Oak Human Rights Fellowships

The Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights was established in 1998 by a generous grant from the Oak Foundation. Each year, it hosts an Oak Human Rights Fellow to teach and conduct research while residing at the College. The Institute organizes lectures and other events centered around the fellow's area of expertise.

The purpose of the fellowship is to offer an opportunity for one prominent practitioner in international human rights to take a sabbatical leave from front-line work to spend the fall semester (September-December) in residence at Colby. This provides the Fellow time for respite, reflection, research, and writing. While all human rights practitioners are eligible, we especially encourage applications from those who are currently or were recently involved in "on-the-ground" work at some level of personal risk. Following the period of the fellowship, the fellow is expected to return home to continue her/his human rights work.


Each year, the Oak Institute brings an Oak Human Rights Fellow to teach and conduct research while residing at the College. The Institute organizes lectures and other events centered around the fellow’s area of expertise. The purpose of the fellowship is to offer an opportunity for prominent practitioners in international human rights to take a sabbatical leave from their work and spend as long as a semester as a scholar-in-residence at the College. This provides the Fellow time for reflection, research, and writing.

While all human rights practitioners are eligible, we especially encourage applications from those who are currently or were recently involved in “on-the-ground” work at some level of personal risk. The Oak Fellow’s responsibilities include regular meetings with students either through formal classes or informal discussion groups and assistance in shaping a lecture series or symposium associated with the particular aspect of human rights of interest to the fellow. The fellow also is expected to participate in the intellectual life of the campus and enable our students to work or study with a professional in the human rights field.

The Fellow will receive a stipend and College fringe benefits, plus round-trip transportation from the fellow’s home site, private housing near campus, use of a car, and meals on campus. The Fellow will also receive research support, including office space, secretarial support, computer and library facilities, and a student assistant. The Fellowship is awarded for the fall semester (September through December) each year. Following the period of the award, the fellow is expected to return to her or his human rights work.

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