The Freedom Fellowship awards up to ten human rights advocates, social entrepreneurs, and nonprofit leaders the unique opportunity to dramatically increase the impact of their work.
While there are numerous professional fellowship opportunities around the world, few are available for individuals working in countries ruled by authoritarian regimes. Through the Freedom Fellowship, HRF offers mentorship opportunities to extraordinary individuals who are promoting human rights and operating under very difficult circumstances.
HRF has partnered with the Center for Applied Nonviolent Tactics and Strategies (CANVAS), founded by Serbian civic leader and non-violence strategist Srdja Popović, to build a revolutionary year-long program. The Freedom Fellowship provides hands-on, expert mentorship across seven critical areas: leadership, movement-building, organizing, fundraising, media, mental health, and digital security.
The Fellowship also aims to cultivate a growing community of human rights activists, who will serve as peers and mentors to one another, helping to amplify their colleagues’ work around the world.
“What I love about the Freedom Fellows experience is that it brought together a community of activist peers, from whom I learned and with whom I connected. The support, understanding, and connections are invaluable.”Asma KhalifaLibyan human rights activist & 2020 HRF Freedom Fellow
“I joined the Freedom Fellowship at a time I was full of doubt and anger after terrible elections in my country. I came to the conclusion that I needed to try another strategy, to try some unexplored paths beyond what my movement was doing. Skills I learned from this fellowship helped me to launch a civic initiative using education, art, and socio-economics to organize and mobilize rural communities. This fellowship also helped me to reflect on my leadership, organize fundraising, and build networks.”Fred BaumaCongolese human rights activist & 2019 HRF Freedom Fellow
How It Works
The year-long fellowship kicks off at HRF’s annual Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway, where Fellows meet for the first time and witness the impactful work of this event.
Later in the year, Fellows embark on a one-week retreat, which focuses on nonviolent movement-building and strategic planning, led by CANVAS’ founder, Srdja Popović.
Fellows also convene in other locations around the world for in-person mentorship on digital security, fundraising, mental health, and marketing.
Between their in-person sessions, Fellows continue online work in close collaboration with their new peers and mentors. Over time, they gain the skills and connections necessary to considerably expand the reach of their causes.
These efforts culminate in a final presentation at the following Oslo Freedom Forum, after which Fellows serve as mentors to the new incoming class of Freedom Fellows.