Humanity in Action Announces the Recipients of the 2017 Pat Cox Fellowship Program

January 06, 2017

January 5, 2017 – Humanity in Action is pleased to introduce the recipients of the 2017 Pat Cox-Humanity in Action Fellowship

Each year, Humanity in Action brings together a small group of outstanding students and young professionals from around the world for three-month professional fellowships in the European Parliament and Brussels-based NGOs. The program, which honors Pat Cox, former President and current member of the European Parliament, requires participant Fellows to have a keen interest in human rights and minority issues. Participants conduct substantial, policy-based and administrative work to gain insight into the legislative and decision-making processes in Brussels. Fellows also attend a series of requisite seminars, lectures and site visits led by key policy experts and practitioners, to engage in intellectual exchange and discussion on various topics concerning contemporary policies and politics in the Europe Union. Since the program was lauched in 2005, it has helped more than 100 young people gain invaluable work experience at the European Parliament or with a Brussels-based NGO. 

The 2017 program runs from January 27 through April 28, 2017. To learn more, please visit

2017 Fellows, Pat Cox-Humanity in Action Congressional Fellowship

Duygu Cakir (Denmark, 2015) graduated with a MA in Middle East Studies from University of Southern Denmark in 2016. She further holds a BA in International Business Communication with American Studies from Copenhagen Business School. Duygu has lived in Istanbul in 2014, interning for an English-Turkish newspaper where she wrote about minority issues in Turkey. During her studies, Duygu has extendedly travelled in the Middle East, attending different programs, focusing on democracy and dialogue across cultures. In Denmark, Duygu has worked on different integration projects, mainly concerning antidiscrimination, minority rights and projects on dialogue across multi faiths and cultures. Among others, she has facilitated workshops for high school students on antiracism. In her free time Duygu also freelances and writes about Turkish politics and identity politics, mainly focusing on Muslim women. She has also written columns on the integration debate in Denmark. Duygu is a 2015 Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (Copenhagen program).

Anouk van Eekeren (The Netherlands, 2016) whas recently earned her B.Sc. from Amsterdam University College with a major in medical sciences and a minor in law. Through her work as Chair of Amnesty International student group Amsterdam, she got to further explore her interests in human rights, and this was strengthened even more by her involvement with Humanity in Action. Her interests include women’s rights and human rights in the light of climate change, the latter being a core concept of the biannual arts festival Scopophilia she co-organised. Anouk aspires to pursue a Master in Environmental Policy with a focus on migration resulting from climate change, combining both her passion for the natural sciences and human rights. Anouk is a 2016 Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (Amsterdam program).

Alen Kerić (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2016) is a recent graduate with an MA in Human Rights and Democracy in South-East Europe from the University of Sarajevo and University of Bologna. His MA thesis explored the relationship between LGBTIQ and Catholic communities in Croatia, while interning at the Women's Room, Center for Sexual Rights - Croatia's only counseling center for victims of sexual violence. Prior to his graduate studies, Alen obtained a BA in Performance and Media Studies from Beloit College. He is a socially engaged and political artist, performing in mediums of theatre, dance and performance art. His current research explores religious aspects of the contemporary refugee crisis, as well as the politics of memory surrounding anti-fascist monuments in post-Dayton Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was born and raised in Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Alen is a 2016 Diplomacy and Diversity Senior Fellow of Humanity in Action. 

Sonia Lépine-Persaud (France, 2007), an international jurist specialized in gender issues, has gained experience since 2007 in program management in the field of human rights, humanitarian aid and development in various organizations. She had the opportunity to work within a human rights' NGO in New Delhi (India), the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in Vienna (Austria), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Geneva (Switzerland) and a private consulting firm and a diplomatic mission in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). Sonia holds a Master's degree in human rights and humanitarian law. She is a French native speaker and is fluent in English and German. She lives in Brussels since October 2016 with her husband and 2-year old daughter. Sonia is a 2007 Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (Paris program). 

Oumou van Rijen (The Netherlands, 2016) was born in Djenné (Mali). Part Fulani and part Songhai, Oumou lived in Guinea-Bissau, Dordrecht, Aruba, Bergen op Zoom and Voorhout and Sassenheim before starting University. Her passion for debating has led her to pursue a B.A. in Dutch law, during which she did an exchange program at Science Po in Paris. She commenced a master program in Public International Law at Leiden Law School, while still occasionally holding debate workshops and serving as a judge at debate panels. She is also passionate about aerial acrobatics by training 4-5 times per week and performing sometimes. She interned at Gender Concerns International, an NGO in The Hague that aims at improving female leadership in countries of the MENA region, North Africa, and Myanmar. She recently begun studying Russian. Oumou is a 2016 Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (Amsterdam program). 

Hüseyin Sakalli (The Netherlands, 2016) is currently finishing his Bachelor’s degree in International and European Law from The Hague University of Applied Sciences. During his studies he worked in the port of Rotterdam, where he was often confronted with inequalities and the exploitation of posted workers, as a result he decided to specialize in human rights. Huseyin has interned at a number of NGO’s including the Justice Leadership Foundation and the Amsterdam office of Humanity in Action. He is particularly interested in solving challenges in the field of human rights with the use of technology. Huseyin aspires to become a human rights lawyer and is currently writing a thesis on ethnic profiling in The Netherlands. Huseyin is a 2016 Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (Amsterdam program). 

Léo Tamayo (France, 2016) iholds a B.A. in political science and is currently a student in Master’s program in Public administration and social regulation at University Paris-Dauphine. He was born in Paris but his family came from Spain and spent most of his life on La Réunion, a small French overseas island next to Madagascar. During spring 2016, he interned at Welcomeurope, a European consulting firm based in Paris and specialized in European funds. Léo is very attracted by cinema and video making. He is very interested in migration and discrimination issues, with a focus on Roma population. Therefore he intends to pursue his master’s program in migration studies next year. Léo is a 2016 Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (Copenhagen program). 

Femke Zeven (The Netherlands, 2016) is 23 years old, and is currently living and working in Amsterdam. She graduated from the University of Amsterdam in 2015, with a B.Sc. in Cultural Anthropology. During her bachelor’s degree, she specialized in conflict studies, migration and human rights. Her final field work and research was on undocumented migrants in Amsterdam, citizenship and the tension between the universality and nationality in granting human rights. Since obtaining her BSc, she’s been part of the UNISCA Board, the Model United Nations of the University of Amsterdam. Additionally, she has been working at the municipality of Amsterdam, and she has done internships at War Child and Humanity in Action The Netherlands. This is also because she loved HIA right away, and couldn’t say goodbye after the HIA Fellowship in Amsterdam. Femke will start studying Law in September 2017, in order to gain legal and practical skills to do work related to social justice and human rights. Femke is a 2016 Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (Amsterdam program).

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