HREA Advocacy Institute 2015

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA)
Date: 4-7 August 2015
Deadline for early registration discount: 1 February 2015

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Aims of the HREA Advocacy Institute

The HREA Advocacy Institute is an annual advanced training program for human rights practitioners seeking to increase their skills and gain a practical understanding of participatory advocacy methods and tools. Participants come from across the globe and include staff members of NGOs and inter-governmental organizations, academics, educators and activists.

Hear more about the Institute from 2014 participant Gisa Dang (China/Germany):

Programme overview and methodology

The HREA Advocacy Institute consists of a series of intensive workshops on advocacy planning and implementation for human rights work. The training is based on a participatory, active learning approach and has an emphasis on peer-to-peer learning.

Workshops are held on the Lesley University Campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA) from 09h00-15h30 each day. In the afternoons and evenings, participants have the opportunity to meet with advocacy and program staff of local NGOs and universities and attend the HREA evening program.

Programme format

09h00- 15h30 Advocacy training – Intensive workshops with Advocacy Institute trainers and resource persons on the Lesley University campus.
Day 1: Key concepts of advocacy; links to politics, power, democracy and citizenship
Day 2: Case studies; challenges and possibilities of power; visions of change; the global context; introduction to planning
Day 3: Problem definitions and analysis; contextual analysis; strategy development
Day 4: Message development and delivery; use of social media; coalition building
16h00- 18h00 Off-campus visits – Meetings with advocacy and program staff of local NGOs and the Carr Center of Human Rights Policy (Harvard Kennedy School of Government) 
20h00- 22h00 Evening program – Screening of human rights films; social program and networking opportunities; closing ceremony and reception

Please note that this is a tentative schedule. A final agenda will be available closer to the date of the training and will reflect the specific needs and experiences of the participants. Please click here to see the 2014 Advocacy Institute program.

The Advocacy Institute is intended for professionals seeking to increase their skills and gain a practical understanding of participatory advocacy methods and tools to reflect on and strengthen their work. Participants include staff members of NGOs and inter-governmental organizations, academics, educators and activists.

Advocacy Institute lead trainer

Valerie Miller has worked in advocacy, international development, gender, and human rights for more than thirty years. She has collaborated with grassroots organizations, NGOs, and international agencies in many capacities — as an organizer, trainer, advocate, evaluator, and researcher. Over the past thirty years, she has been policy advocacy director at Oxfam America, director of policy and exchange programs at the Institute for Development Research, and advisor and associate of a wide variety of organizations including the Global Women in Politics Program; Women, Law and Development International; and the Highlander Center. She has taught courses on advocacy under the auspices of the University of Brasilia and New Hampshire University. Dr. Miller holds a doctorate in adult education and has published numerous articles and books on issues of advocacy, development, education, and politics.

Participant profile

Human rights educators, activists and practitioners including staff of human rights, social justice, international development, and intergovernmental organizations are encouraged to apply.

2014 Advocacy Institute participants

Participants of the 2014 Advocacy Institute


Tuition cost: US$ 775 (non-residential) early-bird rate; US$ 975 (non-residential) after 1 February 2015. The final registration deadline is 1 May 2015. Tuition includes the 4-day training program, lunches and coffee breaks, a training pack with hard copies of the training materials, access to the 2015 Advocacy Institute virtual learning space, a course certificate upon successful completion of the program, and a reception on the final evening of the HREA Advocacy Institute.

The Advocacy Institute is limited to 30 participants; participants are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis and payment is due at the time of registration. Registration and payment does not include accommodation. Participants are expected to arrange their own accommodation as well as their own travel insurance and visas (as relevant) for travel to the U.S.

Register for the HREA Advocacy Institute 2015 (opens in new window)

In 2015, a limited number of scholarships will be awarded to human rights defenders from low-income countries attending the HREA Advocacy Institute. Please refer to the Application Form for instructions on how to apply. Please note that scholarship funding is limited and will be awarded at HREA’s discretion according to need, merit and availability. Scholarship funding is only available to support tuition costs. Funding is not available to support travel, visa or accommodation costs. For an overview of other possible funding/scholarship opportunities, please visit our scholarship opportunities page.


HREA seeks to ensure its training programs are fully accessible for persons with disabilities and that everyone is able to participate on an equal basis with others. Please contact the HREA Training Coordinator ( with any questions or concerns about accessibility including the specific forms of reasonable accommodation you require.


Participants are responsible for organizing their own accommodation. Single occupancy, air conditioned rooms will be available on the Lesley University campus from 3-8 August 2015 for approximately US$ 95 per night. This is an estimate based on 2014 rates; we will provide updated information as soon as it becomes available. Please note that accommodation on the Lesley University campus is basic: you will be staying in student dormitories. Most rooms have single sized (twin) beds and do not include a private bath. Bathroom facilities are located on each floor and are shared with other Advocacy Institute participants.

Alternatively, you can arrange accommodation at a local hotel. Please click here for a list of hotels in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA).

Testimonials from Advocacy Institute participants