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2019 AFRE Application


Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity



The Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity (AFRE) is a fellowship programme that brings together accomplished individuals from diverse backgrounds to incubate new strategies for addressing, dismantling and transforming the power structures that subjugate black people. We aspire to build an enduring network of leaders dedicated to working across issues, approaches, and geographies to create the institutions, narratives and policies that will advance racial equity and justice. 

AFRE is part of an international community of fellowship programmes started by the Atlantic Philanthropies to enhance global learning and action to achieve a more equitable world. Our contribution to the racial equity and justice field is to connect people across diverse identities, geographies and ways of thinking and working. The programme is based at Columbia University in the City of New York and the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa and engages the expertise of strategic partners in each respective country as resources for curriculum and programme development. 

Partners in 2018 included the Center for Community Change (CCC), Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California-Berkeley (HIFIS), NAACP Legal & Educational Fund (LDF), South African Human Rights Commission and the Public Affairs Research Institute


South Africa and the United States are connected by a shared history of power structures exploiting people based on their race, gender, class and ability. Over the last two centuries, Black liberation activists in these two countries have learned from and inspired each other to build movements that organise people to achieve full equality. AFRE builds upon this rich history of exchange by creating a space for leaders from both countries to find solutions to end anti-black oppression. 

Each year, we recruit 20 high-impact leaders from South Africa and the United States to participate in our 12-month program which fosters knowledge-sharing, relationship-building and collaboration. AFRE Fellows participate in cross-cultural exchanges and engage in a deep dialogue process with other Fellows to support and strengthen their leadership, capacities and understandings. Throughout the year, they explore the origins of structural racism and the mechanisms through which it operates, participate in collaborative vision and strategy-building for societal transformation and engage with different perspectives and approaches for building a just and equitable world. They also receive customised supports, including access to coaching, expert mentoring and media relations support. The fellowship is designed to fuel multi-sectoral and transnational thinking and action through rigorous learning experiences and additional resources to support the initial stages of Fellows’ projects.


Fellows will receive a stipend of USD $10,000 and will be eligible to apply for project support of up to USD $10,000 during their fellowship year.


The core of the AFRE fellowship experience is a series of four, week-long learning sessions over the programme year. Fellows will also participate in activities in-between sessions to connect with peers and mentors, as well as at least one intensive institute on a theme related to racial equity during the programme year. Full participation in all fellowship activities is required to maintain the integrity of the programme experience. 

The 2019 Programme will begin with an in-person session in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 17–21 June 2019 (not including travel time). Dates for the additional sessions during the 2019 programme will be provided at the interview stage.


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. All marginalised and multiply-marginalised people are encouraged to apply.  

Our Fellows share the following traits. They are:

·       Experienced in their field of work (ranging from a minimum of 5 years to more extensive years of experience)

·       Proposing work with the potential for significant impact in eradicating white supremacy and anti-black oppression

·       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 ubuntu, integrity, imagination, transformation and justice. They are individuals who are seeking spaces safe enough for meaningful and effective negotiation of sustainable solutions to critical social problems. They bring with them an interest and openness to deep listening and disruption of presuppositions and perspectives. They are willing to engage fully 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.


Applications are due by 6:59am SAST / 11:59pm EST on the 31st January.  

If you have any problems or submitting your application and supporting materials, please contact us at AFREapplication@atlanticfellows.org.  Applications may be answered in English or Spanish for US applicants or any official language of South Africa for South African applicants.  The programme is being delivered in English but we will do our best to assist those who require specific accomodations.  Please not that we welcome (but do not require) supplemental YouTube video submissions to support narrative questions.  These videos should be "unlisted", which means the video can be only accessed through the direct link.

Information Sessions will be held will be held on the 22nd and 29 January by video conference. Participation in one of these sessions is required for all applicants.

Semi-finalists will be notified by the end of February 2019.

Interviews will be conducted in March and early April. We will conduct an initial phone interview and may conduct a follow-up in-person interview and invite you to participate in a structured dialogue with other candidates. Successful candidates will be announced in late April 2019. 

Scheduling conflicts can be advised in the application process.

Thank you for your interest in AFRE and your participation in the application process. 



We encourage you to self-identify, but demographic information is not required.

Applicants are not required to be a part of an organisation to apply. Where applicable, please complete the information below.



The following section provides an opportunity to introduce yourself to members of the screening committee. We want to hear your authentic voice and appreciate all forms of style and delivery. The content should convey your background, what brings you to your work, and your interest in AFRE. Please be concise and consider word limitations in your response.

To upload supplemental YouTube video response(s) 
please see the instructions here.
please see the instructions here.




Nominees are required to propose a project that will make a significant contribution to the larger field of racial equity. While you may draw on your existing work, the project should be new intellectual or practice activity that would benefit from the kind of dialogue, knowledge-sharing, and cross-cultural exchange that AFRE provides.


You are welcome to share up to (5) work samples in one of these formats (PDF or LINK).
Please upload .pdf attachments or share a link below.

Below, include your work sample name, brief description of each submission, and the link (if applicable).

All attachments are due when you submit your application.

Please complete the requested details below for two people who may be contacted about your track record of significant impact in advancing racial equity and justice.





We view our work as supporting Fellows to advance in their respective fields and build and be part of a transnational network of leaders who are committed to ending white supremacy and anti-black oppression.  This experience is intentionally designed to challenge your thinking by exposing you to people, places and points of view that you may disagree with.

All members of our community are expected to bring an eagerness to learn from peers, speakers and invited guests and to actively engage in processes of deep dialogue, learning and reflection. We know that care and intentionality are required to build our community, and our engagement with each other will deepen as we build trust, expand our capacity, deepen our practices and sharpen our analysis.


We are a multi-racial and multi-ethnic space. All Fellows will be part of formal programming without exclusion. We do however recognise the need for autonomous spaces and the programme will create space outside of formal programming for Fellows to convene and network. To build our community, each community member (applicant) is asked to agree to commit to engaging fully with the programming brought forth through the fellowship experience and share your perspective and in turn learn from those of others.



If you have any questions about the application process, please contact us at: afreapplication@atlanticfellows.org