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What is the Fellowship programme?

The Fellowship programme for people of African descent is an intensive human rights training for people of African descent, from the diaspora, who are engaged in promoting the rights of people of African descent.

It takes place once a year at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

The Fellowship programme provides the participants with the opportunity to:

  • Learn about and deepen their understanding of the international human rights law and the UN human rights system, the international framework to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and intersecting issues with a focus on people of African descent;
  • Strengthen skills in developing project proposals, delivering presentations and submitting information to human rights mechanisms;
  • Gain first-hand exposure to human rights mechanisms;
  • Meet with a wide-range of actors.

The Fellowship Programme was initiated by the Anti-Racial Discrimination Section in 2011 and was further supported by General Assembly resolution on the Programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent (A/RES/69/16). The High Commissioner is the coordinator of the Decade.

Purpose of the programme

The aim is to strengthen participants' skills to contribute to the promotion and protection of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of people of African descent in their respective countries. The participants are equipped with the tools necessary to enhance the development of legislation, policies and programmes; to strengthen collaboration of civil society with governments; and to undertake local awareness-raising activities.

Stories from former fellows

Read testimonies of former fellows in Voices of the Decade

Voices of the Decade features 11 stories of fellows of African descent, providing a snapshot of the important and inspiring work achieved to promote the human rights of people of African descent throughout the world. Voices of the Decade is a call, and a source of inspiration, for everyone to work together towards recognition, justice and development for people of African descent.

Former participants talk about the Fellowship programme for people of African descent

Who may apply

The candidate must be an individual of African descent living in the Diaspora.

  • The candidate must have a minimum of 4 years of work experience related to the rights of People of African Descent.
  • The candidate has to submit a letter from an organization working on issues related to people of African Descent or minority rights certifying their status.
  • The candidates must be available to attend the full duration of the programme. The selected fellows will be expected to participate in different activities and to strictly follow the programme.

Since 2011, 150 fellows from 46 countries have participated in the Fellowship programme including from Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Iraq, Jamaica, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Dates of the Fellowship

The Fellowship will be held from 11 November to 29 November 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland.

In addition, fellows are expected to dedicate a few hours to pre-online courses and preparatory assignments in the preceding two weeks.  

How to apply

Applications can be submitted in English, French and Spanish.

Applicants are requested to submit the following documents in one single e-mail to [email protected]:

  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • A completed, signed and scanned Application Form in one single document.
  • A Personal Statement (maximum 500 words) in which the candidate will explain his/her motivation for applying, and how he/she will use the knowledge gained from the fellowship to promote the interests and rights of people of African descent.
  • An Official Letter from the nominating organization or community certifying the status
  • A copy of the applicant's passport.
  • Please note that submissions with more than five attachments will not be accepted.

Important: Please mention in the subject header of your e-mail: "Application for the 2024 Fellowship Programme for People of African Descent."
Name the attached document as follows:

LAST NAME First name – Type of document
Example: SMITH Jacqueline – Application form.doc
SMITH Jacqueline – A Personal Statement.doc
SMITH Jacqueline – Letter certifying Status.pdf
SMITH Jacqueline – Passport.pdf

Deadline for Applications: 31 May 2024.

Selection Process

The selection of the fellows will reflect gender and regional balance. The human rights situation of people of African descent in the respective countries will also be taken into consideration.

Please note that, because of the volume of messages, applications will not be acknowledged. Only short-listed candidates will be notified.

Participant’s entitlement

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

Information for former fellows

  • OHCHR-Former PAD Fellows partnership

Alumni of the Fellowship programme for people of African descent are invited to apply to the OHCHR – Former PAD Fellows partnership, through which the OHCHR provides support to events and initiatives that aim at promoting and protecting human rights of people of African descent and combating racism and racial discrimination. Additional information on how to apply is available here: OHCHR – Former PAD Fellows partnership: Call for application.