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Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights

"Human rights” has emerged as a prominent concept for justice amongst scholars, activists, politicians, aid workers, and NGO officials. It has wide use and powerful reach yet remains contested and fluid. What opportunities does the invocation of human rights enable, and what does it constrain? How do we understand the intellectual genealogy of human rights? Is human rights the terrain of resistance—or the new orthodoxy? The Gallatin Human Rights Initiative seeks to catalyze critical reflection and engagement with these and related questions.

The Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights supports selected students with up to $5,000 in funding for extended research or experiential learning projects that focus on these issues. Students identify human rights organizations with which to work and propose their own summer projects and/or internships. The organizations should have the capacity to host students and incorporate them into the substantive aspects of their human rights work in meaningful ways. The aim of the fellowship is to allow students to contribute to the organization’s work while gaining experience in the human rights field in ways that complement their academic trajectory at NYU.

Read below for more details on the program, including eligibility and application instructions, and visit the Global Fellowship in Human Rights FAQs page.

Application Deadline for 2015-2016: October 30, 2015, midnight


A Year-Long Program


Fellows are required to attend and participate actively in two courses:

  • A 2-credit weekly seminar focusing on human rights, led by Professor Vasuki Nesiah. The seminar meets for 75 minutes and offers a peer review of writing, brief assignments, guest lectures, and some local excursions.
  • A 2-credit independent study exploring some aspect of the intended summer project, under the mentorship of a full- or part-time NYU professor of the student's choice. The independent study should meet at least five times and should explore a minimum of five texts.


Fellows commit 9-12 weeks of full-time work on the summer internship and/or project with an organization working in the human rights field and must live on-site for the duration. Fellows must submit at least four blog posts about their experiences.


Fellows present their work to the NYU community at the group’s annual Human Rights Symposium. This will involve a substantial 10- to 12-page paper and/or a panel presentation.

Meet the Fellows

Gallatin has sponsored 50 Global Fellows to date—eleven in 2015, nine in 2014, nine in 2013, eleven in 2012, and ten in 2011. To learn more about the Fellows and the organizations with which they are affiliated, visit the links below and see the Fellows' current blog site, blogs from 2011-14 Fellows, and annual symposium presentations about Fellows' summer experiences.

Meet the Advisory Council

The Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights is supported and advised by a group of distinguished leaders in the field of International Human Rights.

Learn more about the Advisory Council here.


The program is open to all undergraduate students in degree-granting programs at NYU and to master’s students in Engineering, Gallatin, the Global Institute for Public Health, the Graduate School of Arts and Science, Nursing, the School of Law, Social Work, Steinhardt, Tisch, and Wagner.

NOTE: This fellowship was organized primarily to benefit students who have little access to such funding; therefore, applications from undergraduates will receive priority consideration.

All selected fellows must be in residence at NYU Washington Square during the Spring semester following the application deadline and must be matriculated at NYU during the summer of the fellowship project. Additionally, undergraduate fellows must be matriculated at NYU during the Fall semester following the summer project.

Prospective Applicants

Interested students are advised to do the following:

*Identify and contact an organization working in the human rights field that will agree to host you as a Fellow (you may intern and/or conduct a viable human rights-related project under their supervision). This organization should clearly indicate in its literature that it operates from within a human rights framework. Organizations based abroad receive priority consideration. Prior involvement with the organization is not required.

While a firm commitment from the organization is not required by the fellowship application deadline, you should verify that the organization has the capacity to host students and incorporate them into the substantive aspects of their human rights work in meaningful ways. A confirmation from the organization will be expected of all accepted fellows by January.

*Identify an NYU faculty member (full- or part-time) who can oversee the independent study project in the Spring semester. This faculty member must also submit a recommendation letter by the application deadline. The independent study need not relate to human rights; it should focus on helping you to better contextualize your summer work (e.g., a history of the conflict, background on sociopolitical aspects of the region, etc.). You should also identify at least five related texts you anticipate reading.

*Attend a Fall 2015 Information Session (Gallatin Building, 1 Washington Place):

  • Tuesday, September 15, 1:00-2:00 PM, Room 527
  • Thursday, September 24, 1:00-2:00 PM, Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre (first floor)
  • Friday, October 2, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Room 527

*Attend the Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights Symposium and meet the 2015 Fellows:

Thursday, September 24, 2015, 6:00-8:30 PM
Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts
Gallatin Building, 1 Washington Place, First Floor

*Attend Gallatin’s Human Rights Week and accompanying panel discussion for the photo exhibition, “Lost to History: Covering Conflict in the Age of the Eternal Present” (Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts, 1 Washington Place, First Floor):

September 21-25, 2015
Exhibition featuring the work of photographers Ron Haviv, Andrea Bruce, 2011 Human Rights Fellow Emily Pederson, and 2015 Human Rights Fellow Karanjit Singh

Monday, September 21, 2015
6:30-8:00 PM
: Panel discussion on conflict photography with photographers Ron Haviv and Andrea Bruce, along with Emma Daly, Communications Director of Human Rights Watch
8:00-9:00 PM: Reception

Application Requirements

Deadline: October 30, 2015, midnight

  • Online application
  • 2-3-page statement of proposal
  • 250-500-word independent study proposal
  • Projected budget
  • Current resume
  • Recommendation letter from the NYU faculty member who has agreed to oversee the Spring independent study
  • Contact information for an additional faculty reference

For more information, contact Gallatin's Office of Global Programs at gallatin.global@nyu.edu or 212.998.7133.

Vasuki Nesiah

Vasuki Nesiah, Academic Director

Vasuki Nesiah is a legal scholar with a focus on public international law. Currently her main areas of research include the law and politics of international human rights and humanitarianism. more>

Pat McCreery

Patrick McCreery, Administrative Director

Patrick McCreery's teaching and research interests lie in the areas of sexual politics, family life, and social space in the United States. more>

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New York University
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
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New York, NY 10003
(212) 998-7370