2017 human rights fellows
Summer 2017 Human RIghts Fellows. From L to R: Leslie Wise, Phill Melton, Elizabeth Schmelzel, Julie Wilson. Not pictured: Dan Benowitz.

Summer Human Rights Fellowships

The Rapoport Center offers summer funding to Texas Law students working in international and transnational human rights—including within the United States—connected to the Center’s mission of serving as a focal point for critical, interdisciplinary analysis and practice of human rights and social justice.

Fellows contribute to human rights and social justice projects at non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations in the US and abroad. In the past, Texas Law students have worked in locations as diverse as Bosnia, Cambodia, Mexico, and India on projects including aiding political refugees, advocating women’s rights, prosecuting war criminals, and seeking nationality rights for minors. Each fellowship that the Center is able to provide is an investment in human rights advocacy and in preparing law students to develop the knowledge, skills, and critical thinking that are essential to their future participation in the field.

In addition to our standard summer fellowships, the Rapoport Center offers two named fellowships:

  • The Charles Moyer Human Rights Fellowship honors the life and work of Charles Moyer, whose professional career has been devoted to the international protection of human rights, and who was the first Secretary of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Learn more.
  • The Berta Cáceres Human Rights Fellowship honors the life and work of Berta Cáceres, an indigenous Honduran activist who fought for environmental justice and indigenous rights until her assassination in March 2016. This fellowship is open to law and non-law graduate students at UT. Learn more.

Fellowships are open to all first and second year students in a JD program at Texas Law. Host organizations must be non-profit organizations or governmental or intergovernmental organizations. Although the work of the organization need not be exclusively devoted to international human rights, students should indicate in their application how the work they will be doing will relate to or promote international or transnational rights.

The fellowship provides a $4,500 stipend for 400 hours of service (10-week internship). Any supplemental funding from the host organization or other sources must be indicated. If a student is awarded funding after the submission of the application, the student must inform the committee. Proposals for split summers will be considered, but proposals for the full summer are preferred. Fellowships will not be awarded for any work for which a student is receiving academic credit.


Summer 2016 Human Rights Fellows

The fellowships are made possible by the generous support of: Scott Hendler and Lulu Flores of Hendler Lyons Flores; the Orlando Letelier and Ronnie Karpen Moffitt Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Law; The Planethood Foundation; and the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.

Previous placements include: ACLU, American Gateways, Beijing University Women's Legal Aid Center (China), Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Center for Governance and Development (Kenya), Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, Children at Risk, Disability Rights Texas, Documentation Center of Cambodia (Cambodia), Equal Justice Center, Farmworker Justice, Ghana Center for Democratic Development (Ghana), Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, Human Rights Law Network (India), Human Rights USA, Human Rights Watch, Inter-American Foundation, Kurdish Human Rights Project (United Kingdom), Lawyers Without Borders, Legal Resources Centre (South Africa), Mental Health Advocacy Services, Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund, Myrna Mack Foundation (Guatemala), Orleans Public Defenders, Protimos (United Kingdom), Proyecto de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales (Mexico), Robert F. Kennedy Center For Justice and Human Rights, South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project, Texas Civil Rights Project, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, UN Special Rapporteur on Health (India), UN Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights (Panama), UNHCR Political Asylum Project, and the World Organization for Human Rights USA.

View our current/most recent summer fellows

"Working with one of the most progressive constitutions in the world
has allowed me to see the impact quality legal advocacy
can have on marginalized communities."

- Iman Ali, Legal Resources Centre, 2016

"Working next to the attorneys at the Bronx Defenders felt a lot like being a superhero sidekick.
Joining their fight to liberate
the poor and expose the ugly mechanisms
of the New York City
‘justice’ system was an honor."
- Brian Watson, Bronx Defenders, 2016

"Conducting legal research in a young democracy reveals the importance
of combining advocacy,
coalition building, and citizen education to encourage
lawmaking that protects human rights and provides access to justice for all."
- Mihret Getabicha, Ghana Center for Democratic Development, 2015

"I’ve been honored to work alongside highly skilled and passionate attorneys
who represent indigent clients against a system designed to put them away
via high court costs, harsh sentencing schemes, and a for-profit prison industry.
Learning to execute quality legal work in such a high-stakes, high-pressure
environment is an invaluable skill I will take with me throughout my career."
- Rhiannon Hamam, Orleans Public Defenders, 2014