The Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights was established in 1998 by a generous grant from the Oak Foundation. Each year, it hosts an Oak Human Rights Fellow to teach and conduct research while residing at the College. The Institute organizes lectures and other events centered around the fellow’s area of expertise.

The purpose of the fellowship is to offer an opportunity for one prominent practitioner in international human rights to take a sabbatical leave from front-line work to spend the fall semester (September-December) in residence at Colby. This provides the Fellow time for respite, reflection, research, and writing. While all human rights practitioners are eligible, we especially encourage applications from those who are currently or were recently involved in “on-the-ground” work at some level of personal risk. Following the period of the fellowship, the fellow is expected to return home to continue her/his human rights work.

The deadline for the 2017 Oak Human Rights Fellowship for Filmmakers and Photographers has passed. Contact us or click here for a decision timeline.

Oak Institute’s Mission Statement

The Oak Institute for the Study of International Human Rights champions the struggles for dignity, freedom and justice for people throughout the world. It provides the opportunity for a front-line human rights activist operating in difficult or dangerous circumstances to come to Colby College every fall for respite and reflection. Oak strives to educate the campus and extended community about the work being done by our Fellow.  It also encourages members of the community, especially students, to participate in research, internships and activism on behalf of human rights.

Khartoon exhibition by artist Khalid Albaih at The Edge of Arabia space, London.Khalid Albaih: 2016 Oak Fellow

The Oak Institute is pleased to announce the selection of Khalid Albaih of Sudan as our 2016 Oak Fellow. Albaih uses his daring, often biting cartoons to champion freedom of expression and democracy in the Arab world, while criticizing Western Islamophobia and U.S. practices including torture and drone attacks. Learn more >>>

Learn More

  • For more information on the 2016 Oak Fellowship, please see our Brochure
  • Learn about our 2016 Oak Fellow
  • Learn more about our previous Oak Fellows
  • Get to know our Staff
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