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Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights John Lewis Young Leaders Fellow Program, USA 2024

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Application is now open for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights John Lewis Young Leaders Fellow Program. Interested candidates are encouraged to send their applications in before the deadline date.

About Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Guided by the visionary leadership of human rights lawyer and activist Kerry Kennedy, the esteemed team at the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization is a harmonious blend of legal experts, issue authorities, impassioned advocates, visionary entrepreneurs, and eloquent writers. This collective is united by a shared dedication to realizing the enduring dream of Robert Kennedy—a world marked by justice, peace, and equality.

At the forefront of their transformative initiatives is the John Lewis Young Leaders Fellow (JLYL) program, a distinctive undergraduate fellowship that serves as a crucible for shaping the next generation of social justice and civic leaders. Incepted in 2017, the Young Leaders program has steadfastly concentrated on empowering and nurturing the potential of young individuals, fostering them as the vanguards of human rights. A recent restructuring in 2022 not only revitalized the program but also paid homage to the profound and inspiring friendship shared between John Lewis and Robert Kennedy. Both icons, driven by a shared vision of a more just and equitable future, labored ardently to bring about a reality where the aspirations of all young people find fulfillment.

The JLYL program unfolds as a year-long fellowship, strategically designed to equip college students with the essential skills and insights pivotal for a future in community organizing and civic engagement. Over the course of the program, fellows actively immerse themselves in human rights work within their campus and local communities, culminating in a robust capstone project that reflects their commitment to social change.

The fellowship provides a comprehensive support structure, including access to grassroots organizing workshops, personalized mentorship from the experienced staff at RFK Human Rights, financial backing, and a gateway to an expansive network comprising human rights professionals, peers, and program alumni. By furnishing these resources, the program endeavors to amplify the capacity and confidence of fellows, empowering them to embark on careers as formidable human rights defenders, and perpetuating positive change in their communities.

The ideal candidate for the John Lewis Young Leaders Fellow program is a beacon of motivation, harboring a profound interest in forging a career in organizing work. These individuals are self-initiators, unafraid to challenge the status quo and envision themselves as human rights defenders with a profound impact orientation. Crucially, the program seeks students from marginalized backgrounds, often victims of systemic issues that impede their access to the opportunities and resources requisite for becoming effective human rights advocates. In nurturing and empowering these aspiring leaders, the JLYL program stands as a beacon of hope and a catalyst for transformative change.

Details about Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights John Lewis Young Leaders Fellow Program:

Scholarship Sponsor: Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Scholarship Value: $2,000

Number of awards: N/A

Study level: Undergraduate


  • $2,000 professional stipend (disbursed during the fall and spring semesters in two $1,000 installments)
  • Organization to concentrate on bringing social problems that excite and encourage YOU
  • $1,000 in financing for occasions and endeavors associated with finishing your capstone project
  • Content-rich resources from knowledgeable activists and community organizers
  • Paid-for retreat, summer 2024; venue to be determined

Eligibility Criteria for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights John Lewis Young Leaders Fellow Program

Applicants are advised to meet the following requirements to be qualified for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights John Lewis Young Leaders Fellow Program:

  • An undergraduate student
  • Enrolled in an approved two- or four-year program
  • Enrolled in an American institution of higher learning
  • Graduating in May 2025 or later

Selection Criteria

  • Students enrolled in HSI, HMSI, or HBCU
  • Students from the Midwest and South regions of the United States
  • Students from underrepresented groups

Application Process for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights John Lewis Young Leaders Fellow Program

Are you interested and qualified for the program? Fill out the online application form. You can also visit the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights website for further details.

The Application Timeline:

Application Closes: March 10, 2024, 11:59 pm EST

Fellows notified: April 15, 2024

Weekend Fellowship retreat: June 7 – June 9, 2024 (location TBD)

Fellowship Start Date: August 15, 2024

Capstone Proposal Due: September 15, 2024

Monthly Meetings: 2nd Monday of each month

Fellowship Ends: May 30, 2025

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