The Leitner Center Summer Fellows is a program that provides stipends for students to participate in human rights internships over the summer.
Over the summer, the Summer Fellows program provides students with $5,000 grants to work with international human rights organizations full-time for ten weeks. Between 15 and 25 students are selected as Leitner Summer Fellows each year.
Undertaking an internship with a nongovernmental organization, U.N. agency, or other human rights organization provides students with an opportunity to apply the international legal framework in a practical setting. Students identify and secure an internship with a partner organization and then apply for Leitner Center Summer Fellow stipends.
Since its inception in 2004, the Program has sent students to countries all over the world including Australia, Brazil, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Iran, Israel, Jamaica, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Korea, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Students also undertake internships with human rights organizations and U.N. agencies in New York City.
Information about the Summer Fellows internship program can be found on this page.
Students may visit the Leitner Center to review the student internship binders that include student feedback and reviews of experience from past Summer Fellows.
Leitner Interns Describe their experiences…
Troy McNamara, Leitner Intern 2012, Nepal
‘I interned at Advocacy Forum—Nepal in their Kathmandu office. Primarily I focused on reporting the sexual violence situation in Nepal, paying particular attention to conflict-era instances of sexual violence. During my time at Advocacy Forum I was fortunate to attend a workshop that brought together human rights defenders and experts to strategize on new avenues to pursue in order to achieve truth and justice for victims of sexual violence. The workshop provided a forum for the attorneys to discuss specific challenges they face representing victims and survivors and aided in my understanding of the situation in Nepal. The experience provided me with the tools and knowledge to move forward in reporting and advocating on behalf of victims and survivors of sexual violence.’
Eva Nudd, Leitner Intern 2012, The Netherlands
‘I spent the summer in The Hague at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. I worked in the Office of the Prosecutor and assisted in the prosecution of Radovan Karadzic. Mr. Karadzic was the former President of the Republika Srpska and is accused of genocide in Srebrenica, in addition to other crimes committed during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I worked on one of the most challenging cases at the Tribunal and I was pleased to work on research used by the prosecution in proving its case. The experience of working with highly dedicated professionals whose goals were to seek justice for victims of horrible crimes, including ICTY Prosecutor Serge Brammertz, helped me have a very productive and educational summer and also reaffirmed my strong commitment to the study of human rights legal issues.
Katherine Hughes, Leitner Intern 2006, Zimbabwe
‘Last summer I worked in Zimbabwe with the Legal Resources Foundation, which offers legal services to those who cannot afford to hire private attorneys. To say that it was life-changing would be an understatement. Not only were my eyes fully opened to the reality of the nation’s poverty, HIV/AIDS crisis, and political misfortune, but I was also enlightened with regard to the incredible strength of the human spirit when faced with such odds. Upon my return, I published an article arguing for a stronger United Nations response to President Mugabe’s recent mass slum-clearance program, which left an estimated 700,000 Zimbabweans destitute. I would not hesitate to recommend that students experience a ‘Leitner’ summer, for both the education it provides and the adventure.’