Hurford Youth Fellowship

Applications for the 2018-2019 period are now closed! Applications have not yet opened for the 2019-2020 period.

The Hurford Youth Fellowship Program seeks to build the leadership skills and harness the potential of young democracy activists from around the world. Through the Program, 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 engage in strategic meetings; conduct research; and organize and lead presentations, online discussions, and information-sharing sessions on key democracy issues.

Upon the successful completion of each fellowship, the fellows serve as a regional/country focal point, working with the Hurford Youth Fellowship Alumni Network to remain involved and take the lead in World Youth Movement activities.



There are currently no Hurford Fellows in-residence.


Margarita Maira, Chile (2018)

Ms. Margarita Maira is a Project Coordinator at Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente, a civil society organization that seeks to strengthen democracy in Latin America. Ms. Maira 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, Ms. Maira 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 (2018)

Ms. Risham Waseem (Pakistan) 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. Ms. Waseem’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, Waseem worked to develop short digital stories in the form of mini web series, to counter the misconceptions associated with democracy.

Najmin Kamilsoy, Azerbaijan (2017)

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, Mr. Kamilsoy 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.

News & Alerts

August 22, 2017

Hong Kong Authorities Crackdown on Umbrella Movement Activists

On August 15, 2017, Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal sentenced Nathan Law to eight months in prison for organizing over 200,000 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement demonstrators on a 79-day blockade in the business districts of Hong Kong three years ago. Fellow organizers Joshua Wong and Alex Chow were also tried and sentenced to six and seven months in […]

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June 15, 2017

Youth Activists Convene Online Cross-Regional Democracy Discussion

On May 31, 2017, Hurford Youth Fellow, Johnson Yeung facilitated an online discussion on how to advance mutual understanding within democratic movements and maintain effective communication between masses. The online discussion explores how horizontal leadership structures within movements influence the effectiveness of broader democracy building efforts. Additionally, the conversation examines strategies for strengthening and consolidating […]

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