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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 will propose their own summer projects and/or internships in the human rights field. These should be affiliated with human rights organizations that operate from within a human rights framework and 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.

A Year-Long Program

Fall Semester of Acceptance

Accepted fellows must register for two Spring courses: a 0-credit biweekly seminar focusing on human rights, led by Academic Director Vasuki Nesiah, and a 2-credit independent study with a faculty mentor—either their adviser or another NYU faculty member—in which they will explore some aspect of their intended summer project.

Gallatin students must complete a Gallatin independent study application by December 1. Other NYU students may register through their home schools by December 1 or may use the Gallatin independent study application if necessary.

Spring Semester

Fellows must have at least five meetings of the independent study with their selected faculty mentor. Fellows are also required to attend and participate actively in the 0-credit biweekly seminar.

Summer Term

Fellows must commit 9-12 weeks of full-time work on a summer project with an organization working in the human rights field. This means living on-site for between 9 to 12 weeks. Fellows must write and publish at least four blog posts about their experiences.

Fall Semester

Fellows must 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.

NOTE: All fellows must plan to be in residence in NYU Washington Square during the spring semester following the application deadline, and undergraduate fellows must plan to graduate no earlier than the following January.

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.

Application Requirements

Deadline: November 3, 2014
[APPLICATION HAS CLOSED; we are no longer accepting applications]

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

Prospective Applicants

Interested students should:

*Identify an organization working in the human rights field that will agree to host you as a Fellow (you may intern or conduct a viable human rights-related project under their supervision).

*Identify an NYU faculty member who can oversee the related independent study project in the Spring semester if you are accepted to the program. This faculty member must also submit a recommendation letter by the application deadline.

*Commit to participate in all elements of the program as outlined above, including the seminar, independent study, blog posts, and final report and presentation.

*Attend an Information Session (Gallatin Building, 1 Washington Place):

Tuesday, September 30, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Rm. 801
Friday, October 3, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM, Rm. 401
Friday, October 10, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM, Rm. 401

*Attend the Gallatin Global Fellowship in Human Rights Symposium and meet the 2014 Fellows:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
NYU School of Law, D'Agostino Hall
108 West 3rd St., room location: Lipton Hall

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>

Did You Know?

Gallatin Global Fellows post regular blogs about their experiences abroad:

Global blog
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New York University
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
1 Washington Place
New York, NY 10003
(212) 998-7370