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.

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 Grassroots Leadership and Engagement (or equivalent) unit at AIUSA. The Kristof Fellow may work remotely anywhere in the United States, or may work out of one of AIUSA’s offices in New York or Washington, DC. Note that Covid-19 vaccination requirements exist for work in AIUSA offices.

The Fellow’s will receive a $8,500 stipend, which is intended to cover airfare and residency expenses for the ten-week period in the office city if they are working in person; the stipend is also received if they choose to work remotely. 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. While Fellows may work in a variety of areas over the course of their ten-week fellowship, their work will be focused within the Youth & Student Program and will advance a project within the organizational youth strategy.

Essential Responsibilities

  • The Fellow will work closely on a project around a priority area of work determined in collaboration with staff.
  • 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.

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. Candidates must be currently involved with AIUSA as student activists.

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

Applicants must be currently involved with AIUSA as student activists. In addition, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled as an undergraduate student as of April 1, 2024 or a graduating high school senior at least 18 years of age by May 1, 2024.
  • Be able to complete a ten-week summer residency at the AIUSA Washington, DC office or remotely from your home anywhere in the United States.

AIUSA is deeply committed to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (“IDEA”) for all. We strive for this in our human rights advocacy work and our workplace culture and practices. AIUSA is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

How to Apply

Applications are now open – apply by February 21, 2024!

To be considered for the Kristof Fellowship, applicants should submit the following materials by February 21, 2024. Incomplete applications will not be considered. The online application should be completed, including the following:

  • Resume outlining relevant experience (max 2 pages)
  • Cover letter including the following (max 1 page):
    • Why you are interested in the Kristof fellowship, including your desire to build skills related to organizing and activism
    • How this fellowship would be a progression of your activism with AIUSA

Please contact Sara Goldschmidt, [email protected], with any questions about the 2024 Kristof Fellowship.

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