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The 2020 Copenhagen Fellowship delves into the complex issues of human rights through the lens of the Unity of the Danish Realm and includes a study trip to the Faroe Islands. 

The Fellowship will take place from June 3 – July 1, 2020 and includes participants from Denmark, Germany, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and the United States.

Tórshavn, capital of Faroe Islands. Photo: Stig Nygaard

The Unity of the Realm

In Denmark, the Unity of the Realm refers to the relationship between Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland, which are collectively known as The Danish Realm.

Since 1397, the Faroe Islands and Greenland have been under the Crown of Denmark. In 2005, the Faroese received a self-government agreement and Greenland “self rule” in 2009, leaving the Danish state with virtually no influence over their internal affairs.

In Denmark, the Unity of the Realm refers to the relationship between Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland, which are collectively known as The Danish Realm.

However, since then, the relationship between Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands has been changing rapidly. Climate change, growing global interests in the Arctic, and the increasing focus on Denmark’s colonial past are shaping new possibilities for the future of these three countries. These developments create an urgent need for enlightened and democratic conversations on this relationships and its potential new reality. However, many people in Denmark, let alone abroad, know little to nothing about this social and political union and its implications for the people living within it.

Viðareiði, Faroe Islands. Photo: Erik Christensen

The 2020 Copenhagen Fellowship

In 2020, the Copenhagen Fellowship will focus on the Unity of the Realm and relevant human rights concerns.

We will examine this union’s long and complex history from a human rights perspective, and the relationship of the majority in Denmark and the capital Copenhagen with the country’s minorities across the North Atlantic.

Topics of interest include: how climate change is changing the physical and political landscape of the region, how geopolitical interests are shaping the union’s future, and the social, economic, and cultural rights for minorities, specifically indigenous peoples. As a cohort, we will ask: what do Greenlandic and Faroese wishes for independence mean for Denmark and its engagement in the Arctic, what does climate change mean for North Atlantic peoples from a human rights perspective, and how does Denmark cooperate with Greenland to promote human rights domestically. These issues, and more, deal with the changing nature of globalization, modernity, and identity, to name just a few of the program’s themes. 

Join us as we dive into the pressing realities of this often overlooked region and Denmark’s role in shaping it.

Study trip to the Faroe Islands

Located between Norway and Iceland, the Faroe Islands is a self-governing archipelago in the Kingdom of Denmark. In cooperation with local non-government and other organizations in the Faroe Islands, the 2020 Copenhagen Fellowship will visit the Faroe Islands and examine the idea of the “Unity of the Realm” from a Faroese perspective. 

During the visit, we will ask:

  • How do the Faroese envision their future?
  • How do Faroese communities experience the growing global interest in the Arctic region?
  • How is climate change affecting life and livelihood?
  • What is the relationship between Tórshavn, the Faroese capital, and the outer islands? What is Tórshavn’s relationship with Copenhagen?
  • How do the Faroese view their relationship with Denmark, past and present?

The 2020 Copenhagen Fellowship is developed in cooporation with:


  • Greenland Representation in Denmark/Kalaallit Nunaata Siniisoqarfia
  • The Representation of the Faroes in Copenhagen/Sendistova Føroya í Keypmannahavn
  • Institute for Human Rights, Copenhagen
  • The Raoul Wallenberg institute for Human Rights, Lund


Become a Fellow

Every year, new Humanity in Action Fellows come together in six cities across Europe and the United States to study how and why people confront intolerance and protect democratic values.

01 Year duration

06 Cities

135 Fellows per year