Humanity in Action

Please consult the program website to confirm details, including applicable deadlines.

Visit Program Website Here

Program Purpose: 

Humanity in Action is an international educational organization that engages, inspires, and develops a network of students, young professionals, and established leaders committed to protecting minorities and promoting human rights – in their own communities and around the world. HIA believes that an important test of a genuine democracy is how it treats its minority groups. It also believes that the commitment to democratic values and the protection of minorities cannot be taken for granted today in the United States and Europe. HIA's Fellowship seeks to instill moral responsibility for the protection of minorities in a new generation of social, cultural, and political leaders by engaging student leaders in histories of resistance to institutionalized violations of minority rights in democratic countries, and promoting the growth and development of young professionals dedicated to protecting human dignity and the rights of minorities. HIA currently works with university students and young professionals in Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Ukraine.

Program Description: 

The Humanity in Action Summer Fellowship programs take place in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Berlin, Copenhagen, Detroit, Sarajevo and Warsaw. An international group of fellows study the history of resistance to human rights abuses in the U.S. and Europe, and then work in international teams to complete research projects that address pressing host country minority rights issues.

The HIA Fellowship facilitates provides a forum where potential solutions to some of today's most challenging issues can be considered and discussed. Intensive and demanding, the Fellowship brings together international groups of university students and recent graduates to explore national histories of discrimination and resistance, as well as issues affecting minority groups today. Each program facilitates dialogue about the challenges democratic societies encounter as they experience new forms and degrees of diversity. The program instills a sense of responsibility among Humanity in Action Fellows to recognize and address the need to protect minorities and promote human rights—in their own communities and around the world.

The programs, when appropriate to national histories, address the destructive common roots of prejudice, discrimination and dehumanization. These practices were directed towards Jews and other minorities in Europe during the Nazi era and Holocaust. Those under colonial rule in Africa, Asia, South, Central and North America and the Caribbean Islands were subject to racist policies and attitudes. Countries which experienced other totalitarian regimes after World War II also address the impact that socialism and its implosion had on their societies. Each summer program is divided into two phases. In the first phase, leaders of human rights organizations, politicians, diplomats, philanthropists, journalists, scholars, artists and authors meet with Fellows during intensive seminars, site visits, and group activities. The second phase focuses on research and writing. The European programs culminate in research projects completed in international teams that address pressing host country minority rights issues. 

Program Benefits: 

Each program is highly interdisciplinary and features daily lectures and discussions with renowned academics, journalists, politicians and activists, as well as site visits to government agencies, non-profit and community organizations, museums and memorials. The programs covers all costs associated with participation, except round-trip travel to and from the program site, whether in Europe or the U.S. However, international travel stipends are available to those Fellows who demonstrate financial need.

Application Process: 

Application essays include a response to assigned reading materials and/or videos, and a response to the themes reflected in the HIA Fellowship programs.

Applicant Profile: 

Fellows are selected based on academic achievement, leadership potential, interest in minority issues, and demonstrated commitment to human rights. Applicants are invited from all academic disciplines and personal backgrounds who are mature, self-reliant, and comfortable with intensive group activity and interaction.


Sophomores, juniors, seniors, and recent graduates (applying within 3 semesters of graduation).


The only cost incurred by Fellows is the international round trip from the U.S. to the European Program cities. However, international travel stipends are available to those Fellows who demonstrate financial need. Upon return from their core summer programs, Fellows are expected to implement projects to engage human rights or minority issues in their home institutions or communities. Program participants who successfully complete a follow-on project are eligible for international internships. Internship opportunities for these "Senior Fellows" include the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, US House of Representatives, and European Parliament.

Selection Criteria: 

Intellectual Curiosity: HIA seeks candidates who are eager to discuss a range of historical and contemporary topics that drive, challenge, and impact diverse societies. This means that Fellows should be eager to stretch their understanding of these issues beyond their own national contexts and specific fields of study.

Collaborative Spirit: HIA seeks candidates who thrive in collaborative settings and enjoy discussing challenging issues in culturally and internationally diverse groups. HIA's pedagogy is based upon collective and intellectually demanding discussion with speakers, peers and host families. Fellows must possess the social maturity and skills to discuss sensitive topics. Open-Mindedness: HIA seeks candidates who are open to challenging their personal convictions. The HIA Fellowship is not a program that serves to confirm the assumptions or believes already held by its Fellows. Instead it intends to broaden and stretch the Fellows' understanding of complex human rights issues. Entrepreneurial Drive: HIA seeks candidates who are entrepreneurial and innovative in developing Action Projects and careers as active and responsible citizens.


Students and recent graduates from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Ukraine and the U.S. Students and grads of other nationalities may apply if enrolled in or recently graduated from a university in these countries.

Program Deadline: 

Usually in January.

More information: 

International travel stipends are available to those Fellows who demonstrate financial need.

Meet Our Humanity in Action Fellow

How To Apply: 

Students or alumni, as applicable, may apply directly to this program. Applicants are encouraged, however, to work with SF State's fellowship advisor well in advance of the program deadline to perfect their application essays and other materials.

Resources for Applicants

Why Should You Apply for a Fulbright?

Quick Links

Fellowships Office

Dr. Joy Viveros

Phone: 415.405.2128
Reception: Grad Stop, ADM 250 
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132