Emerging Human Rights Leaders Program

Launched in 2016-17, the Carr Center’s Emerging Human Rights Leaders Program seeks to build a strong and sustainable community of current Harvard Kennedy School students—and future alumni—who demonstrate a clear and passionate commitment to the study, practice, and advocacy of human rights.

Founded and convened by Carr Center faculty member Timothy Patrick McCarthy, this new program is designed to enhance existing curricular experiences at the Harvard Kennedy School by providing students with additional skills-building, critical reflection, career development, and research and publication opportunities to become outstanding practitioners in the field of human rights policy and advocacy. The program includes regular seminar discussions, skills workshops, media and advocacy trainings, and special cohort-wide events.


The Carr Center’s Emerging Human Rights Leaders Program has the following objectives:

  • To enhance curricular offerings with workshops and seminars specifically designed for future human rights policymakers, practitioners, and advocates;
  • To provide a platform for current HKS students to publish human rights-related research, analysis, and opinion;
  • To build a community of current HKS students and future alumni with a demonstrated commitment to human rights policy, practice, and advocacy;
  • To facilitate mentoring and networking between current HKS students and established human rights professionals;
  • To connect HKS students and faculty in critical conversations about the problems, practices, and promises of human rights policy.


All degree-seeking Harvard Kennedy School students with a demonstrated passion for human rights policy and advocacy are eligible to apply for the Carr Center’s Emerging Human Rights Leaders Program. In addition, applicants from the MC/MPA Program must demonstrate a strong professional background in the field of human rights. Priority will be given to second-year students who have already received summer internship funding through the Carr Center. Non-HKS students are not eligible to apply. Applications for next year’s cohort will be available in early September 2017.

The inaugural 2016-17 Emerging Human Rights Leaders Program includes fourteen students from a diverse range of backgrounds. For more information on this year’s cohort, click here