Hurford Youth Fellowship

/Hurford Youth Fellowship
Hurford Youth Fellowship2020-02-25T15:07:11+00:00

The Hurford Youth Fellowship is not currently accepting applications. To stay up to date with new application dates and details, read more here.

The Hurford Youth Fellowship Program is a program dedicated to helping young future leaders build leadership skills, and to aid the development of young democracy activists from around the world. Through the fellowship, young activists spend four months at the World Movement’s Secretariat, during which they expand their global connections, share experiences with other activists from democracy movements around the world, and contribute to the development of the World Movement for Democracy and the World Youth Movement for Democracy. Hurford Youth Fellows are expected to be a part of strategic meetings, and organize and lead presentations, online discussions and share information within the network about key democracy issues. Fellows are also expected to conduct thorough research on relevant topics and to stay up to date on contemporary developments in democratic practices.

Throughout the year, two positions will be made available to young leaders up to the age of 30. Candidates must have a demonstrated interest in the advancement of democracy. Affiliation with  democracy/civil society organizations will be considered an advantage. A monthly cost of living stipend and roundtrip airfare is provided by the Program. The fellowship takes course over the period of four months, during which each fellow will be given the necessary tools to build their leadership and organizational skills. With their work, fellows will actively contribute to the development of the World Movement for Democracy initiatives, and will be especially involved in the development of the World Youth Movement for Democracy network.

Fellows will especially research and share information on democratic themes that the World Movement for Democracy covers: defending democratic space, promoting inclusive governance, and strengthening democratic leadership.

You may read more on the official World Movement for Democracy website.


Irene Ikomu (Uganda)

Irene Ikomu is a lawyer based in Nairobi, Kenya. Prior to becoming a Hurford fellow, she working on supporting civic spaces in the East and Horn of Africa, with the Heinrich Boell Foundation. Previously, she managed the Aga Khan Development Network’s East Africa Civil Society Initiative, supporting resilient civil society in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania with a start-up focus on youth; and co-founded and managed Parliament Watch Uganda, a civic tech parliament monitoring initiative. Additionally, Ikomu was a Mandela Washington civic engagement fellow in 2014 and received the Young Female Lawyer of the Year Award by the Uganda Law Society in recognition of her contribution to Uganda’s democratic development.

Ikomu’s fellowship will focus on how young people are opening up new models of political participation outside of traditional political channels. Her discussions will examine what it means to challenge the political status quo in the digital age, and will explore this generation’s emerging voices and new ideas, harnessing lessons learned from their unique approaches to creating democratic space within their countries.


Anthony Q. Esguerra (Philippines)

Anthony Esguerra is a reporter and social media specialist for, the most popular news website in the Philippines. With a history of participation  in a multitude of regional youth forums, Anthony aims to promote media literacy, independent journalism and freedom of press in Asia. The  Philippine League of Development Communication elected Anthony as president in 2011, and in 2012 he became a fellow at a U.S. Department of State sponsored program –  the Institute on New Media and Journalism at Ball State University.

During his fellowship, Anthony Esguerra will see out new and effective strategies to promote media and information literacy which can counter disinformation and the global phenomenon of “fake news”. He will develop a series of online discussions that will explore ways of constructively dealing with those who spread propaganda; explore the role of journalists the prevention of disinformation, and propose solutions that challenge attempts to use social media as a means of spreading disinformation.

 Margarita Maira (Chile)

Margarita is a Project Coordinator at Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente, a civil society organization that seeks to strengthen democracy in Latin America. She is committed to strengthening governance in Latin America and has led campaigns to engage youth in dialogue with decision makers and political candidates. Additionally, she has worked with emerging leaders in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, training them on how to develop advocacy strategies and engage in public policy. Her experiences include working with former Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet’s digital communications team and with Chile’s Ministry General Secretariat of the Government.

During her fellowship, Margarita focused on how to create effective spaces where youth can relate to public policies and government issues. She explored practical ways to make governance a topic of interest for younger generations and opportunities to connect youth to democratic institutions.

Risham Waseem, (Pakistan)

Risham is the Creative Director at Maati TV, a web TV channel that promotes peace and democracy in Pakistan. She also serves as the Media Officer at the Interactive Resource Center, a non-profit organization striving to build consciousness among marginalized populations using interactive art forms such as theatre and film. Risham’s passion for art and activism inspired her to direct and produce several documentaries on countering violent extremism and addressing sexual harassment in Pakistan. Additionally, her commitment to civic participation led to her involvement in forum theatre, where she has performed in plays on issues related to human rights and democracy all over Pakistan.

During her fellowship, Ms. Waseem examined global media trends that promote populist and nationalistic narratives that discredit democracy, shrink civic space, and threaten youth political participation. Additionally, Risham worked to develop short digital stories in the form of mini web series, to counter the misconceptions associated with democracy.

Najmin Kamilsoy, (Azerbaijan)

Mr. Najmin Kamilsoy is a human rights activist and international relations coordinator for the NIDA Civic Movement, a pro-democracy youth organization that defends constitutional and human rights and promotes democratic values in Azerbaijan. Most notably, he has led international advocacy campaigns for the release of political prisoners and has been successful in supporting the release of fellow activists, including his father, prominent human rights defender, Intigam Aliyev.

During his fellowship, Najmin focused on how to confront obstacles to emerging democracy youth movements and conducted global discussions on youth activism in restrictive environments; academic freedom and institutional autonomy; and the impact of unemployment on youth participation.

The Hurford Youth Fellows Program is made possible by the generous support of the Hurford Foundation.


Can I save my application progress and return at a later time to complete my application?2018-09-28T15:11:09+00:00

Yes. Click on the “Save for Later” button to save your progress on the Application Step you are working on. You may return to your application at any time by logging back into the system through the Applicant Portal

What types of files can I upload when submitting my Project Proposal and Resume/CV?2018-09-28T15:11:55+00:00

Please format all documents as a MS Word Document (.doc) or Adobe Acrobat PDF (.pdf) before uploading them to the Online Application System.

How do I know when my application is complete?2018-09-28T15:14:09+00:00

Your application will be considered complete once you have submitted Steps 1 through 5 of the online application and we have received all three of your letters of recommendation

Once you have completed all five steps, you will receive an email confirming receipt of your submission.

Once your letters of recommendations have been submitted by your referees, you will receive another email confirming that your application is complete. You will receive a final confirmation via email at that time.

You can also verify that your application is complete by logging in to the Applicant Portal to see if each step of your application displays the status “Submitted.”

Do I need to mail a duplicate paper copy of my application or the original recommendation letters to the NED office?2018-09-28T15:16:11+00:00

No. If you have completed the online application and received a confirmation email, please DO NOT send a duplicate paper copy of your application or copies of recommendation letters by postal mail. We receive a large volume of application materials and appreciate your cooperation in minimizing our paperwork by only submitting your application once.

How can I update my contact information?2018-09-28T15:16:44+00:00

If you have had a change in your contact information, you can update your Profile at any time by logging in to the Applicant Portal. You will have access to your Profile and can make changes even after your complete Application has been submitted.

I’m having a lot of trouble accessing the Online Application System. How can I apply?2018-09-28T15:17:46+00:00

Please email for technical assistance.

I am a student looking for scholarship funding. Can I apply for a Hurford Youth Fellowship?2020-02-25T14:58:24+00:00

The Hurford Youth Fellowship Program does not award scholarship funds, loans, or any other type of financial aid to university students, graduate students, or postdoctoral researchers. In addition, our fellowship program is not an educational or training program leading toward an academic degree.

My organization receives grant support from NED or one of its core institutes (NDI, IRI, CIPE, or Solidarity Center). Am I eligible to apply for a fellowship?2018-09-28T15:19:04+00:00

Yes. The Hurford Youth Fellows Program awards fellowships to individual democracy practitioners, journalists, and scholars, while the grantmaking sections of the National Endowment for Democracy and its core institutes give grants to institutions. Working for an organization that receives funding from the NED or one of the core institutes does not disqualify you from applying for a fellowship.

How can my referees submit their recommendation letters?2018-09-28T15:20:35+00:00

When you reach Application Step 3, “Letters of Recommendation,” you will be prompted to type in the names and email addresses of both of your referees. After you have done so, your referees will receive an email directly from us containing a login name, password, and instructions on how to upload their recommendation letter to your application.

How will I know when my referees have submitted their recommendation letters?2018-09-28T15:21:05+00:00

To check the status of your recommendation letters, visit the Application Status page. Click on the status of Step 3, and you will be directed to another page that will show you the status of each of your individual letters.

Referees who have not submitted their letters will receive regular email reminders through our application system, but as the applicant, you are encouraged to also remind your referees to submit their letters on time.

I submitted email addresses for my referees. When will they receive email instructions?2018-09-28T15:22:01+00:00

The application system sends out automated emails to referees once per day at 12:01 pm EST. After you have completed the Letters of Recommendation section, please allow up to 24 hours for your referees to receive login instructions by email.

What should I do if my referee(s) did not receive email instructions?2018-09-28T15:27:58+00:00

Referee instructions are sent from our automated email system and may be caught by your referee’s spam filter. We recommend that your referee first check his/her spam filter if they did not receive an email in their inbox.

If it has been more than 24 hours since you submitted the email addresses for your referees and they still have not received email instructions, please contact us via the message center and we will resend the email. Please also make sure that you provided the correct spelling of your referees’ email addresses.

One of my referees can no longer write a recommendation letter. How can I update my list of referees?2018-09-28T15:28:30+00:00

Please contact us through the Message Center if you need to change one of your referees. In your message, you should provide us with:

  • the name, job title, organization, and email address of your new referee
  • the name of the original referee whom you wish to replace

We will update the referee information for you in your application and make sure that your new referee receives an email containing instructions for submitting a letter of recommendation.