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Fellows come to Human Rights First from the nation’s leading universities, law schools, law firms, and the business and public sectors. These thoughtful, energetic colleagues enable us to respond to emerging human rights problems and maintain momentum on issues that require long-term study and steady policy advocacy. Fellows have published reports and policy blueprints, advocated on Capitol Hill and at the United Nations, provided thorough investigative research, engaged the media, and served as liaisons to human rights defenders around the world. Fellows are indispensable to helping Human Rights First advance its mission to ensure the United States is a global leader on human rights.

Fellows are generously supported by private individuals, families, and institutions. To learn about funding or establishing a fellowship at Human Rights First, please contact our Development Department at fundraisingstaff@humanrightsfirst.org or (212) 845-5275.

Human Rights Firsts Fellowships

  • A. Whitney Ellsworth Internship
  • Robert D. Joffe Fellowship
  • Leon Levy Fellowship
  • Robert M. Pennoyer Fellowship
  • Atlas Corps Fellowship
  • Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Fellowship
  • Ford Foundation Public Interest Law Fellowship
  • Furman Fellowship
  • Arthur C. Helton Fellowship
  • Kroll Family Human Rights Fellowship
  • Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellowship
  • Equal Justice Works Fellowship
  • McCain Institute for International Leadership Next Generation Leaders Fellowship
  • ACE Rule of Law and Human Rights Fellowship
  • Justice Center Public Interest Fellowship
  • Immigrant Justice Corps Fellowship

A. Whitney Ellsworth Internship

A. Whitney Ellsworth is the founding publisher of the New York Review of Books. He brought a businessperson’s acumen and an editor’s eye to Human Rights First’s board, where he served for 18 years. He helped guide our marketing and fundraising efforts, always emphasizing the importance of strong writing. And as a former chair of Amnesty International, he helped us both build on the successes of the human rights movement and forge our own path.

Robert D. Joffe Fellowship

Robert Joffe was known for his brilliant mind and for his unshakable commitment to human rights. Joffe served on the board of Human Rights First for over 22 years, the last five as vice-chair. He was a passionate advocate for victims of injustice and oppression. He spent more than four decades at Cravath, Swaine & Moore law firm, serving as presiding partner for seven years.

Leon Levy Fellowship

The Leon Levy Foundation strives to exemplify Leon Levy’s philanthropic legacy, and build on his vision to encourage and support excellence in six broad areas: Understanding the Ancient World, Arts and Humanities, Preservation of Nature and Gardens, Brain Research and Science, Human Rights, and Jewish Culture.

Robert M. Pennoyer Fellowship

Created by two of Bob Pennoyer’s close friends, Francis W. Hatch and the late Judge Harold R. Tyler, Jr., the Pennoyer Fellowship was conceived as a lasting tribute to Bob’s lifetime of public service and passionate commitment to human rights and the rule of law.

Atlas Corps Fellowship

Atlas Corps is an overseas fellowship whose mission is to address critical social issues by developing leaders, strengthening organizations, and promoting innovation of skilled nonprofit professionals.

Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Fellowship

The Bernstein Fellowships were established at Yale Law School in 1997 to honor Robert Bernstein, the founder and former chair of Human Rights Watch, the former chair and president of Random House, and a tireless champion of human rights. Administered by the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights, the fellowship promotes innovative and creative approaches to human rights advocacy.

Ford Foundation Public Interest Law Fellowship

The Ford Foundation Public Interest Law School Fellowship connects highly motivated first and second-year law students to substantive, transformative experiences with Ford grantee organizations. Internships focus broadly on legal analysis, litigation and public policy advocacy, to protect and further the civil rights of immigrants, children, LGBT people, prisoners, and ex-offenders.

Furman Fellowship

Furman Fellowships were established at New York University Law School in 1997 as a twelve-month program for two one-year post-graduate New York University Law students. One fellow works at Human Rights First, and the second works at Human Rights Watch.

Arthur C. Helton Fellowship

The Arthur C. Helton Fellowship, established in 2004 on the recommendation of the American Society of International Law Honors Committee, recognizes the legacy of Arthur C. Helton, who died in the 2003 bombing of the U.N. mission in Baghdad.

From 1982 to 1994, Mr. Helton led the refugee program at Human Rights First and built our pro bono legal representation program, which recruits attorneys at law firms and trains them to represent asylum applicants. The program is flourishing today and has served thousands of refugees. It is recognized as a national model. In addition, Human Rights First derives inspiration from Mr. Helton’s tireless advocacy on behalf of asylum seekers in detention. We continue his work in this area as we push the United States to reform its immigration detention system to ensure that refugees seeking asylum protection are treated in accordance with international human rights standards.

Kroll Family Human Rights Fellowship

Jules B. Kroll is chairman and CEO of Kroll Bond Rating Agency Inc. He is widely regarded as a pioneer of modern investigations, intelligence, and the corporate security industry. At Georgetown Law, he established the Kroll Family Human Rights Fellowship, which enables recent graduates to work full-time at human rights organizations.

Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellowship

The Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellowship provides three graduating students with the opportunity to spend one year working with an innovative human rights organization. In 2015, fellows will be selected to work with Human Rights First, the Center for Business and Human Rights, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Equal Justice Works Fellowship

The Equal Justice Works Fellowship funds hundreds of public interest attorneys each year to close the justice gap on issues such as foreclosure, community economic development, immigration, civil rights, homelessness, access to healthcare, and domestic violence. These Fellows have a lasting impact well beyond their fellowship, with more than eighty percent continuing in public interest work.

The McCain Institute’s Next Generation Leaders Program

The McCain Institute’s flagship program is the Next Generation Leaders (NGL) program, designed to identify, train, network and empower a diverse group of emerging, character-driven leaders from the United States and around the world. Geared to mid-career professionals, this yearlong leadership development program empowers emerging global leaders through The McCain Institute’s tailored professional development experience. A key aspect of the program is each NGL’s preparation of a Leadership Action Plan, aimed at defining the tangible steps and actions the NGLs will take to bring about positive change in their home environments.

ACE Rule of Law and Human Rights Fellowship

University of Pennsylvania Law School supports students who seek international and public interest careers, which led to a partnership with Human Rights First. This fellowship provides a recent UPenn Law graduate with the opportunity to spend one full year with Human Rights First, working on cutting edge projects in international rule of law.

Justice Center Public Interest Fellowship

The University of Texas at Austin Law School created the Justice Corps to support its graduates who are committed to beginning their careers in public service. Each year, the program sends outstanding new alumni to work with nonprofit legal organizations to increase access to justice for underrepresented individuals and communities.

Immigrant Justice Corps Fellowship

Immigrant Justice Corps Fellowship is a two-year program open to recent law graduates from around the country. Justice Corps Fellows serve the newcomers who most need legal help, and collectively they expand the quality and quantity of legal representation for underserved immigrants. Immigrant Justice Corps looks for people with a demonstrated commitment to immigration law and the intent to remain in the field permanently. The goal of the program is to send the best new lawyers to where the need is greatest.