Latin American Advocacy Fellowship on Drug Policy Reform

The Open Society Global Drug Policy and Latin America Programs invite applications to the 2014 Latin American Advocacy Fellowship Program on Drug Policy Reform. Fellows will be hosted in drug policy organizations in London (Release), Amsterdam (Transnational Institute), or New York (Harm Reduction Coalition). This program supports those working in sectors related to drug policy in order to improve their advocacy skills and to enhance their capacity in working with the media on drug policy. The fellowship seeks to add to a core group of existing high-profile drug policy activists in the Latin American region, including people not necessarily working full-time on drug-related issues. 

Eligibility Criteria

Successful candidates will have a track-record of public engagement in the issues of drug policy reform or another relevant field at the local, national, or international levels. Applications are welcome from those working in drug policy NGOS, law enforcement agencies, and government employees or academics working in this or related policy areas, and who are based in the Latin American region.

Ineligibility Criteria

The purpose of this program is to promote the capacities of new advocates in drug policy. Current recipients of the Global Drug Policy Program’s and/or joint Global Drug Policy and Latin America Programs’ grants are not eligible to apply for the fellowship.

Purpose and Priorities

The objectives of the fellowship are for the participants to:

  • Increase their knowledge of global drug policy reform issues with a focus on Latin America;
  • Increase their understanding of the international drug control system and system incoherence within the UN;
  • Have a greater awareness of the drug policy reform movement and in particular the key players within that movement;
  • Establish connections with those working in drug policy;
  • Build and develop their communications skills, including for media interviews, press releases, press databases, and public speaking;
  • Have an understanding of the tools for debate, so that they can confidently challenge anti-reform positions.

Fellows will attend a two-week program with one of three drug policy organizations: Release in London, UK; Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, Netherlands; or Harm Reduction Coalition in New York City, United States. 

The program includes the following topics:


  • Global overview of drug policy reform;
  • Overarching issues relevant to drug policy reform;
  • The international drug control system;
  • Overview of international human rights in the context of drug policy;
  • Drug policy developments in Latin America;
  • Effective campaigning;
  • Media and public engagement.

Transnational Institute

  • UN drug control treaties: the basic structure, history, and application of this legal base for drug control;
  • Global drug control: the working of the International Narcotics Control Board, Commission on Narcotic Drugs, and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime within the UN system;
  • The Dutch drug market and model;
  • Drugs and conflict: insights about the interaction between conflicts of different kinds and drug markets;
  • Harm reduction on supply side: developing policy to reduce the harms of drug markets;
  • Drugs and crime: organized crime and global drug markets;
  • Communications training: how to work with the media.

Harm Reduction Coalition

  • Dynamics of drug policy reform, barriers to altering the status quo, and strategies for supporting reform efforts substantiated in new visions of drug policy, to be carried out through applicable initiatives in Latin America;
  • Introduction to the international drug policy reform movement and main stakeholders;
  • Drug policy developments in Latin America and around the world;
  • Presentation skills, including engaging with mass media, and tools for the debate;
  • Study visits to key drug policy organizations;
  • Meetings with experts and important leaders.

Please download the complete guidelines at left for further information.