Admissions Information

The current HRAP is running in the virtual realm. We are postponing the next round of HRAP applications at this time in light of the pandemic. Please check back in late 2020/early 2021 for an update. Thank you.


The 2014 HRAP cohort.
The 2014 HRAP cohort represented a total of nine countries. Photo by Alan Orling.

Selection of Participants

The Program is designed for human rights activists working with NGOs on issues including sexual and gender-based violence, minority rights, LGBT rights, labor rights, migration, health, social exclusion, environmental justice, disability rights, and corporate social accountability.

Participants are selected on the basis of their previous work experience in human rights, commitment to the human rights field, and demonstrated ability to pursue graduate-level studies. Full-time students or government officials will not be considered. Applicants holding full or part-time jobs pursuing their advocacy efforts are preferred.


2013 Advocate Sylvester Uhaa.
2013 Advocate Sylvester Uhaa works for prisoners rights in Nigeria. Photo by Alan Orling.

Advocates must work at the grassroots level. Applicants from high-income countries will not be considered except for those representing marginalized communities. See the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for more information about this requirement. Fluency in English is required. Preference is given to those who have not previously had opportunities to travel and study internationally.

Advocates must provide proof of institutional endorsement in English from their organizations for their participation in the Program and must commit to returning to that organization upon completion of the Program. Only one application per organization should be submitted. More than one application means all applications from that organization will be disqualified. It is up to the applicant to make sure no one else from the organization has applied.


We welcome applications from qualified human rights advocates from all regions of the world. 

After ISHR conducts its stringent selection process, it makes every effort to secure funding for shortlisted Advocates to attend the program. In certain cases where ISHR cannot secure funding, shortlisted Advocates may be asked to secure the funds needed for them to be admitted to the program. 
The generosity of the Arcus Foundation will make it possible for us to admit one qualified LGBT Advocate from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean or Eastern and Southern Africa to the 2020 program.

The generosity of other funders will also enable us to admit qualified Advocates working on LGBT and/or disability and/or SRHR rights in Latin America and/or Africa in the 2020 program. Additional donors will be identified to support outstanding applicants working on other human rights issues at the grassroots level around the globe.


2015 Advocates Swe Zin Oo (Burma)  and Elina K. Horo (India) attend a workshop on video advocacy.
2015 Advocates Swe Zin Oo (Burma) and Elina K. Horo (India) attend a workshop on video advocacy. Photo by Raymond Liang.



Applicants are asked to complete the application in its entirety. Please complete all sections in English. Please follow all instructions, including those sent to your email address.

In order to access the application, applicants must register an account on the ISHR website and log in. Once logged in, applicants can begin a new application by choosing Start/Resume An HRAP Application from the menu.

Upon submission of a completed application, a confirmation will be sent to the applicant. Applicants may also login to the online application to view their submitted applications. 

After beginning an application, the applicant can either choose to save the form as a draft, or submit a completed application. If you choose to save the form as a draft, you can return to this page to complete it.  Upon submission of a completed application, a confirmation will be sent to the applicant. Applicants may login to the online application to view or edit their submitted applications until the deadline. 

To edit complete submitted applications, log in to the ISHR website and choose Manage HRAP Submission.

Columbia University aims to make all websites fully accessible to users with disabilities. If you experience difficulty using this page, please contact

If you would rather submit the application by international courier at your own expense, please send a completed copy of this PDF application and all supporting documentation including the reference letters via international courier such as FedEx to Columbia University, 1108 IAB, MC 3365, New York, NY 10027 USA. It is your responsibility to ensure that the application is received by Columbia no later than December 16, 2019. 


The 2020 HRAP application is now closed.

Supporting Documentation

Two signed letters of recommendation are required. Unsigned letters will not be accepted and your entire application will be removed from consideration. Electronic signatures are accepted. The recommenders must provide their contact information (phone number and email address). You cannot submit the proof of institutional endorsement as one of the letters. The letters must be in English. They must be from those who can attest to your work as a human rights advocate. Your letters of recommendation weigh heavily in our consideration. Please reach out to potential recommenders in a timely fashion. Most recommenders require at least one month's notice.

Status Notification

Applicants will be notified in June of their status. Please be patient as the selection and funding processes are lengthy.

Technical Questions & Assistance

Due to the number of applications we receive, we are not able to answer application questions personally. A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page is available with answers to commonly asked questions. Please email further questions to Please note we will only answer questions that are not addressed in the application instructions or FAQ. We will not tell you whether you are eligible or not at this stage. You need to read the FAQ to determine if youAnswers to technical questions will be added as updates to the FAQ page. ISHR strongly recommends completing your application well in advance of this the application deadline. We will not accept late applications, even in the event of technical problems.