Statelessness Summer Course at Tilburg University

The Statelessness Summer Course offers a unique opportunity to learn about and reflect on the challenge that statelessness presents in the international system.

Statelessness is a global phenomenon that currently affects more than 10 million people worldwide. New cases continue to arise every day as states struggle with the challenge of ensuring that everyone enjoys a nationality. For those who find themselves stateless, the lack of a nationality commonly obstructs access to a wide range of other rights, to detrimental effect. Moreover, the harsh impact that statelessness has on the lives of individuals and the fabric of communities may contribute to social tension, forced displacement, and even conflict.

Over the last several years, an increasing number of actors willing and able to address statelessness have emerged. But much work remains to be done in terms of developing a full understanding of the phenomenon and building the required capacity to address it.

The course aims to enable people working in this and related fields—such as refugees, citizenship, human rights, and anti-discrimination—to acquire new skills to better tackle this problem.

The course will be organized on the campus of Tilburg University in Tilburg, the Netherlands. It will run from August 4 to 8, 2014.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligible candidates have experience in working on issues related to citizenship and statelessness, or significant experience in a related field such as minority rights, migration, forced displacement, or child protection, and an interest in the issue of statelessness. Such work experience may have been gained in NGOs, inter-governmental organizations, governments, or research institutes and universities.

A maximum of 30 participants will be admitted to the course, which will be conducted in English.

As both the sessions and the course materials will be in English, applicants should have proficiency in the English language. Foreign-language English speakers should be able to obtain a score of 7.0 in ELTS/IELTS or 570 in TOEFL as a minimum.

Purpose and Priorities

Lasting one week, the course aims to consider statelessness and the right to nationality from various angles. Beginning with a reflection on the concept of statelessness, the course will deal with legal and policy issues associated with statelessness. The course will address the status of stateless persons, their human rights and right to international protection, and ways to research and document statelessness. The course will draw significantly on experiences from many places around the world. In addition, the course will take a closer look at a number of specific questions relating to statelessness, such as the UN Refugee Agency’s mandate and work, the influence of gender discrimination in creating statelessness, and the litigation of the right to a nationality.

The course provides participants with new knowledge, tools, and skills to address statelessness and enforce the right to nationality. The curriculum is taught by lecturers from a variety of backgrounds, both professionally and geographically. Participants from all over the world engage actively in the different sessions, with several opportunities throughout the week to work in smaller teams and focus specifically on their own area of interest. As such, the participants will benefit from the knowledge and professional experience of both the lecturers and their fellow participants.


The course fee is €950. This covers all weekday lunches, tuition, course materials, and a closing dinner. Other evening and weekend meals are not included in the course fee.

A limited number of scholarships are available for applicants who are able to demonstrate how their work would benefit from participation in the course, but who would otherwise be unable to participate. There are five full-scholarships (tuition fee, travel, and accommodation covered by the scholarship) and a limited number of half-scholarships (tuition fee covered by the scholarship) available. Note that all scholarship positions are highly competitive: Should you wish to be considered, please indicate this at the moment of registration and explain clearly how the course would benefit your work in your letter of motivation.

You can apply for the course by downloading the application form and sending the completed form by email to: [email protected].

Please add your CV as an attachment in your email and specify if you would like to be considered for a scholarship.

The closing date for applications is April 1, 2014. All applicants will receive notice as to whether they have been selected for the course by April 15, 2014.