AJWS Global Justice Fellowship: FAQ

  • San Francisco Fellows
  • Rabbinic and Graduate Student Banner 2015
  • Los Angeles Leaders 2014
  • Global Justice Fellowship: New York Area Young Leaders
  • Chicago Fellows
  • AJWS Global Justice Fellowship for New York Metro Area Leaders 2015
  • 08.13 Rabbinic Fellowship
  • 05.13 LA Cohort


What is the AJWS Global Justice Fellowship?

The AJWS Global Justice Fellowship is a selective year-long program designed to inspire, educate, train and empower key leaders in the American Jewish community to become activist leaders in support of global justice. The fellowship includes organizing and advocacy skills training; an 8-10 day immersive experience in the developing world to learn from extraordinary human rights activists; and support in organizing your communities to advocate for global social justice issues, specifically the rights of women, girls and LGBT people. Fellows will join a strong core of leaders in the U.S. already dedicated to advocating for human rights and ending poverty in the developing world.

How does the Global Justice Fellowship support AJWS’s mission?

AJWS is the leading Jewish organization working to promote human rights and end poverty in the developing world. We pursue lasting change by supporting grassroots and global human rights organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and by mobilizing our community in the U.S. to advocate for global justice. The fellowship empowers American Jews to become leaders in our campaign for global justice, called the We Believe campaign.

What is the We Believe campaign and what is the Global Justice Fellowship’s role in it?

We Believe, AJWS’s national advocacy campaign, calls on the U.S. government to do three things to promote human rights in the developing world: 1) End violence against women and girls; 2) Stop hate crimes against LGBT people; and 3) Empower girls to end child marriage.

We Believe is inspired by AJWS’s core belief in dignity and human rights for all, rooted in the Jewish commitment to justice. By advocating for U.S. policies that improve the lives of people in the developing world, We Believe works to accomplish the same goals as those of the hundreds of grassroots and global human rights organizations that AJWS supports in the developing world.

Global Justice Fellows are trained and empowered to become leaders in the We Believe campaign by organizing their communities to advocate for U.S. policies that improve the lives of people in the developing world.

More information on AJWS’s We Believe campaign can be found at webelieve.ajws.org.


How much does the program cost and where do those fees go?

The AJWS Global Justice Fellowship is heavily subsidized by AJWS and several generous donors, enabling us to offer this opportunity at a minimal cost. Fellows pay a one-time fellowship fee of $180 – $540 (on a sliding scale based on financial ability) and are additionally responsible for paying for visas, vaccinations, medications and health/travel insurance. All other fellowship expenses—including international and domestic travel and all supplies and programs—are covered as a benefit of the fellowship.

The following list outlines the entire cost of the program:

Expenses paid by AJWS and subsidized by our donors:

  • International flight, accommodations, group meals and activities during international travel component
  • Domestic flights, accommodations, group meals and activities for U.S.-based engagement events/trainings
  • Programmatic costs (e.g. AJWS curriculum, group medical supplies, trainings, etc.)
Expenses paid by fellows:
  • $250 – $750 (based on sliding scale)
  • Visas for international travel
  • Vaccinations or other medical expenses related to international travel
  • Health insurance (all fellows must have international/travelers’ insurance)
  • Food during free time on program and outside of group meals (these expenses are minimal; we recommend bringing approximately $50 for such costs during international travel).

Why is there a sliding scale for the program fee?

The sliding scale of $180 – $540 is based on financial ability. We do not want financial constraints to be the limiting factor of anyone’s participation in the Global Justice Fellowship. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your financial situation further.

Is there a stipend provided to fellows?

There is no stipend provided. While many fellowships are a full-time commitment and therefore provide a living stipend, the AJWS Global Justice Fellowship allows individuals to participate while continuing their full-time professions or student commitments.

Eligibility and Selection

Who is eligible for the AJWS Global Justice Fellowship?

The fellowship is open to all Jewish adults in the United States who possess the potential to provide outstanding leadership to help shape the future of the American Jewish community’s commitment to global justice. AJWS does not discriminate based on denominational affiliation, gender, racial or ethnic origin, disability or sexual orientation.

AJWS is seeking particular qualifications for each fellowship group—in some cases geographic and in some cases professional. Please see the specific page for each group for more information.

For all fellowship groups, applicants must be able to participate in all components of the fellowship, including: all organizing and advocacy skills trainings, the entire 8-10 day experience in the developing world and regular meetings and campaign organizing events.

The ideal applicant:

  • Believes in AJWS’s mission to promote human rights and end poverty
  • Is interested in joining a community dedicated to global justice issues and working towards building a more just and equitable world
  • Has a strong desire to learn more about how U.S. citizens can impact global policies through advocacy, mobilizing and organizing
  • Is committed to organizing his or her own community and leading community members to take action to advocate for global justice issues
  • Demonstrates significant experience or potential as a community leader
  • Has the desire and disposition for responsible travel in the developing world

I don’t meet the particular qualifications for any fellowship group. When will there be a program for me?

AJWS is seeking particular qualifications for each fellowship group—in some cases geographic and in some cases professional. As the program develops, we may have groups with different qualifications to which you can apply. In the meantime, we’d love to involve you in AJWS’s We Believe campaign in other ways. Please contact us to share your interest so that we can talk about these opportunities.

Do I have to work in the Jewish community to be eligible?

No, you do not have to work in the Jewish community to be eligible. You only have to self-identify as Jewish.

Am I eligible if I participated in an AJWS travel or volunteer program in the past? Will this program be different?

Past participants of AJWS travel and volunteer programs are eligible to apply. While modeled after the core components and 10+ years of success of AJWS’s former service-learning programs, the Global Justice Fellowship is a distinctly different program. It has been designed to create more opportunities for fellows to develop concrete organizing and advocacy skills, in order to support their efforts to organize their communities to take action on global justice issues. It is a uniquely new experience even for alumni of past AJWS programs.

Are there any age requirements or restrictions to be eligible?

No, all applicants over the age of 18 are eligible to be fellows. Our fellowship groups generally represent a diverse range of ages.

What are the physical ability requirements to be eligible?

Applicants are required to have their physician complete a form certifying that they are medically able to participate in the international travel component of the program. While our goal is to ensure that any person, regardless of physical ability, is able to participate in the international travel component, unfortunately, the places we travel to often lack the infrastructure to meet every need. Please contact us if you have any specific needs you would like to discuss.

Am I eligible for the fellowship if I am only available for the international component of the program?

No. Applicants selected for the program must be able to commit to the entire year-long fellowship, including: all organizing and advocacy skills trainings, the entire 8-10 day experience in the developing world and regular meetings and campaign organizing events.

Am I eligible for the fellowship if I am not available for all trainings and regular meetings?

Applicants must be available for all required trainings, meetings and campaign organizing events. We expect fellows to commit 100% to attending all required components of the year-long fellowship.

Who are the other fellows? Will there be people like me?

We strive to create fellowship groups that are representative of the American Jewish community. Our groups tend to be diverse in gender, sexual orientation, age, Jewish observance and practice, denominational affiliation and occupation.

How many fellows will be accepted for each fellowship group?

We accept 15-18 fellows for each fellowship group.

Is there more than one fellowship group each year? How often will the fellowship take place?

AJWS will select 2-3 groups of fellows each year, including one national group of rabbinical and graduate students, one national group of rabbis or one geographically-organized group of established Jewish leaders in major U.S. cities.

How do I apply? What is the timeline for finding out if I have been accepted?

Please visit the page of the specific group to which you’re interested in applying. If the application is not yet online, you will see a note to indicate when the application will be made available. Applications are not considered on a rolling basis. We will consider all applications as soon as the application deadline ends. We will strive to inform applicants of their status within three weeks of the application deadline. On the rare occasions that the process takes slightly longer, we will inform applicants about the revised timeline.

Fellowship Structure and Requirements

When does the year-long program for each fellowship group start and end?

The start and end dates for each group are different. Please review the 2014-2015 program list or visit the page for the specific group you are interested in to find out its start and end dates.

What is the structure of the year-long fellowship program?

The AJWS Global Justice Fellowship consists of three programmatic phases that take place over the course of one year. Dates are approximate:

  • Months 1-6: Fellows will engage in a series of educational workshops—both virtual and in-person—to build community with their peers, set expectations for the year and learn about AJWS’s We Believe campaign. Fellows will be assigned background reading to learn about global justice issues, organizing and advocacy, and to prepare for international travel. Fellows will begin to engage in partner learning with one of their peers to discuss texts, films and other media that relate to these topics. Approximately 20-30 hours total.
  • International Travel: Fellows will participate in an immersive, 8-10 day experience in a community where AJWS works in the developing world. They will learn from AJWS grantees, engage with other local experts, explore the impact of U.S. policy on developing world communities, and train in activism and leadership skills.
  • Months 7-12: Fellows will engage in a series of workshops—both virtual and in-person—to develop their organizing and leadership skills, stay updated on AJWS’s We Believe campaign issues, and plan area events individually and with their fellowship group. Fellows will organize public speaking events, local lobby visits, fundraise and write articles and op-eds in order to mobilize their communities around AJWS’s We Believe campaign. Fellows will engage with AJWS’s activist network, known as the AJWS Action Team, in order to plan large-scale organizing events. Fellows will attend AJWS’s annual Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., to meet with decision-makers on Capitol Hill. Fellows will also continue to engage in partner learning with one of their peers to discuss texts, films and other media that relate to AJWS’s campaign issues. Fellows will meet as a group throughout this period to reflect on and support each other’s organizing work.

What are fellows required to do?

Fellows must attend all components of the fellowship, including: all organizing and advocacy skills trainings, the entire 8-10 experience in the developing world, regular Global Justice Fellowship meetings and help with AJWS campaign organizing efforts. These campaign organizing efforts may include, and are certainly not limited to, the following: hosting events to organize and mobilize their communities (e.g. speaking events, house parties, film viewings, etc.), fundraising for AJWS, writing articles and op-eds, organizing their community members to lobby local representatives and organizing petition-signing drives.

What happens after the fellowship is over?

After the fellowship year, fellows will remain key members of AJWS’s Action Team. With support from AJWS staff and through ongoing activism and leadership in AJWS’s campaigns, fellows will continue to build their skills and leverage their experiences to help strengthen and build our movement for global justice. Fellows will also continue to serve as AJWS ambassadors to their communities and will be encouraged to take a leadership role in recruiting new fellows.

Tell me more about action teams. What are they and can I be both a global justice fellow and an action team member?

Action teams make up AJWS’s activist network. Currently, there are action teams in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. As our base grows, we will start action teams in other cities across the U.S. If there isn’t yet an action team in your community, you can participate in AJWS’s national activist network. Action team members are on the frontlines of AJWS’s We Believe campaign. They meet regularly to strategize and they organize their local communities to engage decision-makers in supporting AJWS’s policy change agenda.

Many people participate both as fellows and as action team members. Even if you weren’t previously a member of the action team, during the Global Justice Fellowship fellows work closely with action teams to strategize and plan local events and participate in skill-building and educational workshops. At the conclusion of the fellowship, the action team is the ideal way for fellows to continue to strengthen their organizing and leadership skills and to find support in organizing their communities around global justice issues.

International Travel

Who is the staff for the international component of the fellowship?

Each fellowship group travels with AJWS staff and facilitators who have significant experience travelling and working in the country of travel and/or facilitating group experiences. Fellows are often joined by AJWS staff and consultants who work full-time in the country of travel.

When does the international component of the fellowship take place?

The dates of the international component are different for each group. Please visit the page for the specific group you are interested in to find out the travel dates for that group, along with all other required program dates.

What do I need to do to prepare to travel internationally?

Once you are accepted to the fellowship, AJWS staff will guide you through the steps you need to take in order to be ready to travel internationally. This includes support in applying for and obtaining entry visas, vaccinations, health insurance and airline tickets.

What are the risks of traveling internationally? What precautions does AJWS take to ensure that we will have a safe experience?

Safety is our first priority. While there are always risks when travelling, we are committed to mitigating these risks as much as possible through preparation and smart planning.

AJWS has significant experience running programs in the developing world; over 4,000 people have travelled with us! Prior to travel, we conduct a full risk assessment of the places where the group will visit. Staff who are travelling with the group are trained extensively in risk mitigation and advanced first aid. The group travels with a full medical kit and communications equipment. We also work closely with several external agencies that specialize in risk mitigation and emergency response, both to prepare for travel and to get extra support should we need any. Fellows will also participate in a safety and security workshop to prepare them for safe travel. Throughout the international travel component, our headquarters staff is in constant communication with the group and is available 24/7 to assist in emergency situations. We provide an emergency number to friends and family in the U.S. so they can reach the group in case of an emergency situation at home.

Dietary Needs and Shabbat Observance

What kind of food will be served while traveling internationally? How do I keep kosher while in the field?

Most meals will be eaten at restaurants and hotels where vegetarian options are available. Individuals with particular questions regarding kashrut or other dietary needs should contact us.

Can I participate if I’m Shabbat observant?

Yes. Shabbat will be planned and led by the fellows and will likely include prayer, learning and other activities. There will be no requirement for travel or use of electricity on Shabbat.

Additional Questions

If I have more questions, who should I ask?

If you have questions about the AJWS Global Justice Fellowship, please feel free to contact us by emailing fellowship@ajws.org or calling 212.792.2886.