Between 1989 and 2017, a total of 324 human rights advocates from 90 countries attended HRAP. In recent years, advocates have ranged from early career advocates who have cut their teeth in very urgent human rights situations to mid-career advocates who have founded organizations.
Below are the biographies of current Advocates and descriptions by select alumni as to why they became human rights advocates.
To see a list of additional past Advocates click here.
To read about more about the work of our Advocates click here .
National Director, Center for Applied Studies of Economical and Social and Cultural Rights (CEADESC)
When asked about his experience at the Human Rights Advocates Program, 2006 Advocate Jorge Cortes Fajardo of Bolivia points out how it provided him with the opportunity to “get to know other advocates from around the world and the important work they do for the defense of human rights victims and for policy change.” One of the many benefits of the HRAP is the unique environment in which advocates are able to share theirs valuable grassroots experiences, exchange ideas, and share best practices and resources for advocacy.
Jorge is currently the National Director and legal representative of the Center for Applied Studies of Economical Social and Cultural Rights (CEADESC). The organization’s work is focused on the strengthening of indigenous people and social movements to monitor and advocate for human rights and environmental justice. According to Jorge, “HRAP was an excellent opportunity to reach out to US-based NGOs and to support our networking for human rights advocacy.” He underscores the value of the meetings with the NGO communities of New York and Washington DC. Jorge said that the meetings led to joint actions between CEADESC and several organizations such as the Indian Law Resource Center and the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Since he left HRAP, Jorge has gone on to notable achievements both at the national and international levels. In 2009, CEADESC contributed to the recognition of indigenous peoples human rights in the new Bolivian Constitution. CEADESC then published two human rights assessment studies related to transnational extractive industries companies in Bolivia. Their case studies were recently presented in the UN Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples Issues in New York. Due to CEADESC’s contribution to the defense of human rights, the organization has recently been honored as an outstanding partner by the American Jewish World Service at its 25th anniversary celebration in New York in October 2010.
—Article composed by Marta Garnelo Caamano, ISHR Intern, June 2011
United States, 2002
Managing Director, Health Global Access Project (Health GAP)
When Jennifer Flynn Walker graduated from the Human Rights Advocates Program in 2002, she was serving as Co-Founder and Executive Director of the New York City AIDS Housing Network. She states, “Through HRAP, I learned ways to advance the right to housing. One thing that struck me was that the stronger the body of local laws affirming that right, the easier it would be to have the right recognized on the national and international level.” Jennifer continued working with NYC AIDS Housing Network after HRAP, and as she notes was the first to successfully advocate for the passage of right to housing legislation. This legislation creates a short time frame for people living with AIDS to move into permanent housing and it is the first of its kind in any major City for any population in the United States.
While HRAP is designed primarily for human rights advocates from low-income countries, advocates from high-income countries who represent marginalized communities such as Jennifer from the United States are welcome to participate as well as share and learn with other advocates. HRAP graduates usually cite the diversity of the participants as one of the best features of the program. According to Jennifer, “the greatest benefit, by far, was meeting the amazing activists from around the world.” She concludes, “Those connections are priceless.”
After HRAP, Jennifer went on to many new accomplishments. She has written numerous articles on AIDS and social justice issues, including The Drug Users Manual published by Open Society Institute in 2005 and, with Eustacia Smith, a chapter of That’s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation published by Soft Skull Press in 2004. She was a Taproots Fellow at the Center for Community Change headquartered in Washington, D.C. and served as a consultant to the Open Society Institute where she provided training in community organizing and advocacy skills to drug-user unions in the former Soviet Union.
Because of her work, training, and expertise, Jennifer was highlighted as one of the leading LGBT/AIDS Activists by HIV Plus Magazine in 2009. In 2005, she was honored as the recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Award, a $125,000 prize. In addition, she received the NYC Council Hero Award in 2002 during her participation in HRAP.
Today, Jennifer lives in Brooklyn with her spouse, Roger Williams University School of Law Professor Bela August Walker. They have a son, Flynn and she is expecting their second child in December. She left her position as Executive Director of NYC AIDS Housing Network in 2007 and currently serves as Managing Director of Health Global Access Project (Health GAP), an international AIDS advocacy organization. In this role, Jennifer is responsible for all Health GAP administration, fundraising, and campaign coordination.
- Article composed by Andrew Richardson, Program Assistant, June 2010
Executive Director, Greenpeace Brazil
1997 Advocate Fernando Rossetti Ferreira currently works as the Secretary General of the Group of Institutes, Foundations, and Enterprises (GIFE) and Chair of the Board of Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Suppport (WINGS). GIFE is the first South American association of grant makers, uniting privately held organizations that operate social, cultural, and environmental projects in the public interest. WINGS is an organization aiming to strengthen philanthropy and build just societies through mutual learning and support, knowledge sharing, and professional development.
When he was participating in HRAP in 1997, he was a journalist interested in human rights issues. He highlights that the knowledge that he gained by attending HRAP workshops was “very important” for his “professional development.” He states, “After the program, I entered the non-profit sector and have been advocating for strengthening civil society worldwide. The global perspective that the program gave me has been a cornerstone for my strong commitment to human rights. I have devoted myself to human rights in all my activities since then.”
After his participation in HRAP, he became one of the leading Brazilian journalists in social issues. He led the creation of NGOs promoting human rights among youth in Sao Paulo. He states, “I was a consultant at UNICEF working on children and adolescent rights and public policies from 2002 to 2005.” Also, he has been working to address human rights issues in the Brazilian and global philanthropic sectors since 2005.
As one of his accomplishments, he was awarded an honorary medal by the Ayrton Senna Institute for his work as Education Reporter in 1999. He concludes, “The greatest benefit that HRAP offered me was an opportunity to explore human rights issues in a profound way through all activities that I was involved in.”
—Article composed by Junghwa Lee, Program Coordinator, August 2011
January 2014 update: Fernando is currently the Executive Director of Greenpeace Brazil.