Call for Applications – The Humanity In Action Fellowship

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Call for Applications –  The Humanity In Action Fellowship

Humanity in Action Fellowship programs will take place for five weeks in the summer of 2013 in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Lyon and Warsaw.

The Humanity in Action Fellowships will run from May 31 through June 30, 2013. Fellows applying from the United States will also participate in an orientation program in Washington, DC, from May 27 through the afternoon of May 30, and will depart for Europe the evening of May 30.

Intensive and demanding, the Humanity in Action Fellowship brings together international groups of college students and recent graduates to explore national histories of discrimination and resistance, as well as examples of issues affecting different minority groups today.

Each program is highly interdisciplinary, and features daily lectures and discussions with renowned academics, journalists, politicians, and activists, as well as site visits to government agencies, non-profit and community organizations, museums, and memorials. The programs seek to highlight different models of action to remedy injustice.

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 create 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.

To this end, Senior Fellows, the alumni of the Humanity in Action Fellowship, are expected to participate in Humanity in Action’s international network once their programs end—and to sustain their engagement in the issues addressed during the fellowship.

University of Iowa undergraduate students and recent alumnae may choose to access support from Honors Program Fellowships Director, Kelly Thornburg while developing their application materials.  Please contact Kelly at 319-335-1874 or at by Thursday, November 15 to schedule an appointment to discuss the opportunity and application process.  

Applications for the 2013 Humanity in Action Fellowship program are be due by 11:59pm PST on January 10, 2013.

A Note About 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 multicultural skills and perspectives that will aid in their study and work on a broad range of human rights issues in the future.

Humanity in Action’s programs in Europe use the legacy of the Second World War and the Holocaust as the main historical foundation for examining contemporary issues, such as 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 also 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—connecting human rights to domestic national policies and attitudes—are central to Humanity in Action’s mission and 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.

For five weeks, the five Humanity in Action European countries serve as case studies that Fellows can later use as they engage other human rights issues. We discuss other international tensions, such as those pertaining to Iraq, Iran, Darfur, Afghanistan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and global issues such as the environment, but we primarily address them as they affect domestic issues in the five European countries and not in regard to their root causes. A wide range of international topics, conflicts and crises are addressed in follow-up conferences, study trips and internship opportunities for Senior Fellows, but the Fellowship itself—the entry point into the Humanity in Action network—adheres to a strong national focus.

This is the Humanity in Action method, refined over a dozen years of programmatic development. Those who are primarily interested in universal or global issues are encouraged to focus on the specific scope and purpose of the Humanity in Action Fellowship programs—and extract learning from the European experience for broader international and human rights considerations and applications through subsequent Humanity in Action activities. Those who prefer instead to study international conflicts should carefully consider whether the Humanity in Action Fellowship is right for them.


Applicants to the Humanity in Action Fellowship must be currently enrolled undergraduate students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors), or recent graduates (undergraduate classes of 2011 and 2012) at accredited, four-year undergraduate colleges or universities in the United States.

If you are an American citizen studying at a foreign university, you are eligible to apply to the Humanity in Action Fellowship through the United States. If you are an American student studying at a university in Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands or Poland, you may be eligible to apply through Humanity in Action offices in those countries. Please contact those offices directly to confirm your eligibility.

If you are a non-U.S. citizen studying at a university in the United States, you are eligible to apply to the Humanity in Action Fellowship through the U.S. office.

Humanity in Action seeks applicants who are mature, proactive, self-reliant and comfortable in intensive group activity and interaction. All majors and academic disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Applicants may not apply to a program in a specific country and cannot choose their city of participation.

Selection Process

Admissions to the Humanity in Action Fellowship program is highly competitive.

Last year, Humanity in Action received more than 400 applications from the United States and selected 38 Fellows. Selections are made on the basis of demonstrated commitment to minority rights and social justice, evidence of leadership potential, significant academic achievement, entrepreneurship and social maturity.

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 covers the costs of participation and accommodation during the fellowship. However, all Fellows will be responsible for financing the cost of airfare to participate in the program. Humanity in Action will cover this cost for all Fellows with documented need.

Although Humanity in Action provides a modest stipend for meals, Fellows should also plan to bring spending money of approximately $500 for food and social activities during the fellowship program.

About the Humanity in Action Curriculum

As European societies become increasingly diverse with the influx of immigrant populations, the tensions and challenges of respecting diversity while maintaining core social and cultural values come to the forefront of public debate.

The Humanity in Action Fellowship explores connections between Europe’s unique history during the Second World War and the Holocaust and tensions related to minority populations that are manifest in European societies today. Key areas of inquiry include anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, xenophobia and political extremism, seen through the specific lens of each of the five countries.

The programs will also examine the different logics of inclusion and exclusion at play in the integration versus assimilation debates underway in these societies. The Fellows are invited to propose answers to these challenging questions that advance the welfare of these societies while promoting the universality of human rights and social justice.

Humanity in Action will select approximately 10 Fellows from American universities for each program, who will be joined by equal numbers of participants from each European country. Students from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey and Ukraine will also participate in certain program countries.

Although each of the five Fellowship programs promote team research and debate on human rights and social justice in democratic societies, the scope and focus of the programs differ slightly in each city of participation.

Please click here to see examples of the Humanity in Action Fellowship curriculum from the 2012 programs.

Humanity in Action Obligations and Opportunities: After the Fellowship

Action Projects

As a requirement of participation, Fellows are obligated to conduct a hands-on outreach initiative—an “Action Project”—in their home communities. The initiative should reflect the Humanity in Action Fellowship experience. Upon successful completion, Fellows are invited to become Senior Fellows and to join the global Humanity in Action community.

Professional Fellowship Opportunities

Every year, Humanity in Action places more than 50 Senior Fellows in professional fellowship programs and internships to provide practical experience working on human and minority rights. Over 300 Senior Fellows have completed Humanity in Action-sponsored internships since 1999. Humanity in Action professional fellowship opportunities include the United States Congress, the European Parliament and other civic and political institutions in the United States and Europe.

Humanity in Action Senior Fellows Networks

Humanity in Action supports the professional development and continuing public engagement of its Senior Fellows through internship opportunities in government and grassroots organizations, career and academic guidance, and Senior Fellows Associations in nine countries that sponsor annual conferences and offer seed grants for social entrepreneurship initiatives. Previous Fellows have used the knowledge and experience gained in the Humanity in Action Fellowship to further their educational and career goals in public service, journalism, medicine, law, education, the arts, business and grassroots activism.


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