Human Rights Advocacy & Globalization at Columbia University

The Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP) is a capacity building program designed to strengthen the skills, knowledge, and networks of proven human rights defenders from the Global South and marginalized communities in the United States.

HRAP’s current focus has emerged in recent years as a response to the negative effects of globalization on those with the least access to decision-making processes. Given their physical and symbolic distance from centers of power, grassroots leaders are typically unable to lobby for equitable outcomes from global policymakers.

The design of HRAP is intended to help level the playing field for those lacking the access and relevant skills or knowledge to lobby effectively for their causes. The Program provides advanced training, support, and networking opportunities to respected human rights leaders. The focus is both on strengthening the skills of the individual Advocates and providing tools for them to build sustainable organizations that advocate for disadvantaged peoples.
Program Focus
Since 2004, HRAP has concentrated its support on individuals and organizations that address issues broadly related to globalization.
The four-month intensive capacity building program based at Columbia University in New York focuses on the following key issue areas:
  • Environmental injustice
  • Labor rights violations
  • Ramifications of resource extraction
  • Public health crises
  • Unsustainable development
  • Intolerance, xenophobia, and social exclusion
Special attention is given to the above issues and their intersection with gender, race, ethnicity, sexual identity, and/or other sources of marginalization.
To meet HRAP’s goals, Advocates are expected to participate fully in the offerings provided by HRAP, including:
  • Skills workshops on advocacy planning and strategies, fundraising, press and media, and building sustainable organizations;
  • Columbia University courses on human rights, public health, the environment, development, and labor rights;
  • Meetings and networking opportunities with NGO staff, activists, policymakers, representatives of international institutions, and academics.
Timing and Commitment
The HRAP will begin in the latter half of August and run until mid-December 2009. To be considered, participants must commit to full preparation for and complete engagement in the Program.
About the Center for the Study of Human Rights
Since its establishment at Columbia University in 1978, the Center for the Study of Human Rights (CSHR) has been committed to its core goals of providing human rights education to Columbia students, fostering innovative interdisciplinary academic research, and offering its expertise in international capacity building to human rights leaders and organizations.
CSHR actively works to ensure that local peoples and human rights advocates are included in the political and economic policy decisions that affect their lives.
By convening faculty, students, and human rights leaders from a wide variety of backgrounds, CSHR creates an environment in which research, education, and international outreach contribute to the establishment of a more just and equitable world.

Admissions Information

Selection of Participants
The HRAP focuses on human rights and globalization. The Program is designed for experienced lawyers, journalists, doctors, teachers, social workers, community organizers, and other human rights activists working with NGOs on labor rights, migration, health, social exclusion, environmental justice, and corporate social accountability.
Participants are selected on the basis of their previous work experience in human rights and globalization, commitment to the human rights field, and demonstrated ability to pursue graduate-level studies. Full-time students or government officials will not be considered.
Advocates must originate from and reside in either the Global South or the United States. Fluency in English is required. Preference is given to those who have not previously had such opportunities to travel and study internationally.
Advocates must secure institutional endorsement from their organizations for their participation in the Program and must commit to returning to that organization upon completion of the Program.
CSHR makes every effort to provide full fellowships to cover program costs as well as travel and housing. A reasonable stipend is also provided to cover basic costs. CSHR staff will work with interested candidates who have been waitlisted for the Program to identify potential funding sources in cases where CSHR does not yet have the resources to provide a full fellowship.
All items must be received by the application deadline. Applications may be sent by fax, email, or post. Applicants should take into consideration the time it takes for international mail to arrive. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. Applicants are strongly encouraged to send materials electronically or by fax to avoid the high costs associated with private, express mail services.
Applicants are asked to complete the application in its entirety. Please complete all sections. All requested information should be typed or clearly printed in English.
Upon receipt of a completed application, a confirmation will be sent to the applicant. While every effort will be made to notify applicants of any missing materials, due to the high volume of applications, it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all required materials are received by the deadline.
Application Checklist
Before you submit your application to CSHR, please check the following required materials to be sure your application is complete:
  • Section A: Personal Data
  • Section B: Curriculum vitae or resume
  • Section C: Institutional Statement of Support
  • Section D: Letters of Recommendation
Submitting Application Materials
This form should be sent using the "Submit" button below or the "Submit" button on the last page. Additional information is available at or Click here to download application form
Other materials may be sent by email (preferred), fax, or mail to:; Fax: +1 212.851.1654
Human Rights Advocates Program Center for the Study of Human Rights Columbia University 91 Claremont Ave, 7th Floor Tower New York
, NY 10027 USA , Tel: +1 212.854.3014



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Human Rights Advocacy & Globalization at Columbia University
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