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Chayes International Public Service Fellowships Celebrating 20 years

The Chayes International Public Service Fellowships are dedicated to the memory of Professor Abram Chayes ’49, who taught at Harvard Law School for more than 40 years. Professor Chayes was a leading authority on international law, and throughout his career, as a lawyer, arbitrator and legal advisor, he took on notable cases arising from military and paramilitary activities in Nicaragua, boundary disputes in Africa, and the genocide in Kosovo, among many others.

“Learning from the team’s work with survivors of sexual violence has brought the knowledge I gained from taking Public International Law in my 1L spring semester to life. I have gotten a glimpse into how complex the work of transitional justice can be.” — Read more at “A Chayes Fellow checks in: Kit Lea Cheang ’23” on our blog.

Accordingly, these fellowships provide Harvard Law School students with the opportunity to spend eight weeks during the summer working abroad with governmental or non-governmental organizations concerned with issues of an international scope or relevant to countries in transition. Chayes Fellows’ projects can take a variety of forms, but could focus on the development of legal, political, social, and economic institutions, constitutional and legal issues in emerging democracies, or reconstruction of war-torn societies, among others.

The Chayes Fellowships not only allow a cadre of Harvard Law School students to offer their skills to governments and organizations undertaking critical work, but also provide students with practical, first-hand experience with the complex issues faced by societies in development or transition. Chayes Fellows become part of a network of individuals engaged with organizations working on these issues around the world.


2021 Chayes Fellows

2021 Chayes Fellows

Apsara Iyer '23, Kit Lea Cheang '23, and Joan Josiah '23

Working remotely, the 2021 Chayes Fellows gain global experience.

Read "Expanding their horizons" on Harvard Law Today

435 Chayes Fellows, 80 countries and jurisdictions, 234 placement organizations.

Read "The Chayes International Public Service Fellowship celebrates its first 20 years" on Harvard Law Today

2020 Chayes Fellows

2020 Chayes Fellows

Collage of three student photos

In 2020, despite COVID-19, 24 Chayes Fellows pursued projects around the world.

Read "Research, writing, and advocating for change" on Harvard Law Today


Two 2020 Chayes Fellows discuss the changes, and challenges, in their plans.

Read "Finding a new approach to summer work abroad" on Harvard Law Today

2019 Chayes Fellows

2019 Chayes Fellows

2019 Chayes Fellows

This summer, 17 Chayes Fellows tackled challenging issues in 13 countries, from Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Kingdom.

Read "Global Outreach" on Harvard Law Today
2019 Chayes Fellow Eric Gitari

Eric Gitari, a 2019 Chayes Fellow, describes his work monitoring human rights for LGBTIQ persons in Gambia and Senegal.

Read "Serious challenges, with some green shoots of hope" on Harvard Law Today

2018 Chayes Fellows

2018 Chayes Fellows

The 13 students chosen as 2018 Chayes International Public Service Fellows spent the summer in 13 countries.

View photos from 2018 Chayes Fellows

The 2018 Chayes Fellows worked on a wide range of issues, from bolstering the enforcement of laws protecting children in conflict to conducting client intake and managing cases for refugees facing persecution in the Middle East.

Read "Chayes Fellows circle the globe" on Harvard Law Today

Sharing Their Experiences

Sharing Their Experiences

International Public Service against the Background of a Global Pandemic

Kimberly Everett ’22, Maria Smith ’22 and Gina Starfield ’22 spoke about their summer work at a panel discussion in November 2020. Sarah Deibler, an S.J.D. candidate and 2017 Chayes Fellow, served as moderator.

Panelists at a Chayes Fellowship panel on

Establishing and Enforcing Norms

Niku Jafarnia ’20, Patrick Maxwell ’20, and Terrence Neal ’19 — shared their perspectives at a panel discussion in October 2018. S.J.D. candidate Kwabena Oteng Acheampong served as moderator.