All applicants for the 2023 HRAP have been notified of their status via the email in their application. The 2024 HRAP application is now open. Previous applicants are welcome to apply if they meet the criteria below.
Founded in 1989, the Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP) is a unique and successful model of human rights capacity building. HRAP capitalizes on its affiliation with Columbia University and its location in New York City to provide grassroots leaders the tools, knowledge, access, and networks to promote the realization of human rights and strengthen their respective organizations.
HRAP’s comprehensive program of advocacy, networking, skills-building, and academic coursework provides advocates the opportunity to hone practical skills, develop a deeper understanding of human rights, and foster mutually beneficial relationships with organizations and individuals in their respective fields.
Since 1989, 346 advocates from 95 countries have participated in HRAP.
After completing the intensive four-month program, Advocates are able to more effectively lobby for their causes and address the human rights concerns of their community. The comparative advantages of the Human Rights Advocates Program are its:
- Comprehensive program of academic coursework, faculty mentoring, skills-building workshops, and networking.
- Emphasis on individual and organizational capacity building
- Affiliation with Columbia University and location in New York
- Weeklong networking trip to Washington, D.C.
- Alumni body of 308 human rights advocates in more than 86 countries
Selection of Participants
The Program is designed for human rights activists working with NGOs on issues including sexual and gender-based violence, minority rights, LGBTQI+ rights, labor rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, migration, health, social exclusion, environmental justice, disability rights, and corporate social accountability.
Participants are selected on the basis of their work experience in human rights, commitment to the human rights field, and demonstrated ability to pursue graduate-level studies. Full-time students, academics, or government officials will not be considered. Applicants holding full-time jobs pursuing their advocacy efforts are preferred.
Advocates must work at the grassroots level. Applicants from high-income countries will not be considered except for those representing marginalized communities. (See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information about this requirement). Fluency in English is required. Preference is given to those who have not previously had opportunities to travel and study internationally. A bachelor’s degree is preferred but not required.
Advocates must provide proof of institutional endorsement in English from their organizations for their participation in the Program and must commit to returning to that organization upon completion of the Program.
We welcome applications from qualified human rights advocates from all regions of the world.
After ISHR conducts its stringent selection process, it makes every effort to secure funding for shortlisted Advocates to attend the program. In certain cases where ISHR cannot secure funding, shortlisted Advocates may be asked to secure the funds needed for them to be admitted to the program.
The generosity of the Arcus Foundation will make it possible for us to admit one qualified Trans Advocate from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean or Eastern and Southern Africa to the 2024 program.
The generosity of other funders will also enable us to admit qualified Advocates working on LGBT and/or disability and/or SRHR rights in Latin America and/or Africa in the 2024 program. Additional donors will be identified to support outstanding applicants working on other human rights issues at the grassroots level around the globe.
The generosity of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University will allow us to admit one advocate from Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe.
The generosity of Ambassador Nicholas Platt in memory of his wife Sheila Platt will allow us to admit an advocate working with survivors of torture and/or in the field of social work. No geographic restrictions.
Applicants are asked to complete the application in its entirety. The entire application including attachments must be in English.
In order to access the application, applicants must register an account on the ISHR website and log in. Once logged in, applicants can begin a new application by choosing Start/Resume A HRAP Application from the menu. Please follow all instructions, including those sent to your email address.
After beginning an application, the applicant can either choose to save the form as a draft, or submit a completed application. If you choose to save the form as a draft, you can return to this page to complete it. Upon submission of a completed application, a confirmation will be sent to the applicant. Applicants may login to the online application to view or edit their submitted applications until the deadline.
To edit or complete submitted applications, log in to the ISHR website and choose Manage HRAP Submission.
Columbia University aims to make all websites fully accessible to users with disabilities. If you experience difficulty using this page, please contact [email protected].
At the time of the release of this application, we are planning to offer the next HRAP on campus from late August 2024 to mid-December 2024. Please note that the timing is subject to change. Please revisit this section for any changes.
The next HRAP application is now open and it will close on October 15, 2023. If you are unable to apply by the deadline, please join the ISHR newsletter here which we suggest you follow to learn when the following application will open.
Two signed letters of recommendation are required. Unsigned letters will not be accepted and your entire application will be removed from consideration. Electronic signatures are accepted. The recommenders must provide their contact information (phone number and email address). You cannot submit the proof of institutional endorsement as one of the recommendation letters. All supporting documentation must be in English. They must be from those who can attest to your work as a human rights advocate. Your letters of recommendation weigh heavily on our consideration. Please reach out to potential recommenders in a timely fashion. Most recommenders require at least a few weeks to prepare a solid recommendation letter.
You must also upload a copy of your university diploma and/or transcript. (If you hold multiple degrees, please upload the highest one.)
A stringent and thorough due diligence process is conducted to choose participants. Shortlisted applicants will be asked to interview with HRAP alumni from their own countries and/or regions. Finalists will interview with ISHR’s Director of Capacity Building.
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