2022/2023 Human Rights Advocacy Program (HRAP) at Columbia University (Scholarships Available)


Application deadline: Thursday, May 12, 2022.

Founded in 1989, the Human Rights Defenders 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 to provide local leaders with the tools, knowledge, access and networks needed to promote the realization of human rights and strengthen their respective organizations. .

The program is designed for human rights activists working with NGOs on issues such as sexual and gender-based violence, minority rights, LGBTQI+ rights, labor rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, migration, health , social exclusion, environmental justice, disability rights and business rights. social responsibility.

Participants are selected on the basis of their previous work experience in the field of human rights, their commitment to the field of human rights and their demonstrated ability to pursue higher education. Full-time students or government officials will not be considered. Candidates with full-time or part-time jobs pursuing their advocacy efforts are preferred.

Defenders must work at the local level. Applicants from high-income countries will not be considered except those representing marginalized communities.

Program Overview

After completing the intensive four-month program, advocates are able to more effectively lobby for their causes and respond to their community’s human rights concerns. The comparative advantages of the Human Rights Defenders Program are:

  • Full program of college courses, faculty mentorship, skills-building workshops and networking.
  • Focus on individual and organizational capacity building
  • Affiliation with Columbia University and location in New York
  • Week-long networking trip to Washington, DC
  • Alumni corps of 308 human rights defenders in over 86 countries


Fluency in English is required. Preference is given to those who have never had the opportunity to travel and study abroad. A bachelor’s degree is required.

Advocates must provide proof of institutional endorsement in English from their organizations for participation in the program and must commit to returning to that organization upon completion of the program. Only one application per organization should be submitted. More than one entry means that all entries from that organization will be disqualified. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that no other person in the organization has applied.


HRAP welcomes applications from qualified human rights defenders from all regions of the world. After the ISHR has conducted its rigorous selection process, it makes every effort to secure funding for advocates shortlisted to participate in the program. In some cases where ISHR is unable to obtain funding, shortlisted advocates may be asked to obtain the necessary funds to be admitted to the program. The generosity of the Arcus Foundation will allow us to admit one qualified trans lawyer from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, or Eastern and Southern Africa to the 2022-23 program.

Application procedure:

  • Candidates are requested to complete the application file in its entirety. Please complete all sections in English. Please follow all instructions, including those sent to your email address.
  • To access the application, candidates must create an account on the ISHR website and connection. Once logged in, applicants can start a new application by choosing Start/resume an HRAP request from the menu.

For more information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the 2023 Human Rights Defenders Program (HRAP) at Columbia University


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