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Theory of Change

Join us in educating, connecting, and inspiring emerging and established leaders.

We envision a future grounded in pluralistic societies, where communities negotiate and embrace differences through constructive political, social, and personal dialogue and relationships.

What makes a Fellow?

We build this future by educating and supporting emerging and established leaders who, through their actions, exemplify their commitment to equity, human rights, social justice, and inclusive democracy.

We achieve our goals through immersive fellowships at the intersection of advocacy, policy, and academia followed by strategic opportunities for education, networking, and engagement that enable our community to drive change.

We create connection and belonging while introducing new perspectives and opening space for dialogue, discussion, and disagreement. To catalyze systemic change, we equip and inspire our multinational and intergenerational community to take actions that uphold these values throughout their lives and careers.

Our mission is to:

  • Educate on past and present human rights challenges through critical historical analysis as well as contemporary inquiries and cross-cultural dialogue while developing essential skills to affect change.
  • Connect an ever-growing international community committed to strengthening democracy, human rights, and pluralism.
  • Inspire civic engagement for advancing social equity, responsibility, and justice.

 

Our impact is our people, and through their efforts we see the future that we envision.

  • Our alumni work at all levels of government; they lead nonprofits and advocacy organizations; they are doctors, lawyers, and philanthropists; they provide intellectual leadership at academic institutions; they are artists and scientists; and they are vocal activists for change.
  • They give back to Humanity in Action, as staff, board members, mentors, and fellowship contributors.
  • Utilizing the approaches, perspectives, and skills they learned through their fellowships and continue to hone through their ongoing involvement with our community, they exemplify informed, strategic, and empathetic leadership in both their professional and community roles.

We see our impact through the leadership and actions taken by our alumni within their communities, using the awareness and skills gained through our programs and network.

 

Context: Past and Present

The core tenet of Humanity in Action’s educational programming is learning from historical contexts to meet today’s challenges. Our fellowships are grounded in what history can teach us about responding to threats against vulnerable populations and communities, and how we can use those lessons to build and support inclusive societies.  

Humanity in Action was founded in 1997 with a focus on the 1943 flight and rescue of the Jews in Denmark during the Holocaust.

Humanity in Action was founded in 1997 with a focus on the 1943 flight and rescue of the Jews in Denmark during the Holocaust. The rescue exemplifies collective resistance in the face of great danger and was also a powerful lesson in how individuals can take meaningful action within their own communities and spheres of influence. It is that lesson that inspires Humanity in Action.  

Since our founding, the organization’s scope has grown conceptually, intellectually, and geographically. Our unique programs in Europe and the United States allow Fellows to learn about specific human rights challenges of the past and present, including peacebuilding and transitional justice, the legacies of slavery and colonialism, and resistance against far-right movements within democracies. These inquiries allow our Fellows to identify themes and throughlines to understand how to catalyze meaningful action. 

Critical to our approach is a deep sense of connection and belonging, instilling in our Fellows the importance of humanizing those with whom they disagree, understanding the value of skillfully navigating conflict, and identifying shared values amidst cultural and national differences.

We intentionally and thoughtfully pull Fellows out of their comfort zones to engage with new communities, voices, and perspectives they might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn with and from. Critical to our approach is a deep sense of connection and belonging, instilling in our Fellows the importance of humanizing those with whom they disagree, understanding the value of skillfully navigating conflict, and identifying shared values amidst cultural and national differences. Our Fellows learn and practice the interpersonal skills and approaches that are essential to societal transformation.

Through their Action Projects, our Fellows apply the knowledge, perspective, and skills they have gained to a civic initiative of their own design and choosing that demonstrates their commitment to social justice, human rights, and inclusive democracy. The process of designing and implementing these projects serves as additional training to help our Fellows take their next steps on their changemaking journeys. It is also their first opportunity to engage the support of our offices, staff, and alumni in developing both their projects and professional skills, as they join our multinational and intergenerational community.

Our Fellows leave our programs with a deeper understanding of the challenges facing our society, our democracies, and our communities; the ability to identify where and how they can influence change; an understanding of coalition building, mutual aid, and effective advocacy; and the inspiration and support to take meaningful action.

Using the lessons learned both within the Fellowship and during the completion of their Action Projects, our Fellows develop vital knowledge, connections, and skills that they carry forward into the rest of their lives.

The mission of Humanity in Action is critical and urgent. Our programs engage with:

  • The polarization and fractures in society that threaten social cohesion
  • Anti-democratic forces, extremism, violence, and the manipulation of truth
  • Inequities and discrimination against marginalized and minoritized populations 
  • Resistance to diversity, equity, inclusion, and restorative justice
  • Civic passivity and democratic apathy

 

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  • Theory of Change