2018 Summer Fellowship Guide

 

 

2018 SUMMER FELLOWSHIP GUIDE

(Click here for the Word version of the guide)

 

I.  INFORMATION SESSIONS AND APPLICATION DEADLINES
II.  INTRODUCTION TO THE IHRP FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM                 
a.    Who can apply?   
b.    Process    
c.    Funding   
d.    General Expectations     
e.    Geographic Limitations    
III.  IHRP FELLOWSHIPS  
a.    Basic Information re: IHRP Fellowships         
       i.  Substance of Fellowship  
       ii.  Funding Sources  
       iii.  Selection of Fellows      
       iv.  Duration of Fellowship    
b.    Student-Initiated Fellowships                
c.    IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowships        
       i.  IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing  
       ii.  IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship with Code Blue     
       iii.  IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship with Human Rights Watch                   
       iv.  IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship with UNHCR
IV.  TIPS FOR PUTTING TOGETHER A SUCCESSFUL FELLOWSHIP PROPOSAL
Appendix A: Sample Fellowship Application      
Appendix B: 2017 IHRP Summer Fellowship Application Form     
Appendix C: IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship Application Form    
Appendix D: Sample Email to Prospective Host Organization   

 

I.  Information Sessions and Application Deadlines

October 19, 2017

12:30-2:00 p.m.

J250

Information Session: Introduction to IHRP and Asper Centre Summer Fellowship Opportunities

 

November 2, 2017

12:30-2:00 p.m.

P105

IHRP Summer Fellowship Session #2

December 1, 2017

12:00 p.m.

Deadline for Submission of IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship Application Package for UNHCR (Thailand)

Students must submit an electronic copy of their complete application package to ihrp.law@utoronto.ca, as well as one hard copy to Kara Norrington, 78 Queen's Park, Room 418.  Please do not submit your application to utlawcareers.ca.

January 5, 2018

Deadline for Submission of IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship
Application Package for the UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Housing, Code Blue, and Human Rights Watch

Students must submit an electronic copy of their complete application package to ihrp.law@utoronto.ca, as well as one hard copy to Kara Norrington, 78 Queen's Park, Room 418.  Please do not submit your application to utlawcareers.ca.

February 20, 2018

12:00 p.m.

IHRP Fellowship Application Deadline (for all fellowships, including student-initiated and IHRP-facilitated competitive fellowships, regardless of the source of funding)

·         Applications should be submitted through utlawcareers.ca

March 13, 2018

9:30 a.m.

IHRP Fellowship Approval Date

Students whose fellowships have been approved will be notified by email at the same time as they are notified about other Faculty of Law co-curricular program offers.

 

II.  Introduction to the IHRP Fellowship Program

Every year, the International Human Rights Program (“IHRP”) at the Faculty of Law supports 15 to 20 students to pursue summer volunteer roles with international human rights organizations. Through logistical and financial support, the IHRP has been facilitating summer fellowships for 30 years and has assisted almost 400 students who have worked at governmental, non-governmental, and inter-governmental organizations around the world (including in Canada).* Fellows have the opportunity to participate in human rights research and advocacy, often at the grassroots level. A list of past summer fellowships, including reports about fellows’ experiences, can be found here.

This guide provides information about the IHRP fellowship program to assist you with applying for a fellowship. 

For students mainly interested in public interest fellowships in Canada,the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights funds 2-3 students to work over the summer in an organization within Canada that focuses on human rights advocacy. The Faculty also funds 7 fellows in the Donner Civic Leadership Fellowship program, three fellows in the June Callwood Program in Aboriginal Law, one fellow in Walter and Mary Tuohy Foundation Internship program, and three fellows in the SLS Public Interest Advocacy Summer Fellowship program. For more information on these fellowships, please contact the Career Development Office. 

a.  Who can apply?

IHRP summer fellowships are open to all 1L and 2L J.D. students at the Faculty of Law, including students enrolled in joint degree programs, as well as one LL.M. student. 3L, S.J.D., and exchange students are ineligible. Note that students enrolled in a joint degree program may be requested to maximize funding opportunities from both faculties.

b.  Process

Students apply to become an IHRP summer fellow and must meet all associated deadlines and requirements (see above). Application forms are available in the document library of UTlawcareers, and completed applications must be submitted electronically via the corresponding IHRP posting under the "Jobs" tab of UTlawcareers during the Unified Hiring Process.

c.  Funding

IHRP fellowships are volunteer opportunities that are available to all students regardless of their source of funding. Applications are judged and approved on merit alone, and the IHRP provides support throughout the application process and during the course of the fellowship. Once the IHRP approves a given application, it is passed along to the financial aid office to determine whether the prospective fellow is eligible for faculty-funding. Faculty-funding consists of a stipend to cover some of the fellowship expenses and is available to IHRP fellowship applicants  who have demonstrated financial need. This stipend aims to ensure that financially disadvantaged students also have access to these very valuable volunteer opportunities.

Prospective IHRP fellows who have accepted a second-year summer job at a law firm may be able to seek financial assistance from their sponsoring law firm (see below). Students in joint-degree programs may seek financial support from their non-law faculty. Finally, students may also seek financial support from third-party organizations, including government agencies, depending on the nature and subject matter of their fellowship (see below).  

Students must indicate the anticipated source of their funding on their fellowship application form (Faculty of Law, faculty of joint degree program, firm, third-party organization, or self-funded). 

d.  General Expectations

IHRP summer fellows are required to attend mandatory pre-departure training session(s), including Safety Abroad Training, and to sign several forms and waivers. Fellows are also expected to facilitate contact between the IHRP Director and their host organization.

Students will also be required to provide information to the University’s Safety Abroad database, which allows the University to monitor safety conditions in the fellow’s host country. Students will be asked to access the database prior to departure in order to provide their primary overseas telephone numbers and addresses. If any mandatory information is missing, the IHRP reserves the right to withhold support (including funding, where applicable) until it is provided.

Fellows are required to obtain supplementary travel health insurance, since no such insurance is provided by the IHRP, Faculty of Law, or the University of Toronto. This insurance should be comprehensive and allow for repatriation if required. The IHRP may also require students to obtain trip cancellation/interruption insurance in certain cases.

Students must independently research and obtain the appropriate visa required to undertake an unpaid fellowship in the host country. Students should contact the IHRP regarding visa concerns if they or their host organization feel that obtaining the appropriate visa would unnecessarily jeopardize their safety or security (for example, due to restrictions on human rights work in the host country).

Fellows are required to complete brief mid-summer and final reports, which may be posted online. Upon return, fellows are given the opportunity to share their experiences with the law school community and prospective fellows in a variety of ways. Students may be asked to contribute to a Rights Review article, as well as attend and participate in faculty events, depending on the subject matter of their fellowship. For firm-funded fellows, some sponsoring law firms may require fellows to prepare a written report or oral presentation at the end of the summer as well.

e.  Geographic Limitations

The University of Toronto, including the IHRP, cannot allow students to travel to dangerous areas while participating in University-supported programs. Fellows should consult the Government of Canada’s travel advisories before planning their fellowship. Under no circumstances can the IHRP approve fellowships to areas where the Government of Canada recommends “avoid[ing] all travel” and “avoid[ing] non-essential travel,” regardless of the funding source.

 

III.  IHRP Fellowships

The majority of IHRP summer fellowships are based on student-initiated fellowship proposals (“student-initiated fellowships”). Students research and find suitable host organizations, approach the organization to host them as a fellow, develop a project with the organization, and then apply to the IHRP to approve their proposal. This process allows students to create opportunities that capitalize on their past experiences and interests. 

While it may seem daunting to approach organizations, they are generally open to hosting fellows who are completing a professional degree program and are not seeking stipend support from them. An extensive list of potential host organizations can be found on the IHRP website

A minority of IHRP fellows apply for a posted unpaid position through an open recruiting process and, upon or in anticipation of receiving an Offer Letter, apply for funding from the Faculty of Law, their firm, or other sources (“competitive fellowships”). This year, the IHRP has entered into an informal collaboration with the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, Code Blue, Human Rights Watch and the UNHCR (“IHRP-facilitated competitive fellowships”), in an attempt to increase the chances of our students successfully applying for competitive fellowships at these host organizations (see below).

Students can apply for both student-initiated and IHRP-facilitated competitive fellowships, and will have to submit complete application packages for both.  However, if you receive an Offer Letter for an IHRP-facilitated competitive fellowship with the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, Code Blue, Human Rights Watch, or the UNHCR, you will be required to withdraw your application for a student-initiated fellowship. 

a.  Basic Information re: IHRP Fellowships

i.  Substance of Fellowship

The IHRP fellowship program is meant to support international human rights law-related experiences, and the host organization may be based in Canada or abroad. 

ii.  Funding Sources

Students may seek funding for IHRP fellowships from four main sources: Faculty of Law, sponsoring law firms, third-party organizations, and self-funding.

a.    Faculty of Law Stipends

Once the IHRP has approved a fellowship on its merits, the student may be eligible for stipend funding from the Faculty of Law. This funding is limited to students who demonstrate financial need, including:

  • 1L and 2L J.D. students (including students who have received faculty or firm-funded fellowships in the past); and 
  • one LL.M. student.

Financial need can be demonstrated through receipt of:

  • bursaries and/or interest-free loans from the Faculty of Law;
  • government student financial assistance (i.e. Canadian provincial student loans, US Stafford or Perkins loans, etc.); and/or
  • needs-based funding from a third-party organization.

Students who apply and obtain a faculty stipend for their fellowships receive some funding to cover fellowship-related expenses.

Students in joint-degree programs should also seek funding from the non-law faculty.   

b.    Firm-Funded

Students in their 2L year, who have accepted a summer position with a sponsoring law firm, may also seek financial support from their employing law firm. Students typically ‘split’ their summer so that they spend the first part of the summer working at the sponsoring law firm, and the latter part of the summer as an IHRP summer fellow (between 4 and 8 weeks, depending on the firm). While students are working at the sponsoring law firm, they are integrated as much as possible into the law firm’s summer program and included in social and other events held by the law firm during the summer.  

Each sponsoring law firm remunerates its summer fellowship students for the duration of the entire summer. Students should be aware that some law firms only offer remuneration for a specific number of weeks, even though the IHRP fellowship may run for a longer period of time. Students should also be aware that some host organizations may require fellows to work for a minimum number of weeks, so as to allow adequate time for fellows to contribute to the organization’s work after their initial training.

Sponsoring firms differ on the number of students they allow to participate in a split summer program, and students should discuss the IHRP fellowship program directly with them. For advice on how and when to raise the possibility of participating in an IHRP fellowship with participating firms, please set up an appointment with an advisor at the Career Development Office. 

Over the past several years, the following firms have agreed to sponsor IHRP fellows:

·         Borden Ladner Gervais – Toronto and Vancouver
·         Fasken Martineau – Toronto
·         Dentons – Toronto
·         Goodmans – Toronto
·         Blakes –Toronto
·         Oslers – Toronto
·         Torys – Toronto

Please note that some firms may have additional requirements for IHRP fellows. For example, in the past, one major firm required that fellows work either for a firm-sponsored public interest group or other entity that is involved in diversity issues or is otherwise working on issues affecting women, racialized groups, the LGBT community or other diverse groups.

Second-year students who accept an offer with a sponsoring law firm are not eligible to apply for faculty funding for their fellowship. 

The firm-funded fellowship program is not open to 1L J.D. students who accept a summer position at a firm.

Alternative Sources of Funding

In addition to the Faculty-funded and firm-funded IHRP fellowships, students may wish to explore other sources of funding when planning their IHRP fellowship. Below are several possible alternative sources of funding, which may depend on the nature and subject matter of the proposed fellowship. Further information on alternative sources of funding can be found in the McGill International Law Career Guide (on reserve in the library) or through the Canadian Directory to Foundations and Grants (available at Robarts Library.) [1]

This is a $20,000 CDN fellowship grant that requires a one-year commitment concurrent with studies. However, the proceeds you receive can be used for any purpose, including a summer fellowship. Please check website regularly for application deadline.

iii.  Selection of Fellows

Applications are considered by the IHRP Fellowship Selection Committee, which is comprised of the Director of the IHRP, the Assistant Dean (J.D. Program), and the Chair of the IHRP’s Faculty Advisory Committee. 

Applications are assessed on the basis of merit. Specifically, the Selection Committee considers the following aspects of the proposed fellowship: the host organization, the proposal, the student’s strengths and interests, and the student’s professionalism in all dealings related to the application process. The IHRP supports fellowships that allow students to gain valuable experiences working in the field of international human rights, and to contribute to important work of organizations working in this field.

iv. Duration of Fellowship

IHRP fellowships vary in duration, depending on the student’s availability, commitments, and funding. Typically, host organizations require fellowships to last a minimum of 12-16 weeks in order to allow adequate time for fellows to contribute to the organization’s work following initial training.

Firm-funded fellows typically spend the first part of the summer working at the sponsoring law firm, and the latter part of the summer working at the host organization (from 4-8 weeks depending on the firm). 

b.  Student-Initiated Fellowships

As noted above, the majority of IHRP fellowships are based on student-initiated fellowship proposals. This provides students with the opportunity to propose a project on a human-rights-related topic of their choice, with an organization of their choice, in a part of the world of their choice (keeping in mind security concerns). The flexibility of this program ensures that IHRP fellowships cater to students’ unique background and interests, and ultimately, that it is a fulfilling and meaningful experience.

In order to take full advantage of this opportunity, students are encouraged to begin researching early (see the “Tips” section below). The IHRP website include a list of potential host organizations, as well as fellowship reports from previous fellows. The IHRP can also facilitate introductions to host organizations and previous fellows.

c.  IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowships

This year, the IHRP has set up informal collaborative arrangements with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, on the right to non-discrimination in this context; Code Blue, a campaign by Aids-Free World; Human Rights Watch; and the UNHCR.

These collaborative arrangements are “informal” in the sense that the host organizations are not obligated to find fellowship placements for our students but will endeavor to find placements for the IHRP’s strongest applicants. Historically, we have had success in placing our students through these types of arrangements.

In addition to applying for fellowships at the organizations with which the IHRP has an established arrangement, students may apply for competitive fellowships at other organizations or a student-initiated fellowship, in order to increase their odds of securing an IHRP summer fellowship. As a general rule, receipt of an Offer Letter from a host organization with which the IHRP has an informal collaborative arrangement, will be given significant weight by the IHRP Selection Committee.  

To apply for a competitive fellowship at an organization other than the ones mentioned in the following subsection, students must fulfill all the application requirements and submit their application directly to the organization. If the fellowships are at inter-governmental organizations (i.e. the UN), international court or tribunal (ICC, IACHR) or leading non-governmental organizations (i.e. Amnesty International), competition for fellow positions will be intense. Students should also be aware that, in comparison to student-initiated fellowships where they work with the host organization in advance to develop a project, they will have less control over the work that they do with the host organization.

Please note that some organizations, including the International Criminal Court, have early application deadlines (i.e. November 1). For most other courts, tribunals, and commissions, applications must be received at least 3 months in advance of the desired start-date. However, the IHRP recommends that applications be submitted by December 2017.

More information is available about summer fellowship opportunities in the IHRP/CDO's International Human Rights Career Guide (2017).

A general overview of the process is as follows:

  • The student completes all application requirements stipulated by the recruiting organization and submits the application directly to the recruiting organization by specified deadline. Many of these deadlines are in October and November, so make sure to check websites early!

  • The recruiting organization determines whether or not to present the student with an Offer Letter.

  • The student must also complete and submit an IHRP fellowship application, as set out below.

  • If a student receives an Offer Letter and the organization provides no funding or insufficient funding, the student may apply for funding from the Faculty, sponsoring firm, or third-party organization. For students who demonstrate financial need, faculty-funding will be considered along with the pool of student-initiated fellowship applications. 

Please submit your IHRP fellowship application by the appropriate deadline, even if you have yet to receive an Offer Letter from the host organization of the competitive fellowship. Approval of your application will be conditional on receipt of the Offer Letter. You may also submit a student-initiated fellowship application, in case you do not receive an Offer Letter for the competitive fellowship. However, if you receive an Offer Letter, the IHRP will only consider the competitive fellowship.

I.  IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing

For the second year, the IHRP has set up an informal collaborative arrangement with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, on the right to non-discrimination in this context. The Special Rapporteur is offering an opportunity for one fellow to work closely with her on all aspects of her mandate. The position is based in Ottawa.

The Special Rapporteur is based in Ottawa, Canada, and her mandate is the following:

(a) To promote the full realization of adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living;

(b) To identify best practices as well as challenges and obstacles to the full realization of the right to adequate housing, and identify protection gaps in this regard;

(c) To give particular emphasis to practical solutions with regard to the implementation of the rights relevant to the mandate;

(d) To apply a gender perspective, including through the identification of gender-specific vulnerabilities in relation to the right to adequate housing and land;

(e) To facilitate the provision of technical assistance;

(f) To work in close cooperation, while avoiding unnecessary duplication, with other special procedures and subsidiary organs of the Human Rights Council, relevant United Nations bodies, the treaty bodies and regional human rights mechanisms;

(g) To submit a report on the implementation of the present resolution to the General Assembly and to the Council.

Ms. Farha assumed her function on June 2, 2014. Ms. Farha is an alumna of the Faculty of Law, and credits an IHRP internship as sparking her interest in international human rights.  In addition to her mandate, she is the Executive Director of the NGO Canada Without Poverty, based in Ottawa, Canada. A lawyer by training, for the past 20 years Ms. Farha has worked both internationally and domestically on the implementation of the right to adequate housing for the most marginalized groups.

In Canada Ms. Farha worked on housing rights issues as the Executive Director of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA). In that capacity, she helped to launch a historic legal challenge seeking the implementation of UN recommendations for addressing homelessness as a violation of human rights. In her current work she continues to promote a human rights based approach to poverty.

Internationally, Ms. Farha has actively participated in a number of missions around the world to examine the status of housing rights and to assist in developing policy responses for the implementation of these rights. Within the UN human rights system, she helped spearhead the first resolution regarding women and the right to adequate housing.  Ms. Farha has also undertaken numerous consultancies related to housing rights; she has appeared before various UN human rights mechanisms to address economic, social and cultural rights issues; and she was a member of the Advisory Group on Forced Evictions for UNHabitat.

Ms. Farha is known as a dynamic and effective advocate for economic, social and cultural rights and for promoting legal protection and access to justice for these rights. She has researched and published widely on issues related to housing rights, including on forced evictions, securing land rights for indigenous peoples, and housing indigenous peoples in cities. As a central dimension in all her activities, she has worked extensively on women’s economic, social and cultural rights, playing a pivotal role in raising awareness about the gender dimensions of these rights. Ms. Farha was also a founding member of the ESCR-Net – an international network of organizations committed to economic, social and cultural rights.

Students applying for this fellowship must complete the form found at Appendix C to this Guide by January 5, as well as submit a full fellowship application to the IHRP in February.

ii.  IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship with Code Blue

For the third year running, the IHRP has set up an informal collaborative arrangement with Code Blue, a campaign by Aids-Free World that aims to end impunity for sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel. The position is based in Toronto.

The goals of the Code Blue campaign are as follows:

  • Seek the removal of any possibility of immunity for the UN's own peacekeeping personnel - its non-military staff, including staff of UN funds and programs involved in peacekeeping; its police; and its experts on mission - whey they are accused of sexual exploitation or abuse. This will replace a double standard with a powerful, consistent message about zero tolerance to countries that supply military peacekeepers.
  • Call for the creation of a system-wide, external and independent investigation, with full access to the UN as well as subpoena power, to examine every facet of sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operation.  The Review must investigate the way the UN is handling the crisis throughout the system, from its missions on the ground right up through the chain of command to the Secretary-General.
  • Engage campaigners and supporters from all over the world to press the United Nations' leadership, troop-contributing countries, Member States that fund peacekeeping, and countries facing conflict, to create a revived, strengthened and more accountable response to sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers. 

Students applying for this fellowship must complete the form found at Appendix C to this Guide by January 5, as well as submit a full fellowship application to the IHRP in February.

iii.  IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship with Human Rights Watch

This year, the IHRP has set up an informal collaborative arrangement with Human Rights Watch (HRW), a non-governmental organization that documents rights abuses around the world with the ultimate goal of ending them and bringing perpetrators to justice. The IHRP will support up to two prospective fellows, whose applications will be forwarded to HRW. The final decision regarding selection will be made by HRW. One fellowship will be based in either New York or Washington DC, and the other will be based in Toronto. While the former will focus on women’s issues, the latter will have a more general human rights focus.

The following is a brief description of the various issues that the Women’s Rights Division of HRW targets:

Human Rights Watch is working toward the realization of women’s empowerment and gender equality—protecting the rights and improving the lives of women and girls on the ground. Despite great strides made by the international women’s rights movement over many years, women and girls around the world are still married as children or trafficked into forced labor and sex slavery. They are refused access to education and political participation, and some are trapped in conflicts where rape is perpetrated as a weapon of war. Around the world, deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth are needlessly high, and women are prevented from making deeply personal choices in their private lives.

The Toronto-based fellow is required to be proficient in French.

Students applying for this fellowship must complete the forms found at Appendix C to this Guide by January 5, as well as submit a full fellowship application to the IHRP in February.

iv.  IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship with UNHCR

This year, the IHRP has set up informal collaborative arrangement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – Bangkok, Thailand (“UNHCR”). The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.

Students applying for a UNHCR fellowship must complete the form found at Appendix C to this Guide by December 1, as well as submit a full application for funding to the IHRP in February.

IV.  Tips for Putting Together a Successful Fellowship Proposal

Step 1: Identify your Strengths and Interests

Before you approach a host organization, think carefully about your strengths and interests.  A strong proposal capitalizes on the qualities and experiences that make you unique.  Consider the following questions when determining your strength and interests:

  • What were you interested in and what did you study before coming to law? What work experience or volunteer experiences do you have? 

  • What interests have you developed in law school? What topics have grabbed your attention?  Could particular topics, courses, or volunteer experiences form the basis of an interesting fellowship?

  • Have you travelled internationally? If so, where? What did you like about the places you visited? What did you not like?

  • What are your personal and professional strengths? Do you like working in groups or do you tend to work alone? Are you well-organized? Do you like predictability or “flying by the seat of your pants”? 

  • Do you want to be on the “front lines” (field work) or do you prefer to be “behind the scenes” (policy work)? Do you want to have direct contact with victims or with policy leaders?

  • Do you have particular life experiences that may be useful in terms of advocacy on behalf of particular vulnerable groups?

  • Can you speak another language?

Step 2: Identify Potential Host Organizations

At this stage, you should identify 2-3 potential host organizations. Students often find this the most difficult step in the process. Here are some ways to identify hosts:

  • Look at the IHRP Potential Host Organizations list, which is available online.

  • Brainstorm people you already know who work in public interest organizations. Approach these people and ask them for information about potential hosts.

  • Do some research to isolate those organizations that are already working on the issues in which you are interested. Google, google, google!

  • Consult the list of past IHRP summer fellowships and determine whether any of the organizations on the list share your interests (The list of past fellows along with reports can be found on our website here). 

  • Contact previous fellows to learn more about the organization they worked for and other organizations that they may have developed connections with (to obtain up-to-date contact information for past fellows, contact the Director of the IHRP).

  • Speak with the Director of the IHRP about possible contacts or ideas she may have.

An ideal host organization will have at least some of the following attributes:

  • At least a portion of their work will focus on international human rights law or advocacy;

  • They will appear credible (to determine credibility check out who funds them, who is on their board, who is their staff etc.); and

  • They will have hosted fellows before and/or understand the responsibilities associated with the same.

Step 3: Approach Potential Host Organizations (for Student-Initiated Fellowships only)

Where you are applying for a student-initiated fellowship, you will be required to approach the host.  Before you approach a potential host organization, you should understand the type of work the organization undertakes, consider why you want to work with them, and be able to articulate how you will add value to their existing work.

Bear in mind the following when you approach a potential host organization:

  • Try to identify the person(s) at the organization who would most benefit from or be interested in your fellowship proposal and address your correspondence to that person. If you cannot identify such a person, address it to the Executive Director and Legal Director.

  • If you know someone who has a contact at the organization (i.e. a former fellow, the Director, a personal contact), do not hesitate to request that he/she facilitate your introduction to the organization. 

  • You may wish to send an initial email outlining your interest in the organization and then suggest a follow-up phone call to discuss details.  Do not underestimate the power of speaking directly to someone versus communication exclusively through email.

  • Once you have solidified your partnership, request a letter of support to include in your application package.

  • All correspondence should be professional in tone and content.  Do not hesitate to ask the Director of the IHRP to review a draft of your correspondence.

Step 4: Draft the Proposal

The proposal is one of the most important parts of your application (Please find attached a sample fellowship application for your review).

A strong proposal will answer the following questions:

  • What are the issues or problems that you hope to engage with? Why are these issues important?  Why are you interested in these issues?

  • What is the goal of your particular project? Is the goal realistic given time, financial, and other constraints?

  • How does your project relate to your particular skills or experiences?

  • Who is your host organization? Does this organization have particular expertise with the issue?  Are they credible? What is their previous track record?  Have they hosted past fellows?  If so, what have these fellows done?

  • What kind of contribution can you make to the host organization? How will your work contribute to a solution to these problems?

  • What are some of the potential problems or stumbling blocks you may encounter and how would you address these?

  • What do you hope to take away from the experience?

You may wish to ask your host organization to review your proposal to ensure that it reflects their understanding of the project. Staff in the Career Development Office have also generously offered to review proposals.

Step 5: Create a Budget

As noted above, the Faculty provides fellowship stipends for students who qualify for financial aid. Students must disclose any and all other funds that they have received or expect to receive in relation to the fellowship.

Your budget should include line items for:

  • anticipated living expenses (including housing, food, phone, transit, personal expenses);

  • the cost of travel to the fellowship site or sites;

  • fees for visas or other required travel documentation;

  • fees for travel inoculation; and

  • fees for travel and medical insurance.


     

APPENDIX A: Sample Fellowship Application

A.         Student Contact Information (redacted)

B.         Financial Aid Information (redacted)

C.        IHRP Fellowship for which you are Applying

Please check off the fellowships for which you are applying.

_______

International Criminal Court (Competitive Fellowship)

_______

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Competitive Fellowship)

___x___

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Competitive fellowship)

_______

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Competitive fellowship)

_______

IHRP Student-Initiated Fellowship

_______

Other Competitive or IHRP-Facilitated Fellowship

Have you applied for or received other IHRP Summer Fellowships?  If so, please provide details below.

I have not applied for other fellowships with the IHRP.

D.        General Statement of Interest in International Human Rights and/or Public Interest Law and Related Skills

I have long held a strong interest in international development work, as evidenced by my undergraduate degree in International Development Studies. My work and volunteer experiences only further confirm my commitment to this field. For one year, I worked in Sri Lanka as a Junior Program Officer for X. I have also conducted research for organizations such as X, X and X (see resume attached for more details). More recently, my interest has evolved to focus specifically on the role of law in international development.

My motivation in applying for IHRP fellowship funding lies in my commitment to furthering global equity through the law and more specifically, my concern for refugees and the challenges they face. My experiences working with Afghan youth in Toronto, many of whom previously lived in Pakistan within refugee camps, have underscored the vulnerability of these populations and their need for legal protection. With this in mind, I recently became involved with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) X (through Pro Bono Students Canada). Under the auspices of this program, I underwent training to conduct legal rights education for asylum seekers held in detention centers around Toronto and will be leading a legal education workshop in March. Fellowing with the UNHCR will be an excellent opportunity to make further contributions in this field and develop my legal skills.

E.         Current Courses and Transcript (redacted)

F.         Fellowship Proposal

It is not always possible for refugees to return to their homes or settle in countries of first asylum. In these situations, third country resettlement is frequently the only viable long-term option, making it a critical element of international refugee law. The UNHCR Regional Office for X has offered me a summer fellowship with their Resettlement Unit. As an fellow, I will assist in all aspects of the resettlement process, including assessment of eligibility, preparation of referrals and coordination of submission and selection. The specific terms of reference are as follows:

•     Determining whether resettlement is the most appropriate solution for individual refugees, taking into account available information and established UNHCR resettlement criteria outlined in the Resettlement Handbook;

•     Interviewing candidates for resettlement, completing Resettlement Registration Forms and preparing case documentation for submissions. Case documentation must demonstrate knowledge of country of origin information as well as receiving country quotas and procedures;

•     Providing counseling to individual refugees, explaining the process, prospects and problems involved in resettlement in order to enable individuals to be realistic about their future prospects;

•     Working closely with UNHCR staff, NGOs, and resettlement country representatives to identify vulnerable cases for resettlement submission as priority cases;

•     Following-up on the outcome of decisions for each case submitted for resettlement consideration and providing additional information or documentation if necessary;

•     Any other assigned duties related to resettlement efforts.

With my background in international development and familiarity with refugee issues, I am in a strong position to make such contributions to the UNHCR. Prior to commencing my legal education, I completed a multi-disciplinary undergraduate program that allowed me to achieve a broad understanding of international development issues, including the myriad of factors that create refugee flows and the complex issues that arise thereafter. I have had the opportunity to study the evolution and effects of the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, the role of the UNHCR and other elements of the international refugee regime through courses such as Global Governance and Citizenship & Immigration.

In addition to my academic qualifications, professional experiences have also prepared me to make substantial contributions. My work with Afghan refugee youth has developed within me an understanding of, and sensitivity towards, the challenges that refugees face. Recently, my knowledge of refugee law has further expanded through the training provided by the UNHCR Detention Center Program. In addition, my one-year placement in Sri Lanka with X has given me an appreciation of how development work unfolds in practice in overseas contexts.

What I will gain from this fellowship is further international work experience and most importantly, an opportunity to develop legal experience in an area that I am considering pursuing as a long-term career. Interviewing and counseling resettlement candidates as well as assessing cases and preparing documentation for submission will provide me with valuable legal experience. It will also deepen my understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the international refugee legal system. This fellowship will allow me to learn a great deal about international human rights work from those more experienced in the field as well as the nature of working for an international organization. In summary, an fellowship with the UNHCR is an important step for me in the process of creating a meaningful career in international human rights law.

G.        Proposed Host Organization Details

Name: UNHCR Regional Office for X

Description of Work: The UNHCR leads and coordinates international efforts to protect the rights of refugees. It strives to protect these rights by upholding the right to seek asylum and find refuge. It also supports refugees in their efforts to voluntarily return home, integrate locally or resettle in a third country.

H.        Letter of Support

Please find the attached email that confirms support for this fellowship from the UNHCR Regional Office for X.

I.          Budget

Item

Cost in CAD $

Multiplier

Total

Rent

500 / month

3

1,500

Food, Transportation, Phone & Personal Expenses

400 / month

3

1,200

Flight

1850

1

1,850

Travel & Medical Insurance

150

1

150

Visa

80

1

80

Vaccinations

200

1

200

TOTAL = $4,980

J.        Short Biographical Paragraph

Jane Doe is a 2nd year JD candidate at the Faculty of Law.  She completed a B.A. (Hons.) in Psychology from the University of Toronto.  In 2003, Jane spent a year living and working in India with the NGO X.  At NGO X, she was responsible for organizing workshops for migrant workers on international human rights instruments.  Jane previously completed a summer fellowship program with X and Y where she conducted election monitoring during the Ugandan elections.   At the law school, Jane is involved in XYZ and is a member of XYZ.  Jane is proficient in English and French. 


 

Appendix B: 2018 IHRP Summer Fellowship Application Form

(available on utlawcareers.ca)

 

 

2018 SUMMER FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION FORM

(IHRP FELLOWSHIPS)

 

A.        Student Contact Information

Name:  _______________________________________

Year of Studies:  _______________________________________

Sessional Address: _______________________________________

Phone Number: _______________________________________

E-mail: _______________________________________

 

B.        Financial Need Information

Please check all that apply to you for the academic year 2017-2018:

_______

I am receiving bursaries and/or interest-free loans from the Faculty of Law.

_______

I am receiving government student financial assistance (i.e., OSAP, BC Student Assistance Program, US Stafford or Perkins loans).  Please specify from which province/jurisdiction you are receiving funding:

 

_______

I am receiving needs-based funding from the following organization (please specify):

 

_______

 

_______

I am not receiving Faculty of Law financial aid or government student financial assistance but have submitted the Financial Aid form to the Financial Aid Office who has determined that I have financial need.

I am not receiving Faculty of Law financial aid or government student financial assistance and do not wish to be assessed for financial need or have been assessed has not having financial need.

C.        Funding

Please check off the funding sources for which you wish to be considered:

_______

I am applying for Faculty of Law stipend funding (available to students who can demonstrate financial need by checking one or more boxes in Section B)

_______

I am applying for firm funding (only available to 2L students who have accepted an offer at a participating law firm)

_______

I am not applying for funding from the Faculty or a firm

D.        IHRP Fellowship for which you are Applying

Please check off the fellowships for which you are applying.

_______

_______

 IHRP Student-Initiated Fellowship

Competitive Fellowship (Non-IHRP Facilitated)

_______

_______

_______

UN Special Rapporteur on Housing (IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship)

Code Blue (IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship)

Human Rights Watch (IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship)

_______

UNHCR Thailand (IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship)

Have you applied for or received IHRP Summer Fellowships in the past? If so, please provide details below.

E.         General Statement of Interest in International Human Rights and/or Public Interest Law and Related Skills

In no more than 250 words, please provide a description of your interest in international human rights or public interest law, and any related skills (language, work in high pressure environment, organizational development etc.). 

Please include information regarding any particular substantive interest (i.e. women’s human rights, humanitarian law, children’s rights, economic and social rights etc.) and/or past related experience (i.e. past employment, volunteer positions, courses, extra-curricular activities, publications etc.). 

If you have not yet had the opportunity to demonstrate your interest in international human rights, please explain what factors informed your decision to apply for this fellowship. 

F.         Current Courses, Transcript and Curriculum Vitae

Please list all courses that you will be taking during the current academic year. Please attach your transcript. Please attach your curriculum vitae.

G.        Fellowship Proposal

In no more than 750 words, please describe your proposed fellowship.  A strong proposal will answer the following questions:

  • What are the issues or problems that you hope to engage with?  Why are these issues important?  Why are you interested in these issues?

  • What is the goal of your particular project?  Is the goal realistic given time, financial, and other constraints?

  • How does your project relate to your particular skills or experiences?

  • Who is your host organization?  Does this organization have particular expertise with the issue?  Are they credible?  What is their previous track record?

  • What kind of contribution can you make to the host organization?  How will your work contribute to a solution to these problems?

  • What are some of the potential problems or stumbling blocks you may encounter and how would you address these?

  • What do you hope to take away from the experience?

H.        Proposed Host Organization Details

Please provide the full name of the host organization, a description of its work or mandate, its mailing address, telephone number, the name of your proposed supervisor or hosts and their email address.

I.          Letter of Support or Offer Letter

Please attach to your application a letter or email message of support from your proposed host organization.

J.         Safety and Security Issues

Please indicate the current Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Travel Warning for the country and specific city/region in which you propose to work, and provide a realistic assessment of any safety/security issues you may encounter and how you will mitigate against them.

K.        Project Budget

If you are seeking faculty stipend funding, please include a projected budget for your fellowship.

Your budget should include line items for:

  • anticipated living expenses (including housing, food, phone, transit, personal expenses);

  • the cost of travel to the fellowship site or sites;

  • fees for visas or other required travel documentation;

  • fees for travel inoculation;

  • fees for travel and medical insurance;

  • any other costs associated with the fellowship.


     

Appendix C: IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship Application Form


2018 IHRP-FACILITATED COMPETITIVE FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION FORM

 

A.        Student Contact Information

Name: _______________________________________

Year of Studies: _______________________________________

Sessional Address: _______________________________________

Phone Number: _______________________________________

E-mail: _______________________________________

 

B.        Financial Need Information

Please check all that apply to you for the academic year 2017-2018:

_______

I am receiving bursaries and/or interest-free loans from the Faculty of Law.

_______

I am receiving government student financial assistance (i.e., OSAP, BC Student Assistance Program, US Stafford or Perkins loans).  Please specify from which province/jurisdiction you are receiving funding:

 

_______

I am receiving needs-based funding from the following organization (please specify):

 

_______

 

 

_______

I am not receiving Faculty of Law financial aid or government student financial assistance but have submitted the Financial Aid form to the Financial Aid Office who has determined that I have financial need.

I am not receiving Faculty of Law financial aid or government student financial assistance and do not wish to be assessed for financial need or have been assessed has not having financial need.

 

C.        Funding

Please check off the funding sources for which you wish to be considered

_______

I am applying for Faculty of Law funding (available to students who can demonstrate financial need by checking one or more boxes in Section B)

_______

I am applying for firm funding (only available to 2L students who have accepted an offer at a participating law firm)

_______

I am not applying for funding from the Faculty or a firm

D.        IHRP Fellowship for which you are Applying

Please check off the fellowships for which you are applying.

_______

_______

_______

_______

UN Special Rapporteur on Housing (IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship)

Code Blue (IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship) 

Human Rights Watch (IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship)

UNHCR Thailand (IHRP-Facilitated Competitive Fellowship)

E.         General Statement of Interest in International Human Rights and/or Public Interest Law and Related Skills

In no more than 250 words, please provide a description of your interest in international human rights or public interest law, and any related skills (language, work in high pressure environment, organizational development etc.). 

Please include information regarding any particular substantive interest (i.e. women’s human rights, humanitarian law, children’s rights, economic and social rights etc.) and/or past related experience (i.e. past employment, volunteer positions, courses, extra-curricular activities, publications etc.). 

If you have not yet had the opportunity to demonstrate your interest in international human rights, please explain what factors informed your decision to apply for this fellowship. 

F.         Current Courses and Transcript

Please list all courses that you will be taking during the current academic year.  If you are an upper year student, please attach your transcript.

G.        Short Biographical Paragraph

Students are required to submit a brief biographical paragraph that outlines their educational background, relevant work or volunteer experience, and related skills or interest.


 

Appendix D: Sample Email to Prospective Host Organization

* This is a sample email that can be used as a template when contacting potential host organizations to explore the possibility of a summer fellowship.  You are by no means required to use this email, and can modify it as you see fit.  The key is to appear professional and like you did your homework.  This should not look like a form letter that you have sent to a number of different organizations!

You should address the email to a specific person (i.e. fellowship coordinator, Executive Director, staff lawyer etc.), and avoid sending it to a general mailbox. 

Dear [NAME OF RECIPIENT – AVOID “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN”]:

I am a [YEAR]-year law student at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in Toronto, Canada.  I am very interested in completing an fellowship at [FULL NAME OF ORGANIZATION] during the summer of 2018, and am writing to explore the possibility of that with you.  Indeed, if you are interested in hosting me as an fellow, I may be able to obtain funding to support my fellowship through the Faculty’s International Human Rights Program (“IHRP”).

The IHRP enhances the legal protection of existing and emerging international human rights through advocacy, knowledge-exchange, and capacity-building initiatives that provide experiential learning opportunities for students and legal expertise to civil society.  Through its summer fellowship program, the IHRP transforms Canadian law students into global citizens by providing formative experiences at a pivotal point in their careers.  The IHRP has been sending fellows into the field for 30 years.   [Indeed, I understand that you hosted an IHRP fellow in YEAR: NAME OF FELLOW].  You can learn more about the IHRP and past fellowship placements by visiting the IHRP website or contacting the Director, Samer Muscati at s.muscati@utoronto.ca

I am confident that I would contribute positively to your organization for the following reasons.  [PROVIDE OUTLINE OF YOUR PAST EXPERIENCES, SKILLS, EXPERIENCE AND LINK THIS DIRECTLY TO THE ORGANIZATION’S WORK].  Please find attached my curriculum vitae, which provides additional information about my experience and background. 

I look forward to hearing from you about the possibility of interning at [NAME OF ORGANIZATION].  Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss further or if you require additional information.  I can be reached via email or by telephone at [ADD NUMBER – INCLUDE INTERNATIONAL AREA CODE IF NECESSARY].  I understand that you must be very busy; therefore, if I do not hear from you within two weeks, I will follow up once more.  Also, please feel free to forward my email to you colleagues in the event that someone else at the organization may be better able to assist me.

Sincerely,

 

[YOUR FULL NAME]

 

J.D. Candidate, Expected 20[XX]

 



* Note that, until 2015, these experiences were referred to as “internships.”  We have decided to refer to them as “fellowships” going forward as this more accurately reflects the substantive nature of these experiences and the underlying access to justice mandate of the program.

[1] For students who are graduating (or recently graduated) and interested in international human rights work, please consider the following:

 

·          Human Rights Advocates Program at Columbia University

·          IDRC Fellowships (must be enrolled in a graduate program, i.e. LLM or SJD)

·          Law Foundation of Ontario Public Interest Articling Fellowship