Applying for a Satter Human Rights Fellowship

Prospective applicants for the 2018-2019 Satter Fellowship must contact Dr. Abadir M. Ibrahim by March 1 in order to apply. The application is due on March 19, 2018. 


For Harvard Law School J.D. students: alumni who will received the J.D. degree in 2018, as well as recent J.D. graduates.

For Harvard Law School LL.M. students: alumni who will receive the LL.M. degree in 2018, as well as recent LL.M. graduates.

Interviews may be required for finalists. The Committee awarding the fellowships is not required to award any fellowship in the absence of sufficiently qualified applicants.


A complete application will consist of the following:

  • Curriculum vitae, including information about classes, work and extracurricular activities in public interest and human rights inside and outside HLS;
  • A personal statement (500 words maximum) about the applicant’s relevant experience, interest, and future aspirations with respect to public interest and human rights work. The statement should include a discussion of the place of the fellowship in the applicant’s career plans;
  • Project description (see below for project requirements) including: a description of the sponsoring organization and of its work in the local and international context; a discussion of the student’s project and its relation to the work of the organization; and an estimated budget (to demonstrate feasibility);
  • A letter and supporting material from the sponsoring organization (or related organizations) detailing their purpose, function, and particular interest in the work of the applicant;
  • Two or three letters of recommendation, including at least one from an HLS professor;
  • HLS transcript

Fellowship Selection Process

The Human Rights Program will oversee the administration of the Satter Fellowships, including advising students preparing applications on the substance of their proposal – whether particular sponsoring groups qualify, whether a student can work out arrangements to work with related NGOs on a single project, and so on. The Program may seek to supplement the application with information from the applicant or other informed sources.

Project Requirements and Qualified Locations

The Satter Human Rights Fellowships focus on human rights violations in countries such as those classified as “Not Free” in the Freedom House index (preferably scored “7”). The fellowships are limited to work on the following areas: 1) situations of mass atrocity; 2) situations of widespread and severe violations of human rights such as crimes against humanity that may be associated with civil conflict, failed states, authoritarian leaders or other highly repressive regimes; 3) situations of transition in the aftermath of conditions that meet the criteria outlined in (1) or (2). Fellows should be based in the countries where their work is focused. Nearby placements may be considered.

Preferred locations are for work in the Middle East and Africa. Other locations (e.g., Myanmar/Burma, Cambodia) that meet the above criteria may also be considered. Fellows may not be located in Europe. The fellowship is not intended to support extensive research within an NGO that is removed from these activities.

No fellowship will be awarded for projects in the home country of the candidate. For the LL.M. Fellowship, preference will be given to projects outside the region (or in some cases, sub-region) of the candidate’s home country.

Final determination of whether a project proposal conforms will be made by a committee of faculty members, senior administrators of the Harvard Law School, and/or full time professional staff of the Human Rights Program, established for the purpose of awarding the Satter Human Rights Fellowships.

We encourage students to think creatively about the organizations to which they would like to apply and to discuss potential sponsoring organizations with HRP early in the planning process.

Project Details

Applicants should contact organizations as early as possible to determine their needs and the capacity of the applicant to fill them. Projects should be as detailed as possible. Many smaller NGOs, however, will not be able to predict their exact needs far in advance. The informed commitment of the NGO to work closely with the applicant and devote institutional resources to the project is as important as the substantive detail of the project itself.

Funding Amounts and Restrictions

Fellowship awards are made without regard to financial need. The amount of the fellowship will be based on your project proposal and budget, but will not exceed $27,000. Up to $1,500 is available towards health insurance. After the completion of the fellowship selection process, HRP will consider additional cost of living increases for selected fellows on a case-by-case basis.

Additional Information

Particular weight will be given to:

  • The applicant’s relevant experience, including academic experience, extracurricular activities, and work experience that evidence a high capacity for and commitment to human rights work and the proposed project;
  • The merit and feasibility of the applicant’s project, including the capacity of the proposed organization or organizations to host the applicant and make valuable use of his or her work;
  • The relevance of the project for the career plans of the applicant.

For more information on Satter Fellowships for Human Rights, please contact:

Human Rights Program
Harvard Law School
WCC Clinical Wing
6 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-495-9362
Email: [email protected]

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