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)

2019 – Ellie Henze (Ohio State University)

Fellowship Description

One exceptional AIUSA student activist will receive the Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellowship for their outstanding 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 area of work 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 organizing skills, and further prepare them to be an effective life-long activist. The Kristof Fellow will work out of one of AIUSA’s field-based offices.

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 AIUSA’s 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 human rights violations.

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

Desired Qualities of Candidates

Candidates for the Ladis Kristof Memorial Fellowship are individuals who have shown a strong track record of activism 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 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 April 1, 2020 or a graduating high school senior at least 18 years of age by May 1, 2020. **Please note: If your school has closed due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) but you would otherwise be enrolled, you are still eligible to apply.
  • Be able to complete a ten-week summer residency at the AIUSA office. Travel to and from the selected city is covered by AIUSA. **Please note: Due to COVID-19, all AIUSA staff are currently working from home. If this continues throughout the summer, the fellow will be in a remote fellowship.

How to Apply

The 2020 application is now open!

  1. Apply online
  2. In the application form, upload a resume.
  3. In the same form, you will have the opportunity to “Upload Cover Letter and Supporting Documents”. A cover letter is not required for this role; rather, upload a PDF document with answers to the following questions:

    • Why are you interested in the Kristof Fellowship? What skills and experiences have prepared you for success in this role, and how does this role fit into your next steps professionally and personally? (250-300 word)
    • Review the 2019-2021 AIUSA Youth Strategy. In a separate document, write a proposal for a project that would advance the AIUSA Youth Strategy. What’s something we could do to bring new people into our work? What’s a project that could increase youth leadership in our core campaign and program work? What steps could we take to increase youth engagement in internal decision-making at AIUSA? Your idea can address any aspect of the youth strategy. The project should be designed to advance the goals and objectives of the Youth Strategy, be possible to completed within 8-10 weeks, and grounded in AIUSA’s theory of change and organizing model. The proposal can be presented in any format (written, visual, etc.) but should not exceed one page. The proposal should include a short project plan. A project plan is the roadmap for turning an idea into reality. When writing your plan, consider what you are trying to achieve with your project – can you get more specific? For example, the current Social Media team is working to increase engagement with AIUSA student groups on three social media platforms; this is more specific than just “building youth social media accounts”. Who are the key stakeholders for your project? Who might oppose the project? What external factors could influence your project (i.e. risks or opportunities)?



April 12, 2020 – Applications are due by 11:59pm EST
April 15, 2020 – Finalists will be contacted to schedule a video interview
May 1, 2020 – Fellowship offer made
June-August 2020 – 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 Goldschmidt 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
311 W 43rd Street, 7th Floor New York, NY 10036