Skip to content

The Berlin Fellowship


The Humanity in Action journey begins with a rich summer experience of inquiry, debate, and community building rooted in trust and empathy.


Photo: ©Sharon Nathan, 2022 European Fellow

Accepting Applicants from:

June 5 – 23, 2023 | in-person Fellowship*


In 2023, our Berlin Fellowship will focus on Germany’s colonial past and its repercussions throughout the 20st century until today. 



Photo: ©Sharon Nathan, 2022 European Fellow


The colonial injustice and violence that the German Reich enforced on regions in Africa and Asia had a lasting impact for both the colonized and the colonizer. Yet the German colonial project has traditionally received little attention in the shadow of another dark chapter of the country’s history – the National Socialist regime, the Shoah, and the systemic terror that the Nazis inflicted on all those who did not fit into their ideology. Over the past decade, Germany’s role and involvement in European colonialism has received increasing attention. Widespread public knowledge however – especially about the historical connections between colonialism and the NS-Regime – is still lacking. Yet, colonial and imperial ideologies were not only crucial to the emergence of the modern German nation state, they also heavily influenced and conditioned the race theories promoted by the Nazis and their atrocious methods. 

Berlin was the center of the German Reich’s colonial empire. The convening of the notorious West Africa or “Berlin Conference” in 1884-85 marked Germany’s entry into formal colonial politics and inaugurated a period of heightened colonial expansion. The role of Berlin as a colonial metropolis had far reaching consequences and left lasting traces in the city. As a focal point of German colonialism, the Weimar Republic, National Socialism and the Cold War, Berlin therefore does not only carry enormous historical significance. It continues to be a pivotal point for contemporary social justice struggles including the accommodation of asylum seekers fleeing more recent atrocities. It hence offers a unique landscape to bridge past and present, and to learn for the future.

*Due to COVID-19, we reserve the right to modify or cancel the program for reasons beyond our control.

What to expect?


Photo: Courtesy of EVZ Foundation, 2022 European Fellowship Fellows


In the Fellowship, we will explore the ways in which colonial legacies play a central role for Germany’s national identity, social structure, and human rights realities. Why and how has this chapter of European and German history been silenced in the dominant discourses of remembrance? What does it mean to confront our past and present entanglements with colonial injustice? How is the way we remember the past connected with the many challenges our increasingly diverse democratic societies are facing, like Antisemitism, racism, hostility towards Muslims, trans- and homophobia, misogyny and other forms of discrimination? And how can we learn to counter group-focused hostility and protect democratic values?

Fellows from Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland and the US will gather in Berlin to explore these questions. The daily program holds space for guest lectures and workshops, site visits, group discussions, reflections, and community building – as well as what each individual Fellow brings. Past Fellows have described it as an intense, challenging, and rewarding journey of personal and collective growth, meaningful connections, and collaboration across difference.

*Due to COVID-19, we reserve the right to modify or cancel the program for reasons beyond our control.

One thing that the Fellowship gave me is the confidence of stepping into a new group with trust, knowing that beautiful thoughts and friendships will come out of it and that you form the best thoughts together with other people.”


Zaza van de Koppel, 2022 European Fellowship in Berlin and Amsterdam

The Structure

  1. The International Program | June 5 and 6, 2023 (virtual)
    We will virtually join the entire international 2023 Human in Action cohort of about 100 Fellows to discuss community building, relevant human rights issues and courses for civil engagement.
  2. The Berlin Fellowship | June 8 – 23, 2023 (in-person in Berlin, Germany)
    About 20 Fellows from Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland and the US will gather in Berlin to learn from local experts, community members, and each other. 
  3. Action Projects and Action Project Lab Series | August 2023 – May 2024 (virtual)
    From September 2023 to May 2024,  Fellows work on their independent Action Project. They meet virtually for the Action Project Lab Series, an online training program designed to assist Fellows implement their projects and to keep in touch with the community.

Photo: ©Sharon Nathan, 2022 European Fellow

Recent Fellowship Speakers

Every day, Berlin Fellows meet and discuss with established activists, artists, community members, and policymakers with diverse perspectives on social justice and human rights.

Inside the Fellowship via Facebook Livestream

Will Germans be able to integrate into this society? Check out our past campaign here.



2018 Campaign

Our Supporters for the Berlin Fellowship 2023

We thank the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung for their generous support.

Our Fellowship Supporters in the past included

We thank our supporters and partners, hosts, Senior Fellows and friends of Humanity in Action. Your contributions helped to prepare outstanding students for a lifelong commitment to civic responsibility and social justice.

Become a Fellow

Every year, new Humanity in Action Fellows come together in five cities across Europe and the United States to study how and why people confront intolerance and protect democratic values.

01 Year duration

05 Locations

93 Fellows per year