James E. Tolan Human Rights Fellowship

James E. Tolan Human Rights Fellowship

The Leitner Center is accepting applications for the Tolan Fellowship for 2015-2016. Prospective applicants should email Executive Director Elisabeth Wickeri for further details.

The Tolan Fellowship supports one or more graduating or recently graduated Fordham Law School students annually who design a program in coordination with a host organization. The Fellowship is awarded to students and graduates with a demonstrated commitment to pursuing a career in international human rights law. The Fellowship enables graduates to gain practical work experience, and provides a modest salary for one year.

The Fellowship is named in honor of James E. Tolan ’62, a long-time supporter of the human rights program at Fordham Law School.


Graduating students or recent graduates of Fordham Law School are eligible for the Tolan Fellowship.

The Selection Committee is not required to award any fellowships in the absence of sufficiently qualified applicants.

Funding Amount

The Tolan Fellowship provides a one-year stipend of $35,000, and also covers travel medical insurance.

Application Requirements and Instructions

Applicants are invited to design projects that draw on their legal education and experience at Fordham Law School and engage timely issues in countries where their efforts are most needed and where there are insufficient resources for human rights protection. Fellowship proposals based anywhere in the world will be considered. Fellowships based outside of the United States will be the most competitive.

Applicants should submit the materials below in a single, complete pdf application packet to the Leitner Center (LeitnerCenter@law.fordham.edu). Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Potential applicants should indicate their interest in the Fellowship and direct any questions to Leitner Center’s Executive Director, Elisabeth Wickeri at wickeri@law.fordham.edu.

Applicants are encouraged to develop their projects in coordination with an appropriate sponsoring organization. Projects may address human rights, development, and justice issues across the globe. Project proposals should be as detailed as possible:

  1. Curriculum vitae, including information about classes, work and extracurricular activities in public interest and human rights;
  2. A personal statement (500 words maximum) about the applicant’s relevant experience, interest, and future aspirations with respect to human rights work. The statement should include a discussion of the place of the fellowship in the applicant’s career plans;
  3. Project proposal including: (1) a description of the sponsoring organization and of its work in the local and international context; and (2) a discussion of the project and its relation to the work of the organization;
  4. A letter from the sponsoring organization detailing their purpose, function and interest in the work of the applicant; the supervision they will provide for the project; and how the Fellow’s project will further the human rights work of the organization;
  5. Two or three letters of recommendation, including at least one from a Fordham Law School professor;
  6. Fordham Law School transcript.

Selection Process

The Tolan Fellowship Selection Committee will consider the applicant’s relevant human rights experience and academic performance, the value and potential impact of the proposed project, the capacity of the proposed organization to host the applicant and the relevance of the project for the career plans of the applicant.

The Selection Committee is not required to award any fellowships in the absence of sufficiently qualified applicants.

Interviews may be required for finalists.

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Leitner Center for International Law and Justice
Fordham University School of Law
150 West 62nd Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10023 USA

Email: LeitnerCenter@law.fordham.edu
Telephone: 212.636.6862
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Faculty and Staff
Catherine Powell
Associate Professor of Law
Director, International Law and the Constitution Initiative
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