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WIPO Indigenous Fellowship Program 2017/2018 (Fully Funded to Geneva)

Brief description: The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) seeks expressions of interest from suitably qualified indigenous individuals for the WIPO Indigenous Fellowship.

Application Deadline: September 23, 2016

Offered annually? Yes

Eligible Countries: All

To be taken at (country): WIPO Headquarters, Geneva

Role of the Fellow: The Fellow will work under the supervision of the Director of the Traditional Knowledge Division of WIPO, or his delegate, to:

  • assist in the conceptualization, development, organization and undertaking of outreach, awareness-raising and capacity-building activities with indigenous peoples and local communities related to intellectual property and genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions;
  • contribute to and participate in the Secretariat of the IGC and related meetings, with a particular emphasis on the facilities and mechanisms that ensure representation and participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in the IGC process;
  • assist in planning and undertaking WIPO’s activities relevant to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  • carry out relevant research and draft and prepare WIPO documents, WIPO publications and other relevant outreach and awareness-raising materials; and,
  • perform such other tasks that may be required in the context of the work of the Division. The Indigenous Fellow will not be expected to work as an independent scholar, advisor or analyst, but will operate, on a full-time basis, within the WIPO Secretariat and will directly participate in the delivery of core program outputs.

About the Award: The law and practice of intellectual property is of increasing interest to indigenous peoples, stemming from concerns that indigenous cultural heritage and knowledge systems should be recognized and protected in conformity with the needs, expectations and customary practices of their custodians. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, provides that indigenous peoples “have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions”.

The WIPO Indigenous Fellowship builds on a series of initiatives to ensure that indigenous peoples are actively and effectively involved in the work of WIPO on issues that matter to them. It recognizes, and seeks to foster, the strong legal expertise that exists within indigenous peoples, and offers a professional opportunity to an indigenous person to work within the WIPO Secretariat. The Indigenous Fellow will work in WIPO’s Traditional Knowledge Division and be involved in a program of work that is directly relevant to issues of concern to indigenous peoples, including the IGC process, WIPO’s outreach to indigenous peoples and local communities, WIPO’s capacity building activities, and WIPO’s cooperation with the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Offered Since: 2009

Type: Fellowship

Eligibility: The Indigenous Fellow is expected to meet the following requirements:

  • Be a recognized and active member of an indigenous community;
  • Have proven experience in indigenous outreach and in participation in indigenous organizations and networks, including in an international context;
  • Hold legal qualifications, or equivalent in practical experience and community work, preferably with specific components related to intellectual property law;
  • Show ability to work effectively in English; the ability to work fluently and prepare documents suitable for publication in at least one other UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) would be an advantage.
  • Having a record of relevant publications (general awareness-raising, formal legal analysis or scholarly publications) would be an asset.

Selection Criteria: The Indigenous Fellow will be selected on the basis of a demonstrated capacity to contribute directly to the approved program outputs established in the WIPO Program and Budget. The Fellow will need to be available to commence the Fellowship in Geneva in the course of January 2017.

Number of Awardees: One

Value of Scholarship: Travel expenses and a monthly stipend are payable; details are available on request. This is not a regular employment position within the WIPO Secretariat, and it does not lead to employment rights and entitlements beyond the terms of this fellowship.

Duration of Scholarship: One year, renewable for one further year only.

How to Apply: Expressions of interest, formulated through a brief statement by the candidate addressing each of the requirements set out above, accompanied only by a full curriculum vitae (résumé), should be sent to:

Traditional Knowledge Division

World Intellectual Property Organization

34 chemin des Colombettes, 1211 Geneva 20,



by email (

Visit Scholarship Webpage for details

Award Provider: World Intellectual Property Organisation

Important Notes: Only short-listed applicants will be contacted. Short-listed candidates may be interviewed and/or invited to complete a written assignment as part of the selection process.

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