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Indigenous Fellowship Programme

What is it?

The Indigenous Fellowship Programme (IFP) is a comprehensive human rights training programme that was established by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the context of the first International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples (1995-2004). The programme contributes to build the capacity and expertise of indigenous representatives on the UN system and mechanisms dealing with human rights in general and indigenous issues in particular, so they are in a better position to protect and promote the rights of their communities at the international level. Since the launch of the training programme in 1997, more than 300 indigenous men and women from all over the world have been trained. They provided human rights training to many more in their communities.

How does it work?

The IFP is accessible in four different languages: English, French, Spanish and Russian. The selected candidates are entitled to a return flight ticket, living expenses and basic health insurance for the duration of the training. The IFP is held annually and fellows from the 4 language components of the programme are trained together with simultaneous interpretation during 4 to 5 weeks in Geneva. The date of the training programme usually coincides with the annual meeting of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (June/July), thus allowing the fellows to participate more actively in that Mechanism. For more information on the sessions available in the training programme, please visit the above links to the web pages of the language component you are interested in.

Who can apply?

  1. The candidate must be indigenous (non-indigenous persons will not be taken into consideration, even if they have close links with indigenous communities and/or organizations).
  2. Age should not be a limitation to participation in the programme.
  3. Formal education should not be a limitation to participation in the IFP given the socio-economic barriers confronted by many indigenous peoples that limit access to formal educational institutions.
  4. Candidates should agree to train other indigenous persons after the return to their respective communities/organizations.
  5. The candidate should be proposed and his/her candidacy supported by his/her indigenous organization and/or community. It is desirable that the sponsoring organization has a firm constituency or membership and that it is representative.
  6. The candidate should have a good working knowledge of the language, in which the programme is imparted.

How to apply?

We strongly encourage you to send your application form well before the deadline.

Fellowship applications will only be taken into consideration if they are fully completed. Both parts I and II of the application form must be signed and sent by regular post at the following address:

Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
CH-1211 Geneva 10

Scanned applications are also accepted, although we prefer receiving applications by post. Your scanned application can be sent at the following email: fellowship@ohchr.org

Application forms need to be accompanied by an official recommendation letter from the nominating indigenous organization or community.

How is the selection made?

The selection of fellows reflects a gender and regional balance, as well as a balance between communities represented. The general human rights situation in the respective regions/countries is also taken into consideration.

A pre-selection of 15 to 20 candidates per language group is made by previous indigenous fellows. The selection process also entails interviews of pre-selected candidates who applied to either the English, French, Spanish or Russian language components of the programme. In the case of the Spanish and Russian language components of the programme, the selection of candidates is also carried out in collaboration with the University of Deusto and the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia. The final selection of successful candidates is reviewed by an advisory group composed of indigenous persons. The process starts in summer and is usually finalized by the end of the year/beginning of next. In view of the large number of applications, only pre-selected candidates are contacted. Once the process is finalized, the list of candidates selected to participate in our training programme is posted on our webpage (usually in January).

Any other question?

Any question pertaining to the Indigenous Fellowship Programme can be e-mailed to: fellowship@ohchr.org

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Indigenous Fellowship Programme

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