The International Summer Human Rights Fellows Program (ISHRF)
The International Summer Human Rights Fellowship Program supports J.D. students to work in non-governmental organizations, organs of the United Nations, regional inter-governmental bodies, and government offices involved directly in the provision of human rights services.
Human Rights Experience in Law School
Many students come to law school eager to explore international and comparative human rights and rule of law issues. To complement the Law School’s course offerings and clinical opportunities in human rights, Penn Law provides students with opportunities to gain first-hand experience in promoting and protecting human rights abroad. The ISHRF program puts students in direct content with the people and organizations that are at the forefront of cutting edge advocacy and litigation on behalf of victims of human rights abuses.
Through the International Summer Human Rights Fellows program, Penn Law students have worked around the world on issues ranging from women’s rights to rule of law development to criminal law reform and international prosecution of human rights violations. Recent fellowship sites include Argentina, Cambodia, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Namibia, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Tanzania, The Hague, Uganda, and Venezuela.
How It Works
This Fellowship is open to any 1L or 2L currently enrolled at Penn Law, who has not already been an ISHRF fellow.
Students apply in January using a two part application. During the first stage, applicants complete a brief initial application that requires a general statement of interest and intent.
A committee reviews the applications, and may elect to interview students during this process. Successful candidates are selected provisionally into the program as they work to find an appropriate placement. During the second stage, finalists must have their proposals for specific placements fully approved in order to gain official admittance into the program.
Once selected, Fellows attend training sessions that prepare them to work on human rights issues and for the challenges of living and working abroad.
A selection of former placement organizations:
Advocacy Forum (Nepal)
American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (China, Morocco, Tajikistan)
Black Sheep (Uruguay)
Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims (China)
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (Mexico City)
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (India)
Dui Hua Foundation (Hong Kong)
Ecuadorian Center for Environmental Law
Human Rights Commission (Colombia)
International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (The Hague)
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Tanzania)
International Development Law Organization (Rome)
International Refugee Rights Initiative (Uganda)
Lawyers for Human Rights (South Africa)
Lawyers Collective (India)
Legal Aid of Cambodia
Legal Assistance Center (Namibia)
Mekong Region Law Center (Thailand)
South Center (Switzerland)
Ugandan Coalition for the International Criminal Court
World Trade Organization (Switzerland)