Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellowship for Organizing and Activism

Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellowship for Organizing and Activism

"If man has been able to create the arts, the sciences and the material civilization we know in America, why should he be judged powerless to create justice, fraternity and peace?"
- Ladis Kristof

The 2014 Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellowship has been awarded to Aquib Yacoob. Mr. Yacoob is a senior at Colby College, where he has continued his movement-building efforts that began in high school. He has served as a Student Activist Coordinator, represented the Northeast Region on the National Youth Action Committee, and helped to develop and drive campaigns ranging from closing Guantanamo to freeing Prisoners of Conscience to fighting for racial justice in the United States. He has been an incredible leader for the human rights and social justice movement, and has taken his activism to the next level as the 2014 Ladis Kristof Fellow!

Apply Now!

The 2015 Application Process is now open. Scroll down to see Desired Qualities of Candidates, Eligibility Requirements, and How to Apply. Hurry, the application deadline is January 30, 2015!

Background Information

Ladis Kristof was an East European refugee who fled to the West after World War II. He was a founding member of the Portland, Oregon Amnesty group and a Professor of Political Science at Portland State University who believed that we each have the power to transform ourselves and our society. His faith in humankind's "ability to recover from lapses" and "climb to higher level of...achievement" - maintained despite a personal history of loss, imprisonment and exile - is the same faith that underlies Amnesty International's mission to harness the power of collective action to ensure justice and freedom for all people. Ladis Kristof's personal generosity and determination inspired many: family and friends, colleagues and students, and the human rights activists of Amnesty International USA's Portland, Oregon Local Group #48.
Amnesty International USA is proud to strengthen and expand Ladis Kristof's legacy and honor his lifelong commitment to human rights by joining the Kristof family in supporting the Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellowship for Organizing and Activism, a fellowship to honor and inspire a new generation of human rights defenders.


Past Fellows Include:

2011 - Latif Hamzah (University of Michigan-Dearborn)
2012 - Stacy Suh (University of California, Berkeley)
2013 - Mbaluka Michael Mutinda (Stephen F. Austin State University)
2014 - Aquib Yacoob (Colby College)

Fellowship Description

One exceptional Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) student activist will receive the Kristof Fellowship for his or her outstanding efforts on behalf of human rights. The Fellow will be awarded an ten-week residency with an AIUSA Regional Field Organizer with whom she or he will work closely on individual cases, human rights crises, and grassroots organizing and campaigning at the regional and national level. The Fellowship will promote a deeper understanding of human rights work, strengthen the Fellow’s organizing and advocacy skills, and further prepare her or him to be an effective life-long activist. The Kristof Fellow will work out of either the New York or DC office based on the best possible match between their interests and skillset and the organizing needs identified national field team.

The Fellow's residency expenses for the ten-week period, including airfare to and from the New York or DC office, will be covered by a $4,500 stipend.

The Fellow will join dynamic, in-progress efforts on all priority bodies of work, building knowledge of domestic and international human rights issues and learning the channels and practices by which Amnesty International delivers much-needed public and governmental scrutiny to end suffering and violation of human rights. The Fellow will also be provided travel to AIUSA's 2015 Annual General Meeting in Brooklyn, where her or his efforts and achievements will be formally honored in Ladis Kristof's name.


Support this work by making a donation to the Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellowship.

Desired Qualities of Candidates

Candidates for the Kristof Fellowship should be individuals who have shown a strong track record of activism and who promise a lifelong engagement with the work and principles central to Ladis Kristof, the Kristof family, Amnesty International and the human rights movement. Consistency and persistence in human rights work, such as sustained work on behalf of a prisoner of conscience, steadfast campaigning on a particular human rights issue, or building up a group or region over a substantial period of time, will be valued over successful one-time events. Candidates must embody the Kristof belief in a long-term view of human rights work in which progress occurs through courage and determination even, and especially, in the face of continuing adversity.

The Fellowship will be awarded to a leader for the next generation of human rights activists and someone who will display the tenacity and deep passion for justice required to make human rights a guiding principle rather than a passing interest. Potential Kristof Fellows will provide in their application an overview of their existing work with AIUSA, but the applicant’s record of commitment to organizing and activism and desire to further develop these skills will take highest priority in the selection process.

Eligibility Requirements

AIUSA student activists from any field of study are invited and encouraged to apply. Amnesty International is an equal opportunity employer and organization, committed to diversity. Applicants representing under-represented groups are encouraged to apply.

In order to be eligible for the Kristof Fellowship, applicants must meet the following requirements:

-Be enrolled as an undergraduate student as of May 1, 2015 OR a graduating high school senior at least 18 years of age by May 1, 2015;
-Have been active with an AIUSA Local or Student Group for at least one year at the time of application;
-Be able to complete a ten-week summer residency at an AIUSA Office
-Be able to attend the AIUSA Annual General Meeting March 20-22, 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.

How to Apply

To be considered for the Kristof Fellowship, applicants should submit the following materials by January 30, 2015. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

1.Cover letter explaining the applicant’s experience, qualifications, and interest in the fellowship.
2.Resume outlining all relevant experience (academic, volunteer, or other).
3.Personal statement (not to exceed two pages) identifying the human rights issue(s) and bodies of work, including organizing and activism skills, the applicant is most interested in exploring during the fellowship. Include how or why the applicant is interested in these areas.
4. Two letters of recommendation. At least one of the letters must be from an AIUSA staff member, faculty advisor, or member leader (i.e. an Area Coordinator, Student Activist Coordinator, Country Specialist, etc). The second letter can be from anyone familiar with the applicant’s experience and character.

All materials can be submitted electronically to by 5:00pm PST on January 30, 2015.


January 30, 2015           Applications are due by 5:00pm PST
February 6, 2015            Finalists will be contacted to schedule a telephone interview with the Selection Committee
February 27, 2015          Ladis Kristof Fellowship winner will be notified
March 20-22, 2015             Fellowship award will be presented at the Annual General Meeting in Brooklyn
Summer 2015                Fellowship will be carried out in either Amnesty’s New York or DC office

Our Gratitude

Our deep appreciation goes to the Kristof family for their generous support of this Fellowship and for their commitment to inspiring a new generation of human rights activists. Whether you wish to make a gift that will honor Ladis's legacy or that will inspire the next generation of activists, you may send your donation to:

Amnesty International USA
ATTN: Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellowship
5 Penn Plaza, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10001