The 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

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 AIUSA’s Portland, Oregon Local Group #48.

AIUSA is proud to strengthen and expand Ladis Kristof’s legacy and honor his lifelong commitment to human rights by partnering with the Kristof family on the the Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellowship for Human Rights Advocacy, 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)
2015 – Gerry Carolina Rivadeneira (Mount Holyoke College)
2016 – Oliver Hidalgo-Wohlleben (University of Iowa)
2017 – Shikha Chandarana (Brandeis University)
2018 – Amal Rass (Wayne State University) and Lilián Sánchez (University of Iowa)

Fellowship Description

One exceptional AIUSA student activist will receive the Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellowship for their outstanding efforts efforts on behalf of human rights, and will be awarded a ten-week residency with the Organizing and Activism Unit. The Fellow will work closely to develop a project around a priority campaign and help strengthen member communications at the regional and national level. The Fellowship will promote a deeper understanding of human rights work, strengthen the Fellow’s advocacy skills, and further prepare them to be an effective life-long activist. The Kristof Fellow will work out of the Oakland, CA or Boston, MA office.

The Fellow’s residency expenses for the ten-week period, including airfare to and from the Oakland office, will be covered by a $8,500 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 violations of human rights. The Fellow will also be provided travel to AIUSA’s 2019 Annual General Meeting in Chicago, IL, where AIUSA will announce the awardee and the Fellow 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 Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellowship should be individuals who have shown a strong track record of advocacy and intend to cultivate a life-long 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. The potential Fellow 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 human rights leaders 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, 2019 or a graduating high school senior at least 18 years of age by May 1, 2019.
  • Be able to complete a ten-week summer residency at the AIUSA office in Oakland, CA or Boston, MA.
  • Be able to attend the AIUSA Annual General Meeting in Chicago, IL (March 1-3, 2019).

How to Apply

The 2019 selection process has ended. Please watch for the 2020 application toward the end of 2019.

  1. Apply Online
  2. Cover letter explaining the applicant’s experience, qualifications, and interest in the fellowship
  3. Resume outlining all relevant experience (academic, volunteer, or other).
  4. Personal statement (not to exceed 750 words) that includes why the applicant is interested in the fellowship, what advocacy and activism skills the applicant hopes to learn/expand \upon, and in which ways this fellowship will help fulfill the legacy of Ladis Kristof.
  5. One letter of recommendation from an AIUSA staff member, faculty advisor, or member leader (i.e. an Area Coordinator, Student Activist Coordinator, Country Specialist, etc).


February 1, 2019 – Applications are due by 8:00pm EST
February 3, 2019 – Finalists will be contacted to schedule a video interview
February 13, 2019 – Fellowship offer made
March 1-3, 2019 – Fellowship award will be presented at the Annual General Meeting in Washington, DC
June-August 2018 – Fellowship will be carried out in the Amnesty International USA office in Oakland, CA or Boston, MA

Please find the Application here

For questions, please contact Sara Schmidt at [email protected].

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


Because you ❤️ human rights