Minorities Fellowship Programme

The Minorities Fellowship Programme (MFP) was launched by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in 2005.

Through the MFP, the OHCHR aims to give persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities an opportunity to gain knowledge of the UN system and mechanisms addressing human rights issues at the global level, with a particular focus on minority rights. The MFP is intended to assist organizations and communities in protecting and promoting the rights of minorities to which the Fellows belong.

The MFP is held annually around the dates of the Forum on Minority Issues which takes place in November.

The English language programme has been running since 2005 and in 2014, the Russian language component of the programme was launched. The Arabic language programme started in 2007 and after being discontinued in 2015 due to budget constraints, it is to be reintroduced in 2018.

During the programme, the Fellows are based at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, Switzerland. The MFP is interactive and consists of briefings on several topics (e.g. the UN system, OHCHR work, human rights mechanisms and instruments), Fellows also undertake individual and group assignments.

The objectives of the Minority Fellowship Programme:

  • The Fellows acquire general knowledge of the United Nations system, international human rights instruments and mechanisms in general and those relevant to minorities in particular;
  • The Fellows strengthen their capacity of training their communities/organizations upon completion of the programme;
  • To provide a networking platform for human rights activists, facilitating their coordination and exchanges regarding the protection and promotion of minority rights;
  • To foster a strategic dialogue amongst fellow activists from across the globe, the United Nations, relevant Geneva-based NGOs, and other partners.

A call for applications for the Minorities Fellowship Programme 2018 will be issued on 1 July 2018, with a deadline of 25 July.

During the Fellowship Programme which takes place in November 2018, the fellows will have the opportunity of attending the 11th Session of the Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva.

Fellows are entitled to the following: a return ticket (economy class) from the country of residence to Geneva; basic health insurance for the duration of the Programme; a stipend to cover modest accommodation and other living expenses for the duration of the Programme.

Who can apply?

1. The candidate must belong to a national, ethnic, linguistic or religious minority group (persons who do not belong to a minority group will not be taken into consideration, even if they have close links with minority communities and/or organizations).

Please note: If your community identifies as indigenous, please do not apply to this programme but to our Indigenous Fellowship Programme. Please note that the Indigenous Fellowship is a separate programme and has different application forms and deadlines.

2. Formal education should not be a limitation to participation in the Minorities Fellowship Programme, if relevant experience can be demonstrated.

3. Candidates should have ability, willingness and possibility to train other persons belonging to minorities upon return to their respective communities/organizations and should agree to do so.

4. The candidates must have a good working knowledge of the language in which the programme is imparted (English).

5. The candidate should be proposed and his/her candidacy supported by his/her organization and/or community. It is desirable that the sponsoring organization has a firm constituency or membership, is representative, undertakes work on minority issues and is composed of persons belonging to minorities.

6. The overall goal of the Minorities Fellowship Programme is to offer persons belonging to minorities the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in the field of international human rights in order to assist their organizations and communities in protecting and promoting human and minority rights. Therefore, it is important that the candidate proposed and nominated by a minority organization or community be someone who will return to his or her NGO to work in this field.

Selection process

The selection of fellows reflects a gender and regional balance. The general human rights situation in the respective regions/countries is also taken into consideration as is the situation of the minority community to which the applicant belongs to.

The selection of successful candidates is undertaken by an advisory group composed of OHCHR staff.
In view of the large number of applications, we regret to inform that only successful candidates will be contacted.