application Deadline

Review of applications materials will begin on January 15, 2015 and will continue until a decision is made.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to send their applications before January 15, 2015.

Applications must be sent by electronic mail to:,, and  Reference letters should be sent directly to these three email addresses, or to Ms. Rachel Ungar, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, N182, Stanford, CA  94305..

Requirements for Sponsoring Organization

Strong preference will be given to applicants sponsored by a supranational human rights body whose work is focused, at least in significant measure, in the developing world.

For the purposes of this fellowship, the Center understands a supranational organization to be an independent/autonomous institution or entity operating within an intergovernmental human rights body.  For example, the Inter-American Commission, the African Commission or Court, or a special mechanism or treaty-based committee of the United Nations.

Students are encouraged to discuss potential sponsoring organizations with the Center’s Director, the Director of International Public Interest Initiatives at the Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law, as well as the staff of the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic early in the planning process.  The Center will make the final determination as to the eligibility of the proposed organization.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with the Center's Executive Director throughout the application process to ensure that their proposed organization meets eligibility criteria.

Fellowship Requirements

Each fellow will be responsible for reporting on her or his work and experience at the end of the fellowship tenure.  The fellow will be expected to write a brief report and, if applicable, to collaborate with the Human rights Center and/or the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic in the development of a project that relates to the fellow’s work.  Fellows will be expected to contribute to our growing community of human rights professionals by maintaining their contact information with the Center current and making time, within reason, to mentor and serve as resources for future fellowship applicants. 

During the course of the fellowship year, fellows will be expected to submit a mid-year and a final written report to the Center, providing updates and conclusions about the fellow’s work.  Fellows are expected to be in contact with the Center for support and advice throughout the year.

Project Proposal

Applicants should contact the supranational bodies where they would like to serve their fellowship year early, in order to assess project feasibility. Project proposals should be as detailed as possible and include consideration of logistics and budget.  Proof of the supranational human rights organization's interest and willingness to work closely with the applicant and devote institutional resources to train and supervise  the fellow, is a crucial factor in a project’s success.  Detailed confirmation of the organization's sponsorship is therefore a major factor in the application selection process. 

Fellowship Selection Process

The Stanford Human Rights Center will oversee the administration of the fellowships.  The Executive Director of the Center will advise students preparing applications on the substance of their proposal and whether particular sponsoring organizations qualify.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with the Director prior to submitting their application. The selection process will take into account the applicant’s experience and commitment to human rights work, as well as the merit and feasibility of the proposed activities for the fellowship year.

Funding Amounts and Restrictions

Fellowship awards will be made without regard to financial need. The amount of the fellowship will be $40,000 plus fringe benefits, which will be determined by the sponsoring organization.  .

Fellows may supplement the fellowship from other grants and awards up to a limit of $10,000. The Center may reduce the amount of its grant if fellows receive additional support in excess of $10,000, except in cases of exceptional and justified need. Fellows are required to keep the Center informed of other funding.