AJWS Global Justice Fellowship: FAQ

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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 an 8-10 day immersive experience in the developing world, where participants will witness the challenges facing poor and marginalized communities and experience the power of grassroots efforts to overcome them. The trip will be preceded and followed by an innovative programming series that will prepare participants to mobilize and organize their communities and networks in support of AJWS’s campaigns and other efforts to promote global justice.

What is the mission and vision of the Global Justice Fellowship? How does it fit into AJWS’s theory of change?

The fellowship aims to be a catalytic experience for fellows, designed to inspire, educate, train and empower them to become activist leaders and mobilize their constituencies in support of global justice. The fellowship is integral to achieving AJWS’s intended impact, which is to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. AJWS pursues this goal through two key strategies: (1) making grants to grassroots organizations in Africa, Asia and the Americas working to effect social change and (2) mobilizing the American Jewish community and its allies to actively support changes in U.S. policy that promote the human rights of marginalized people in the developing world. The Fellowship is a key programmatic tool in this second strategy.


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, food and activities during international travel component
  • Domestic flights, accommodations, food and activities for U.S.-based engagement events/trainings
  • Programmatic costs (e.g. AJWS curriculum, group medical supplies, trainings, etc.)
Expenses paid by fellows:
  • $180 – $540 (based on sliding scale)
  • Visas for international travel
  • Vaccinations or other medical expenses related to international travel
  • Health insurance (all participants must have both regular U.S. insurance and international/travelers’ insurance)

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 participant in the Global Justice Fellowship. If you would like to discuss your financial situation further, please contact us at fellowship@ajws.org or 212.792.2886.

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. All costs of the international travel component (after the $180 – $540 program fee) are fully covered by AJWS for each participant. In addition, any costs related to trainings, materials, travel or accommodations for required post-trip engagements/commitments will also be fully paid for by AJWS.

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. However, AJWS is seeking particular qualifications for each fellowship group—in some cases geographic and in some cases professional. For example, the 2013 LA fellowship group is open only to Jewish leaders located in the Los Angeles area; the rabbinical and graduate students’ group requires that fellows are enrolled in a graduate program for Jewish communal leadership. 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 orientation programming, the entire 8-10 day experience in the developing world and all post-trip engagements with the group and with the campaign.

AJWS does not discriminate based on denominational affiliation, gender, racial or ethnic origin, disability or sexual orientation.

The ideal applicant:

  • Is interested in being part of a select delegation of individuals dedicated to global justice issues and working towards building a more just and equitable world
  • Believes in AJWS’s mission to promote human rights and end poverty, and is committed to raising awareness of and commitment to that mission within the greater Jewish community
  • Has a strong desire to learn more about how U.S. citizens can impact global policies through advocacy, mobilizing and organizing
  • Demonstrates significant experience or potential as a community leader
  • Has the desire and disposition for responsible travel in the developing world

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.

Are there any age requirements or restrictions to be eligible?

No, all applicants over the age of 18 are eligible to be fellows.

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 orientation programming, the entire 8-10 day experience in the developing world and all post-trip engagements.

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

Yes. While modeled after the core components and 10+ year success of AJWS’s former service-learning programs, the Global Justice Fellowship is a new program, expanding on the previous models. It has been designed to create more opportunities to develop concrete advocacy skills, allowing fellows to take action upon returning home from transformational international experiences. It is a uniquely new experience even for alumni of past AJWS programs.

How many fellows will be accepted for each fellowship group?

Depending on our host site in the developing world, we accept 15-18 participants for each fellowship cycle.

Is there more than one group or cohort of fellows each year? And how often will the fellowship take place?

AJWS will select 5-6 groups of fellows each year, including one national group of rabbinical and graduate students, one national group of rabbis and Jewish leaders and 3-4 geographically-organized groups of established Jewish leaders in major U.S. cities.

Fellowship Structure

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 2013-2014 AJWS Global Justice Fellowship 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 components that take place over the course of one year:

  • Orientation programming: A series of educational opportunities—both virtual and in-person—to build community among fellows, provide context for the travel experience, set expectations for the year and introduce participants to AJWS’s campaign. Approximately 20 hours total, over the three month orientation period.
  • Travel: An immersive, 8-10 day experience in a community where AJWS works in the developing world—emphasizing engagement with local experts, exposure to AJWS grantees, exploration of the impact of U.S. policy on developing world communities, and training in activism and leadership skills.

Post-trip engagement: A series of workshops on organizing and leadership combined with individual- and group-based mentorship, followed by opportunities to lobby, fundraise, mobilize others and engage in AJWS’s campaigns throughout the year as part of AJWS’s activist network, known as the AJWS Action Team. Specific engagements include, but are not limited to, a 3 day lobby training in Washington, DC, three and six month post-travel reunions, and ongoing chavruta (ongoing brief discussions with a colleague from the program in response to a text, article, video, etc.) work.

What exactly is involved in post-trip engagement?

Post-trip engagement includes a mix of fellow-specific activities and supported integration into AJWS’s Action Team. This includes a programming series of events, trainings, group gatherings and lobby days. Additionally, during the post-trip period fellows are responsible for several fellowship commitments, including organizing local events or actions in coordination with AJWS’s Action Team to generate community involvement in AJWS’s campaign; taking direct actions such as lobbying and contacting members of Congress; speaking and/or writing about the fellowship experience and AJWS’s campaign work; and fundraising for AJWS.

By participating in this continued learning and action, fellows develop skills, increase their leadership, influence Congress, mobilize others, and build the power of the American Jewish community and its allies to change in U.S. policies that promote the human rights of marginalized people in the developing world.

What happens after the fellowship is over?

After the fellowship year, fellows will remain as 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 leverage their experiences and help to strengthen and build our movement for global justice.

International Component

Who staffs the international component of the fellowship?

Each fellowship group is staffed by one full time AJWS staff member and one AJWS group leader. Group leaders are hired by AJWS staff and usually have knowledge and/or experience specific to the country where the group will be traveling.

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.

What do I need to do 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 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, meals, learning and other activities. There will be no requirement for travel or use of electricity on Shabbat.

More Questions

If 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.