Our Fellowship Programme

South Africa and the United States are shaped by and connected to a complex legacy of anti-Black racism and racialised exploitation and violence. Over the last two centuries, advocates in South Africa and the United States have learned from and inspired each other in the struggle to achieve full equality.

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AFRE builds upon—and re-invigorates—this history of exchange by creating a space where leaders from both countries come together to explore, imagine, experiment and build long-term solutions for impactful change. Based at Columbia University in New York City and the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, AFRE is one of seven interconnected Atlantic Fellows programmes which together create a global community to advance fairer, healthier and more inclusive societies. AFRE’s work is also informed by the history of Atlantic Philanthropies’ funding in South Africa and the United States and its deep commitment to advancing equity in these countries.

Each year we recruit and support changemakers working in different communities, and through different strategies, to challenge anti-Black racism and build the policies, institutions and narratives needed for a more equitable future.  As participants in a programme housed at Columbia and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Fellows study lessons from the history of Nelson Mandela’s leadership and engage with faculty around innovative projects.

Our Fellows receive a scholarship of USD $10,000 and are eligible to apply for project support of up to USD $10,000 during their fellowship year.

After graduating from the AFRE programme, Fellows will become members of a global network of Atlantic Senior Fellows convened by the Atlantic Institute based at Rhodes House, Oxford University.


I am moved by the ambitions of the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity and the opportunities the programme will create for dynamic thinking and action to address anti-Blackness and dismantle structural racism.
— Opal Tometi, Black Lives Matter & Black Alliance for Just Immigration Governing Board Member, Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity

Banner photo: Destiny Arts Center (Othering and Belonging Conference 2017)