Herman Schwartz Israel Human Rights Law Fellowship Program

For over 34 years, the Herman Schwartz Israel Human Rights Law Fellowship Program, jointly sponsored with the New Israel Fund, offered Israeli lawyers (both Palestinian and Jewish) a two-year academic and professional experience, including LL.M. study and professional development at American University Washington College of Law through internships with U.S.-based public interest groups—including the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, the Council on American Islamic Relations, and the Children's Defense Fund, among others—and a one-year placement in renowned human rights NGOs in Israel, such as the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, Adalah (Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights), and Itach-Maaki (Woman Lawyers for Social Justice).

The Program, founded in 1984 by Center faculty co-director, AUWCL Professor Herman Schwartz, has graduated more than 60 Fellows who have gone on to create and form the backbone of the human rights bar in Israel. When the fellowship launched, the United States was leading the way on protecting civil liberties, and Professor Schwartz’s idea was to create change in Isreal by giving Israeli lawyers an opportunity to learn how to promote and protect human rights through litigation and other forms of advocacy from their U.S. colleagues. Graduates of the Program have created key human rights organizations in Israel and hold important positions in government, the judiciary, academia, and the NGO community. Fellows have focused on the rights of the elderly, the rights of the Palestinian minority in Israel, disability rights, the rights of the Bedouin, the rights of the Ethiopian minority in Israel, women's rights, and more. Alumni have shaped legislation, policy, and practice in diverse areas of Israeli life and have influenced legal education in Israel.

For additional information about the Herman Schwartz Israel Human Rights Law Fellowship, please see Raising the Bar: Twenty-Five Years of Strengthening Human Rights in Israel, which was published in 2009 to mark the Program’s 25th anniversary.