Visiting Fellows Program

Through its Visiting Fellows Program, the Human Rights Program (HRP) seeks to give thoughtful individuals with a demonstrated commitment to human rights an opportunity to step back and conduct a serious inquiry in the human rights field. Individuals who become fellows at the Program are usually scholars with a substantial background in human rights, or experienced activists. On occasion, they have included committed young workers in the field with the capacity and interest to develop as teachers or activists. A number of fellows have also come from the judiciary and other branches of government.

Typically, fellows come from outside the United States. They spend from one semester to a full academic year in residence at the Law School and devote the majority of their time to research and writing on a specific human rights topic. During this time, they may also audit courses in human rights and related subjects.

The fellows form an essential part of the human rights community at Harvard Law School. With reasonable exceptions for brief trips, they are expected to remain in residence during the term of their fellowship and to participate actively in the Human Rights Program Fellows Colloquium. Each fellow is required to make a presentation to HRP staff, faculty, and other fellows on at least one occasion. Fellows are also encouraged to participate in a number of other HRP activities.

HRP provides approximately 4-8 fellows annually with a shared office space, access to computers, and use of the Harvard library system. We cannot provide secretarial services for fellows, who must be prepared to take care of their own needs.

In order to profit from the fellowship, fluent spoken English is essential. While the Human Rights Program does not currently require a formal exam, it may request proof of such fluency.

As a general matter, the Human Rights Program does not fund fellows or provide them with living expenses. The Program will provide letters in support of fellows’ applications for funding to foundations and other institutions.

Eleanor Roosevelt Fellowship
Visiting Fellow applicants who are nationals of low or middle income countries are eligible for the Eleanor Roosevelt Fellowship. Nothing more is required in your application than to indicate interest in being considered.

Applications are usually due in February and successful applicants receive notice in late March/early April. The application has not yet opened for the 2020-2021 cycle.

Learn about the application process for the Visiting Fellows program.

If you have any additional questions, please be in touch at

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