For the past 15 years, the Humanity in Action Fellowship has brought together international groups of students and young professionals to study minority rights and to produce research exploring how and why individuals and societies resist intolerance and stand up for democratic values. The 2014 programs will begin in Washington, DC at the Council on Foreign Relations and subsequently take place for four weeks in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris and Warsaw.
Kristin Meagher was one of 45 students in the United States selected to receive the 2011 summer fellowship grants and she was assigned to spend the summer months in Warsaw. She joined a fascinating international cosmopolitan group of young professionals: each of them passionate about international relations, human rights, international law, and history. They spent the months of June and July studying the intricacies of human rights and international law issues in modern day Poland following the devastating impacts of World War II on the country. It was a very regimented program with daily lectures from 9:00am till 5:00pm from a whole range of Polish scholars and professionals specializing in various fields ranging from sex trafficking issues in Eastern Europe to the current legislation regarding the Roma (gypsies/traveling people) to ramifications of the Holocaust and the current states of various Jewish communities in Poland to briefings from government officials and European Union representatives.
“Hearing from these various professionals in a relatively small-group setting was incredible; but what was even greater was the discussion that followed among ourselves. As young professionals from various different country, we each came with our own internal biases, thoughts, and opinions; it was fascinating to learn from my European counterparts and experience how they think and work through problems. We learned so much from each other. In addition to the daily lectures, we also had a lot of planned group site visits to government buildings, NGOs and non-profits, Holocaust death camps, etc.”
The summer culminated in an international conference in Berlin where all the fellows from all countries met for four days (there was somewhere around 200 of us total; 47 were American)
“There I was able to network and meet some pretty fantastic people – one of whom offered me an internship upon graduation, which I gladly accepted. I am still friends and still in contact with the people in my program; we are an awesome part of the work that Humanity in Action is doing to promote the awareness and knowledge regarding human rights issues around the world, and we are a part of a vast web of students and young professionals committed to making a difference in our world.”
Kristin recommends this fellowship to anyone that is interested in applying, and is happy to answer any questions.
Humanity in Action invites applications from talented college students and recent graduates who are intellectually gifted, mature, independent and passionate about social justice and human rights. Current sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduates from the undergraduate classes of 2012 and 2013 are eligible to apply.
The application deadline for the 2014 Fellowship Programs in Europe is January 9, 2014. For more information, visit The Humanity In Action Website.