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The Humanity in Action Democracy Fellowship

Young leaders shaping democracy and community-building through their approaches to political and societal challenges.

The Humanity in Action Democracy Fellowship supports diverse changemakers in unpacking and addressing historic and contemporary systems of inequity. The 2023/24 cohort brings together 16 Fellows to realize project ideas around the theme of democracy and the politics of memory.

three women smiling and chatting with each other

Landecker Fellows and staff during the 2023 Action Academy in Krakow, Poland

The Fellowship

Humanity in Action launched the Fellowship in 2020, originally in partnership with the Alfred Landecker Foundation, as the Landecker Democracy Fellowship. In 2024, the program transitioned to become the Humanity in Action Democracy Fellowship. Annually, the Fellowship brings together a group of diverse leaders from the European Union, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States who spend one year creating projects that reinvent democratic spaces. Each year, the Fellowship focuses on a different set of democratic challenges. The first year of the Fellowship focused on democracy in the times of COVID-19, while the second cohort’s projects centered on the theme of social cohesion. The third cohort’s projects in 2023 focused on tackling the challenges facing democracy in the digital age. Our Fellows build community and maintain close ties to the Humanity in Action alumni network beyond their Fellowship. 

The Objective

Our goal for this Fellowship is to build a new generation of leaders who shape democracy and community-building through their approaches to political and societal challenges. We support them in their efforts to bring about societal change and to strengthen democracy. Our Fellows plan, design, and implement civic engagement projects in public spaces both on- and offline, in local, national, regional, or international settings. By fostering strong partnerships, our intention is for our Fellows to develop a meaningful and sustained impact in society.

The Fellows

Our Democracy Fellows are young professionals with demonstrated leadership experience. They commit to actively shaping their communities and democracy at large alongside their other life commitments. Our Fellows have the motivation, vision, experience, and networks it takes to shape society. This program is made for them to use these skills to create tangible action. Our Fellows come from diverse backgrounds including, but not limited to politics, business, the arts, activism, tech, community organizing, and academia. Fellows have vastly different identities and ideas, but share democratic values. They are collaborative, passionate, hands-on, and empathic. They feel responsible for facilitating societal change and want a framework to make this possible. Born in or after 1980, they are based in the European Union, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. By designing and implementing a civic project that has a publicly visible and tangible impact, our Fellows serve as inspirations for other Millennials who struggle to believe in their power to create change.

The Program

Over the course of the Fellowship year, Fellows design and implement their projects. Humanity in Action provides guidance, programming, and supervision through a virtual and on-site training and community building program throughout the year. Fellows draw upon their existing networks and the new connections they make to implement their projects. In the process, they build a unique and supportive community of changemakers.

The Projects

The common denominator of our Fellows’ projects is that they all center on the theme of democracy and politics of memory. The way we remember and construct our past informs our identity, decision-making, and perspective. It shapes who we are, how we interpret where we come from, and the values that define us. But history has never been apolitical, and recently, it’s been increasingly weaponized. In some countries, memory is not a closed chapter.

Some of the questions we may engage with during the Fellowship include:

  • Who gets to decide what is remembered and what is forgotten?
  • How do different societies deal with past crimes or post-colonial questions?
  • How do experiences of war and genocide change the equation?
  • What role do history and memory play in accountability processes?
  • How are historical narratives used to impact present-day political discourses and decision-making processes?
  • How do the politics of memory change current political landscapes?

Together and individually, our Fellows explore an array of complex questions, develop responses, and implement tangible actions that reach broad audiences. Project implementation takes place in the European Union, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, or the United States.

The Support

As part of the program, each Democracy Fellow receives a stipend of a total of 10,000 Euro (paid out in monthly installments). Additionally, they receive up to 5,000 Euro in seed funding for the implementation of their project idea. All training expenses are covered, as are travel and accommodation costs for the in-person Action Academy.

group of eight individuals standing and smiling

Landecker Fellows during the 2023 Action Academy in Krakow, Poland

Our Values

We at Humanity in Action believe that an important test of a genuine democracy is how it advances social equity and pluralism. We bring carefully selected students, young professionals, and established leaders of diverse backgrounds to the same tables and collectively look at the histories behind contemporary social justice headlines to develop responses to today’s challenges. We strengthen the commitment of our community to democratic values and foster Fellows’ knowledge around past and present human rights challenges. We intend to inspire civic engagement and connect an ever-growing international community committed to strengthening democracy, human rights, and pluralism.

Our Community

The Humanity in Action Network is comprised of 3,000 Humanity in Action Fellows and Senior Fellows who are deeply committed to social justice all around the globe. Our alumni are the vibrant heart of the organization. Beyond their Fellowship involvements, they remain engaged with each other and the Humanity in Action teams. To advance our common mission, we offer tailored educational, professional, or entrepreneurial opportunities to them.