Admissions Information


Please visit this site in February/March 2022 to apply for the next HRAP which will run from late August to mid December 2022. 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, LGBTQI+ rights, labor rights, indigenous peoples' 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.


This application has been opened during the global pandemic. We are hoping to offer the next HRAP in the fall of 2021 (late summer 2021 to mid-December 2021). However, there is a possibility that we will not be able to offer the program in person during the fall of 2021. If we cannot offer the program in person during the fall of 2021, we may offer it online during the fall of 2021 or we may postpone it to the spring of 2022 (online or in person depending on the pandemic). Please do not write to ISHR with questions about the timing of the next HRAP. We hope to have an update by mid-2021. 


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 individual donors will make it possible for us to admit one qualified Advocate from Latin America who evokes the spirit and commitment of 1990 Advocate Felipe Michelini of Uruguay to the next HRAP. 
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 2021 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 2021 program. Additional donors will be identified to support outstanding applicants working on other human rights issues at the grassroots level around the globe.

The advocates learn about oral history at StoryCorps in Brooklyn.jpg

The advocates learn about oral history at StoryCorps in Brooklyn



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 A HRAP Application from the menu.

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 or 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


The 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. All supporting documentation 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 on 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 no later than June 30, 2021 of their status. Please be patient as the selection and funding processes are lengthy and the situation around the global pandemic is fluid. 

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 instructions and FAQ to determine if you are eligible. Answers to technical questions will be added as updates to the FAQ page. ISHR strongly recommends completing your application well in advance of the application deadline. We will not accept late applications, even in the event of technical problems on your end.