Apply to join the 2022 AFRE Fellowship.

Applications are due by 11:59pm SAST / 4:59pm EST on 28 January 2022.


2022 Fellowship Programme


Each year we accept 20 high-impact change-makers from South Africa and the United States into the fellowship, which consists of an 18 months-long, non-residential experience that builds new knowledge, relationships and capacity to effectively address the causes of racial inequality and to imagine more equitable futures.

The experience is immersive and dialogue-based. It is designed to support Fellows personal growth as leaders who are rooted in deep self-awareness, resilience, mutual support and collective accountability, while also facilitating new understandings and solidarities to emerge across sector, identity, and nationality.

Projects are used as a tool to cultivate innovation, collaboration and creative problem solving. The fellowship is led by a transnational team of staff and facilitators from Columbia University and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

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


AFRE supports Fellows’ participation and leadership development through:

Technology to facilitate participation in virtual programming

Opportunities for international travel to South Africa and the United States

Professional coaching, networking and financial resources to advance racial equity projects

Narrative and strategic communications support for public-identity and thought-leadership development, including media training and narrative strategy consultation

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

Access to Columbia University courses upon graduation

Connection to a global community of Atlantic Fellows working for change


The fellowship begins with an intensive virtual experience that includes three month-long Virtual Retreats, three online Collaboration Days and other cohort gatherings. The fellowship culminates with an invitation into the Senior Atlantic Fellows community for successful graduates, who have opportunities for international travel to the United States, South Africa and other countries around the world. We will meet for 2 to 3 hours on each Thursday of October and host collaboration days in November and December 2022. 2023 dates will be provided at the finalist interview stage, inclusive of all virtual and in-person sessions.

Attendance at all fellowship activities is required to ensure you receive the maximum benefit from the programme for your growth and leadership development, and in turn, that others receive the maximum benefit of your support for their growth and development. Fellows who miss a session may be asked to leave the programme.


Fellows gain:

A deeper understanding of complexities and trends in racial equity work

Insights and practices for impactful leadership

Ideas, tools, and strategies for social change

A network of relationships to support a lifetime of leadership and service

Membership in the Atlantic Fellows community, both transnationally and globally

The Fellowship:
The fellowship experience is immersive and dialogue-based.


Over the course of the fellowship, Fellows embark on an interweaving exploration of racial equity and leadership through the prisms of self, society, and solidarity. We begin by exploring personal visions for leadership and who these visions require us to become in order to realise them. Building on this, we focus on the intersection of the personal and the political, and the expansiveness of structural racism through the intimacies of personal politics and its implications for racial equity leadership. We crystallise the emerging personal and collective visions for a racially equitable future through the development and honing of project ideas during the fellowship experience.

Fellows have opportunities to build relationships with other changemakers, deliberate on the complexities of racial equity, reflect deeply on their leadership strengths and areas for growth, and experiment with new ideas. Fellows receive Leadership Coaching and Project Advising Sessions. They also are supported by AFRE staff members as Journey Guides through periodic check-ins.

The fellowship is led by a transnational team of staff and facilitators from Columbia University and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Application Timeline

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