Blog: Fellowships

November 16, 2017

HRP invites applications for its 2018-2019 Visiting Fellows Program

Posted by Emily Nagisa Keehn


The Human Rights Program invites applications for its Visiting Fellows Program for the 2018-2019 academic year. The Visiting Fellows Program gives individuals with a demonstrated commitment to human rights an opportunity to step back and conduct a serious inquiry in the human rights field. Visiting Fellows are usually scholars with a substantial background in human rights, experienced activists, or members of the judiciary or other branches of government.

Typically, fellows come from outside the U.S., and spend from one semester to a full academic year in residence at Harvard Law School, where they devote the majority of their time to research and writing on a human rights topic. The Program currently has a particular interest in fellows working on the United Nations Treaty Bodies in their research, though applications are not limited in this regard.

The fellows form an essential part of the human rights community at Harvard Law School, and participate in the Human Rights Program’s bi-monthly Visiting Fellows Colloquium, as well as a number of other activities.

The Human Rights Program provides approximately four fellows annually with a shared office space, access to computers, and use of the Harvard library system. As a general matter, the Human Rights Program does not fund fellows. However, applicants who are nationals of low or middle income countries are eligible for the Eleanor Roosevelt Fellowship, which offers a stipend to help defray the cost of living.  In order to profit from the fellowship, fluent spoken English is essential.

The deadline to submit applications is February 1, 2018. Click here for more information on how to apply or write to Emily Nagisa Keehn, the Associate Director of the Academic Program, at ekeehn@law.harvard.edu.

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March 27, 2017

Apply to be a Wasserstein Fellow!


The Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising (OPIA) is soliciting applications and nominations for the 2017-2018 Wasserstein Fellows Program. The deadline is April 14, 2017.

Wasserstein Fellows are outstanding public interest lawyers who have shown a demonstrated facility for mentoring and spend 2-3 days at Harvard Law School advising students individually. They also speak to students in group settings and assist the OPIA staff in developing additional advising resources. Read more about 2-3 day Wasserstein Fellow responsibilities.

In addition, OPIA will once again host a Wasserstein Fellow-in-Residence with the Human Rights Program (HRP). The OPIA/HRP Wasserstein-Fellow-in-Residence will spend four months on the HLS campus (September – December) and will split his or her time between OPIA and HRP. Learn more about what the OPIA/HRP Wasserstein Fellow-in-Residence entails.

We encourage you to apply; to nominate colleagues, mentors, or mentees; and/or to circulate this email announcement among your public interest colleagues and friends.

If you have questions about the program, please don’t hesitate to contact Cathering Pattanayak, the Associate Director at OPIA, at cpattanayak@law.harvard.edu.

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January 26, 2017

Tomorrow, Jan. 27: Post-Graduate Fellowship Information Session

January 27, 2017

Informational Session on Post-Graduate Fellowships

12:00- 1:00 p.m.
WCC 4059



Please join us for an informational session on post-graduate fellowships in human rights. We will discuss the application process for the Satter Human Rights Fellowship and the Henigson Human Rights Fellowship, both of which have deadlines in March. Faculty and staff from the Human Rights Program and OPIA will be present to workshop your fellowship project and placement ideas.

This event is sponsored by the Human Rights Program. Pizza will be served.

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November 23, 2016

HRP invites applications for its 2017-2018 Visiting Fellows Program

Posted by Emily Keehn

The Human Rights Program invites applications for its Visiting Fellows Program in the 2017-2018 academic year. The Visiting Fellows Program gives individuals with a demonstrated commitment to human rights an opportunity to step back and conduct a serious inquiry in the human rights field. Visiting Fellows are usually scholars with a substantial background in human rights, experienced activists, or members of the judiciary or other branches of government.

Typically, fellows come from outside the U.S., and spend from one semester to a full academic year in residence at Harvard Law School, where they devote the majority of their time to research and writing on a human rights topic. The Program currently has a preference for fellows working on the United Nations Treaty Bodies in their research, though applications are not limited in this regard.

The fellows form an essential part of the human rights community at Harvard Law School, and participate in the Human Rights Program’s bi-monthly Visiting Fellows Colloquium, as well as a number of other activities.

The Human Rights Program provides approximately four fellows annually with a shared office space, access to computers, and use of the Harvard library system. As a general matter, the Human Rights Program does not fund fellows. However, applicants who are nationals of low or middle income countries are eligible for the Eleanor Roosevelt Fellowship, which offers a stipend to help defray the cost of living.  In order to profit from the fellowship, fluent spoken English is essential.

The deadline to submit applications is February 1, 2017. Click here for more information on how to apply.

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August 22, 2016

HRP Welcomes New Associate Director for Academic Program

Posted by Gerald Neuman

Today I have the honor of announcing an exciting new appointment at the Human Rights Program. Emily Nagisa Keehn has joined HRP as Associate Director for the Academic Program.  Emily is a dynamic and skillful human rights lawyer, who will bring leadership and experience to the work of the Academic Program, and who looks forward to developing strong relationships with our students.  She will also act as an important liaison between the HRP Academic Program and other parts of the Law School and the University.

Emily Nagisa Keehn

Emily Nagisa Keehn

Emily joins the Human Rights Program from Sonke Gender Justice in Cape Town, where she was the head of policy development and advocacy. In this role, she directed strategic litigation, research, parliamentary engagement, and advocacy pertaining to human rights, gender, and HIV. She primarily focuses on human rights issues at the intersection of criminal justice, gender, and health.

Previously, Emily worked for UCLA School of Law, where she developed and ran a post-graduate legal fellowship for Southern African public interest lawyers, culminating in an LL.M. and a one-year work placement with a human rights organization. Emily’s experience spans Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, Israel and the U.S. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego, and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law.

At HRP, Emily will play a substantive and managerial role in innovating and implementing academic activities, including the speaker series, conferences, and the Academic Program’s various fellowships.

We welcome her warmly and look forward to your meeting her soon.

January 24, 2016

Friday, January 29: Post Graduate Fellowship Information Session

Aminta Ossom, JD ’09, spent her year as a Satter Fellow working for Amnesty International, building the evidence base and capacity for crimes against humanity and war crimes in West Africa.

Post Graduate Fellowship Information Session

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

WCC 4059

Please join us for pizza and an informational session about the post-graduate fellowships offered through the Human Rights Program.

We’ll fill you in on the Henigson and Satter fellowships, both of which have deadlines in March.

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January 21, 2015

Post-Graduate Fellowships: Upcoming Deadlines!

This is your friendly reminder from the Human Rights Program that there are several post-graduate fellowship opportunities with deadlines in February and March. The full list from OPIA is available here.

http://today.law.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/murciano_inside2_0265.jpg

Judy Murciano, Fellowships Director

We strongly advise you to tap into the wisdom and generosity of Judy Murciano, Fellowships Director, who is available for advising now and throughout the year. She is, without a doubt, one of the best resources available at HLS.

A couple of pressing deadlines are worth noting: Materials for the University Traveling Fellowships (The Kennedy, Knox and Shelton Traveling Fellowships, as they are collectively known, and the Australian Graduate Research Fellowships) must be submitted to Judy, by hard copy, the week of Feb. 2, so that she can write nominating letters by Feb. 13. The fellowships support a full academic year of research or study abroad for Harvard graduate/doctoral students or 2015 graduates of one of Harvard’s professional schools.

Applications for the Ford Foundation’s Post-Graduate Fellowship in Public Interest Law are due to OPIA by February 9. The fellowship funds one year of full-time work at a Ford Foundation grantee organization beginning in fall 2015. Only 3Ls, clerks, and JD alumni presently on 1 year fellowships may apply. Strong preference will be given to 3Ls.

The application for the Public Service Venture Fund is due March 2 for work in the public interest at either a non-profit or government agency. Strong preference for 3Ls, but clerks and LLMs may apply. All materials must be submitted online.

HRP also offers two post-graduate fellowships- the Henigson and the Satter– both of which have deadlines in early March. To find out more about those fellowships, please join us on Jan. 30 for an informational session at noon in WCC 4059.

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September 15, 2014

Student Perspective: Protecting Freedom of Expression, in Ethiopia and Beyond

Posted by Lindsay Church, JD '16

In July 2012, Eskinder Nega was sentenced to 18 years in prison. In June 2011, Reeyot Alemu was arrested and convicted to 14 years of imprisonment, reduced to five on appeal.

Their crimes? Practicing journalism in Ethiopia.

reeyot-AlemuNega and Alemu are award-winning journalists who shared the prestigious Human Rights Watch Hellman-Hammett Award in 2012. For Nega, whose first child was born while he and his wife were in custody for treason , the arrest came days after publishing a column that criticized the Ethiopian government’s detainment of journalists as suspected terrorists. For Alemu, a former high school English teacher, the arrest came days after she critiqued the ruling political party in an independent newspaper later shut down by the government.

The basis for the charges against these journalists is Ethiopia’s 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, which contains overly vague provisions that have been used by the government to silence its critics. Since the Proclamation was adopted, more than 30 journalists have been convicted on terrorism-related charges.

Earlier this summer, I had the privilege of working on behalf of Nega and Alemu as a fellow with the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI). The small London-based non-profit works directly with journalists and bloggers who have been prosecuted for exercising their protected right to freedom of expression. With the help of partner organizations, MLDI’s staff are currently working on 107 cases in 41 countries; the organization’s success rate in receiving favorable decisions hovers around 70 percent.

Courtesy: Amnesty International

Courtesy: Amnesty International

Because I studied journalism before coming to law school, I know the range of challenges American journalists face, from accessing information to protecting sources to the threat of civil liability. Still, it was always clear to me that the First Amendment by and large provides a greater amount of protection to journalists than any other national legal system. As my work at MLDI made clear this summer, freedom of expression is severely restricted in other countries—by censorship, regulations, state-operated monopolies, criminal liability, and physical threat, among others.

For example, on my very first day, I worked on a petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning the case of Le Quoc Quan, a Vietnamese human rights lawyer and blogger who was wrongfully prosecuted on trumped up charges of tax evasion. Throughout my internship, I also researched case law from regional courts on freedom of expression, helped with an amicus curiae submission before the High Court of South Africa in a case about criminal defamation, and worked on a case in defense of a blogger in Singapore who is being sued by Lee Hsien Loong, the country’s prime minister.

When Nani Jansen, MLDI’s legal director, filed a submission to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on behalf of Nega and Alemu, I had the opportunity to do preparatory work for the submission. I also helped in the filing of submissions to international and regional courts on behalf of Nega and Alemu.

At this point, their chances for release are still unknown, but the situation remains dire. Continue Reading…

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August 20, 2014

HRP Alumni in the News

Posted by Cara Solomon

We use all kinds of strategies here at the International Human Rights Clinic to push for change. Litigation. Treaty negotiation. Documentation and reporting.

As Communications Coordinator, I’ve always been partial to advocacy. Media advocacy, to be more precise. This summer, our alumni are putting it to great use in outlets all over the world.

On Monday, The Huffington Post ran a column by Nicolette Boehland, JD ’13, a Satter fellow with the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), documenting the devastating toll the conflict in Gaza is taking on civilians. For the column, Nicolette spoke by phone with Gazans she met last year while researching civilian perspectives on involvement, status, and risk in armed conflict, including in Libya, Bosnia, and Somalia.

In “No Safe Place in Gaza,” she writes:

A young woman described the crippling fear she had experienced over the last four weeks: “The worst of all is the night time,” she said. “There is no power, no electricity, and there are tens of drones in the sky. Whenever you hear a rocket, you think it’s targeting your house. You are running from one room to another. I know this is silly — if your house is hit, it won’t matter which room you were in.”

Each night, her family of six gathered on mattresses that they had pulled together in the middle of the living room, “far away from the windows, so that they don’t break,” she said. This way, if their house was hit, the whole family would be killed together. “We don’t want one of the family to survive and then have to grieve for the rest of us,” she said.

At the end of the column, Nicolette lists several strategies the Israeli government and Hamas could use to limit civilian suffering.

Closer to home, as police in combat gear clashed last week with protesters in Ferguson, MO, Sara Zampierin, JD ’11, a staff attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, was quoted in a New Yorker article, “The Economics of Police Militarization.” The article attributed some of the tension in Ferguson to the underlying problem of “criminal justice debt,” which can often pit law enforcement against residents.

Now, across much of America, what starts as a simple speeding ticket can, if you’re too poor to pay, mushroom into an insurmountable debt, padded by probation fees and, if you don’t appear in court, by warrant fees…What happens when people fall behind on their payments? Often, police show up at their doorsteps and take them to jail.

From there, the snowball rolls. “Going to jail has huge impacts on people at the edge of poverty,” Sara Zampierin, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, told me. “They lose their job, they lose custody of their kids, they get behind on their home-foreclosure payments,” the sum total of which, she said, is “devastating.” While in prison, “user fees” often accumulate, so that, even after you leave, you’re not quite free.

And earlier this summer, Clara Long, JD ’12, an immigration and border policy researcher with Human Rights Watch, waded into the heated debate over the surge of migration at the southeastern US border. In an Op-Ed she co-authored for The Guardian, Clara railed against the Obama administration’s plans to open more family detention centers. The headline read: “Obama pledged to limit the practice of detaining minors. What happened?”

It appears that the White House has come to view being “thoughtful and humane” as a political liability. The new move to ramp up family detention comes in response to criticism that the administration’s lax immigration enforcement “created a powerful incentive for children to cross into the United States illegally”, as Senator John Cornyn of Texas put it last week.

Obama’s move is all the more disappointing because effective alternatives to detention exist and are used in countries facing similar migration surges. Countries like Italy and Malta, prime entrances for migrants to the EU, have open reception facilities where migrant and asylum-seeking families can come and go at will – and Malta pledged to end immigration detention of children altogether in 2014. Though neither country has a spotless record – Italy summarily returns to Greece some unaccompanied migrant children and Malta sometimes detains unaccompanied migrant kids while authorities try to figure out their ages – their examples show that detaining kids with families is a choice, not a necessity.

Clara wrote another column for The Guardian on border removals in April.

In response to this flurry of activity, we at HRP have just two things to say: Thank you. And well done.

July 31, 2014

Fellowship Announcements!

Posted by Mindy Roseman

The Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School is pleased to announce the establishment of the Global Justice Fellowship (GJF) with the generous support of the Planethood Foundation. The fellowship supports scholars, advocates, and practitioners with a demonstrated background in international justice and the rule of law. Of most interest are those whose work concerns ongoing human rights issues, especially those touching on egregious violations, including genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes.

Matthew Bugher, JD ‘09, is the inaugural Global Justice Fellow. Over the coming year, Matthew will work to combat state-sponsored violence and persecution in Myanmar and Zimbabwe. More specifically, he will contribute to the Clinic’s ongoing advocacy relating to military policy reform in Myanmar; work with partners on new initiatives to promote accountability for gross human rights violations; and support local activists in their efforts to document abuses.

Earlier in the summer, the Human Rights Program made several other fellowship awards. With the support of a Henigson Human Rights Fellowship, Maryum Jordan, J.D. ’14, will work in Peru with EarthRights International; Lindsay Henson, J.D. ’14, will work in South Africa with Lawyers Against Abuse; Sarah Wheaton, J.D. ’14, will work in Egypt with St. Andrew’s Resettlement Legal Aid Project; and Anjali Mohan, J.D. ’14, will work in Myanmar with Justice Base.

HRP also awarded two Satter Human Rights fellowships: to James Tager, J.D. ’13,  who will work with the International Commission of Jurists in Thailand, and to Jason Gelbort, J.D. ’13, who will work with Public International Law & Policy Group in Myanmar.

NOTE: HRP recently re-opened the application process for one more Satter Fellowship.

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