Humanity in Action Announces the John Lewis Fellowship in Atlanta

January 23, 2015 | civil rights, race, democracy

Humanity in Action and The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Inc., are launching the John Lewis Fellowship – a new program in Atlanta for American and European university students. The inaugural program will begin in July 2015 and will focus on civil rights, race and immigration in the United States.

Photo credit: Platon, John Lewis, January 2010. Light jet print. 

The fellowship honors U.S. Representative John Lewis, an icon of the Civil Rights Movement and a previous honoree at Humanity in Action's Fall Benefit. Humanity in Action is partnering with the newly-opened Center for Civil and Human Rights, an award-winning institution in Atlanta, to implement this important program.

Humanity in Action’s founding conviction was that an important test of a genuine democracy is how it treats its minorities. Recent events in Ferguson, New York, Cleveland and beyond have demonstrated again that America is failing this test and that democratic freedoms and protections are not extended equally. As an organization, Humanity in Action has asked itself what it can do in such circumstances.

The John Lewis Fellowship is one answer. Built upon the model of the five annual Humanity in Action Fellowship programs in Europe, the John Lewis Fellowship will be unique in its focus on diversity in the United States. The program will explore the most pressing American issues, including racism, immigration and Native American issues. It will be Humanity in Action’s first program specifically focused on civil rights and its first program in the American South. It will also be its first program implemented in partnership with a museum and its first educational fellowship program in the United States since 2009.


Applications for the inaugural cohort of the John Lewis Fellowship are now open. Humanity in Action and The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Inc. are deeply grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for providing funding for the John Lewis Fellowship through The Center for three years.


A sculpture at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights incorporates photos of civil and human rights martyrs. Photo and caption by Dustin Chambers for the New York Times.


Applicants to the John Lewis Fellowship must be currently enrolled undergraduate students (sophomores, juniors and seniors) or recent graduates. For the 2015 John Lewis Fellowship, Humanity in Action defines recent graduates as individuals from the undergraduate classes of 2013 and 2014 at accredited, four-year undergraduate colleges or universities in the United States. Applicants of minority backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

American citizens studying at a foreign university are eligible to apply to the Humanity in Action Fellowship through the United States. In additions, non-U.S. citizens studying at a university in the United States are eligible to apply to the Humanity in Action Fellowship through the U.S. office.

Students and recent graduates from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Poland are also eligible to apply. Applicants in those countries should contact those offices directly to confirm eligibility.

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