Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity Program 2020 for South Africans and Americans (fully funded)

Deadline: January 27, 2019

South Africa and the United States are shaped by and connected to a complex legacy of anti-Black racism and racialised exploitation and violence. Over the last two centuries, advocates in the two countries have learned from and inspired each other in the struggle to achieve full equality. AFRE builds upon this rich history of exchange by creating a transnational space for leaders to come together to explore, imagine, experiment and build long-term solutions for impactful change.

Each cohort of Fellows consists of 20 high-impact change-makers from South Africa and the United States who participate in a year-long, non-residential programme that builds knowledge and capacity to effectively address the causes of racial inequality.

Fellowship in AFRE is about building community that is grounded in a deep respect and appreciation for diverse experiences and perspectives and what we can build collectively. The experience is immersive and dialogue-based, with substantial international travel. Fellows participate in four 5-day Modules during the year where they learn from each other, examine the histories and trends in the two countries, deepen their leadership skills, develop innovative projects, and collaborate to push forward each other’s work. Fellows further their understanding of race and equity through three video/teleconferences and a 4-day Learning Institute. In addition to these activities, Fellows interact with AFRE’s growing transnational community of Atlantic Senior Fellows and meet Fellows from the global community of Atlantic Fellows programmes.

The AFRE fellowship programme is led by a transnational team of staff and facilitators from Columbia University and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. During the year, Fellows also engage with leaders of diverse organisations that include: Community Change; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Nelson Mandela University; Othering & Belonging Institute at the University of California-Berkeley (Formerly HAAS Institute); and the Public Affairs Research Institute.

Fellowship Supports

AFRE supports Fellows’ participation and leadership development through:

  • International travel and accommodations in South Africa and the United States

  • Professional coaching and mentoring to advance projects in their communities

  • Communications services for public identity-development, including a headshot, bio, and media training

  • USD $10,000 in funding to cover personal costs associated with participation

  • Networking opportunities and financial resources to proto-type new ideas for advancing racial equity

  • Columbia University coursework upon graduation

  • Connection to a global community of Atlantic Fellows working for change

Participation Requirements

Attendance at all fellowship activities is required to maintain the integrity of the programme experience. Fellows who miss a session will be asked to leave the programme.

Key dates (not including travel time):

  • Module 1, Johannesburg, South Africa: 10 – 14 August 2020

  • Module 2, New York, United States: 26 – 30 October 2020

  • Module 3, South Africa: 8 – 12 February 2021

  • Module 4, United States: 26 – 30 April 2021

Dates of the webinars, Partner Learning Institute and other events will be provided at the interview stage.

Who Should Apply

This programme is for individuals who are committed to achieving equity, have a track record of significant impact, and deeply value dialogue with, and learning from, diverse perspectives and voices as a critical step towards achieving societal transformation. There are no academic qualifications required to apply.

Our Fellows share the following characteristics. They are:

  • Experienced in their field of work with a track record of impact in furthering racial equity

  • Proposing work with the potential to significantly advance the development of new policy, institutions and/or narratives for greater equity

  • Willing and able to navigate and learn from diversity and complexity on a local and global scale

  • Committed to working with and supporting others to achieve individual and collective impact.

Successful applicants share our values of justice, ubuntu, integrity, imagination and transformation. They are individuals who are seeking spaces safe enough for meaningful and effective negotiation of sustainable solutions to critical social problems. They bring an interest and openness to deep listening and disruption of presuppositions and perspectives. They are willing to engage in building connections, vision and strategy with others from different racial and ethnic backgrounds and who have different political perspectives and beliefs regarding how to advance social change. They are solutions oriented.


We are accepting applications for our 2020 fellowship programme.

Applications are due by 11:59PM SAST / 4:59PM EST on 27 January 2020.

Applicants to the programme must participate in a 30-minute Information Session. Sessions will be held via video conference on the following dates.

  • 4th December 2019

  • 11th December 2019

  • 8th January 2020

  • 15th January 2020

  • 22nd January 2020