ADHRB Ahmed Ismail Advocacy Fellowship

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) is a non-profit organization that seeks to foster awareness of and support for democracy and human rights in Bahrain and the Middle East. We seek a dynamic advocacy fellow ready to help plan and execute advocacy strategies that advance support for human rights and combating impunity in the Arabian Gulf. This position is located in Washington, D.C., and reports to the Director of Advocacy. See a PDF of the position here.


Ahmed Ismail Hassan was a photojournalist in Bahrain who was shot and killed by government authorities during a protest in Salmabad, Bahrain. On 31 March 2012, Hassan attended a protest in Salmabad, south of Manama. The protest was organized in response to the Formula One Grand Prix. Hassan attended to cover the protest in his capacity as a journalist. Hassan was at the scene when security forces and riot police began firing tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters. Shortly after the attempted dispersal of the protestors, armed men arrived at the scene alongside the other security forces and began shooting live ammunition at the protestors. The armed assailants shot Hassan in the upper thigh, severing a major artery. Ahmed Ismail died of his wounds Bahrain’s Salmaniya Medical Complex not long after he was shot.

In honor of Ahmed Ismail, ADHRB is pleased to announce its Ahmed Ismail Fellowship Program. The program provides funding for up to two fellows at a time. Each fellow will work to advance and support the advocacy initiatives of ADHRB in combating impunity for violence against journalists, ending reprisals against human rights defenders, standing up for free expression, and tackling a wide range of other thematic issues in the Arabian Gulf region. Fellows will be asked to create their own advocacy campaigns, building the campaign from start to finish over the course of six months to engage with U.S. policymakers, the Washington policy community, and general public.

General Responsibilities

Generally, fellows will be expected to:

  • Design and implement an entire advocacy campaign from the ground up. Fellows are expected to creatively plan out an advocacy campaign, mapping out activities over the course of their six-month fellowship in order to raise awareness of a human rights-related subject in the GCC. Fellows are then expected to manage implementation of this project with support from their supervisor. Previous subjects have included campaigns around the poet Mohammed al-Ajami, political activist Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, statelessness in the GCC, and arbitrary arrests, detentions, and torture in the United Arab Emirates. Approximately 40% of a fellow’s time per week will be devoted to the fulfillment of their advocacy campaign.
  • Assist the advocacy team in campaigns and projects advancing human rights in the Gulf region. Fellows can expect to be tasked assignments related to the core of ADHRB’s work with varying levels of instruction, in some cases being asked to design and implement projects as they see fit according to their expertise. Approximately 40% of a fellow’s weekly time will be devoted to these types of tasks.
  • Support public and grassroots advocacy of the organization through all social media platforms, and through outreach to tradition press outlets through drafting statements and press releases in coordination with ADHRB staff.
  • Manage organizational resources towards the accomplishment of specific goals. Fellows can expect to have intern and in some cases staff support on projects, and to gain experience in project management over the course of their fellowship.
  • Attend meetings, conferences, and events in order to advocate for human rights and represent organizational interests within the Washington policy community.
  • Research, support and draft reports, white papers, briefing memos, letters, statements, op-eds, and other advocacy materials pertaining to the Gulf region.
  • Aid in the organization and execution of Gulf human rights defender advocacy visits and delegations to Washington.
  • Perform administrative and other duties as required.
  • Manage interns as needs require.

Qualifications and Skills

Required Experience

  • Recent B.A. in pertinent field (M.A. preferred but not required)
  • Extensive research and writing experience.
  • Ability to prioritize, implement and deliver high-quality advocacy programs, sometimes within tight timelines and with minimal supervision.
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to thrive in a collaborative working environment.

Preferred Experience

  • Demonstrated commitment to human rights consistent with the mission of ADHRB.
  • Experience working with U.S. policymakers, Congress, and the U.S. government.
  • Experience working on a grassroots or political campaign.
  • Knowledge of the Middle East developed from experience.
  • Working knowledge of Arabic, French, or other languages useful in an international human rights perspective.

Ahmed Ismail Advocacy Fellows are paid a limited monthly stipend, and requires a 6-month commitment of 40 hours per week from any potential fellow. This position is not eligible for overtime.

To apply, please send a resume, cover letter, and a brief, unedited writing sample (10 pages max) to, and include “Ahmed Ismail Advocacy Fellow” in the subject line.