• Fully Funded
  • Melbourne

The Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity (AFSE) is a transformative fellowship for Indigenous social equity in Australia, Aotearoa, and Pacific Island nations. Based at the University of Melbourne, the AFSE program represents a more than 20-year investment into Indigenous-led social change through a powerful network of Fellows.

The program features two key components:

  • An intensive foundation year during which Fellows undertake a Master of Social Change Leadership at the University of Melbourne (fee-free), attend six in-person modules, and develop a social change project to deliver upon completion.
  • Following the foundation year, Fellows graduate and become members of the global Atlantic Fellows community, comprised of change-makers from across seven hubs coordinated and led by the Atlantic Institute in Oxford. As of May 2024, there are 902 Atlantic Fellows active in over 80 countries.

A central element of the Fellowship is the social change project. Throughout the foundation year, Fellows refine and develop a social change project, drawing on the most current and impactful critical Indigenous scholarship from Australia, Aotearoa, and around the world.

As part of the application process, applicants are required to write about a social change project they will undertake as part of their fellowship and beyond. While there are various ways to effect change, the program seeks individuals who have experience in and the ability to conceive an Indigenous social change idea. The project does not have to be fully formed, as it is still in the early stages.




The Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity (AFSE) program offers several significant benefits:

  • Educational Advancement: Fellows undertake a fee-free Master of Social Change Leadership at the University of Melbourne, gaining advanced knowledge and skills in social change leadership.
  • Professional Development: The program includes six in-person modules, providing intensive training, workshops, and learning experiences that enhance professional skills and capabilities.
  • Project Development: Fellows develop and refine a social change project during the foundation year, benefiting from guidance, mentorship, and access to current and impactful Indigenous scholarship.
  • Global Network: Upon completion of the foundation year, Fellows join the global Atlantic Fellows community, a network of 902 change-makers active in over 80 countries, facilitating opportunities for collaboration, support, and global impact.
  • Long-term Support: Fellows gain ongoing support and engagement through the Atlantic Institute in Oxford, which coordinates and leads the seven hubs of the Atlantic Fellows community.
  • Indigenous Leadership: The program is focused on Indigenous-led social change, empowering Indigenous leaders to drive meaningful and lasting change in their communities.


The AFSE Fellowship is designed for community-focused, mid-career applicants. As an Indigenous-led social equity program, the majority of Fellows are Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori peoples. However, there are places for non-Indigenous peoples from Australia, Aotearoa and Pacific Island nations who demonstrate a track-record of work in Indigenous affairs and have standing in community as a result of their long-term commitment to Indigenous equity. AFSE welcomes around 20 Fellows each year. You do not have to have an undergraduate degree to apply but if selected will have to undertake postgraduate study.

Are you:

  • A citizen or permanent resident of Australia or Aotearoa or a Pacific Island nation?

  • Not enrolled in any other form of study in 2025 (or have your thesis under examination as at January 2025)?

  • Not already an Atlantic Fellow or a participant in another Atlantic Fellowship program?

  • Willing to commit to a non-residential foundation year experience, which includes:

    • Seven weeks’ travel away from home across the year (see dates in the next section);

    • Approximately ten hours of study time per week;

    • 5000-word assessments per subject (there are eight subjects in total)?

Do you:

  • Have an undergraduate degree or five to eight years of work experience in social change?

  • Have proficiency in English?

  • Have a passport or ability to acquire a passport (for international travel)?

  • If you are employed, have the support of your employer to complete a full year non-residential program which requires at least seven weeks away from work, plus additional study time as required?

Please note: International and national travel is required by all Fellows as the program is held across Australia and Aotearoa. On being accepted into the Fellowship, you will also meet with the Program Director to discuss qualification requirements and eligibility, among other things.


Your application will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • A compelling Indigenous social change idea (doesn’t have to be fully formed);

  • Your demonstrated capacity to create a project around it/your capacity to generate a project (vision);

  • Your demonstrated ability to work collaboratively;

  • Your critical thinking, communication skills, creativity, strategic thinking, and interpersonal skills;

  • Evidence of personal commitment to lifelong learning and skill development;

  • Willingness to participate in and benefit from local and global fellowship opportunities;

  • Examples of how you have worked collaboratively with relevant communities to achieve change.

Final cohort selection will be made with consideration to the composition of the cohort, taking into account several factors, including diversity of Fellows’ work, sector and discipline background, age and gender. The proportion of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Fellows from Australia, Aotearoa and the Pacific will also be considered in the final cohort selection.

For 2025, AFSE is excited to receive applications that strive for Indigenous-led social change in any field, sector or community. We are especially pleased to receive applications that might focus on either (1) Indigenous language and education, or (2) land, water, environment or climate related issues.

Eligible Regions: Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, and American Samoa

Application Process

In the application form you’ll be asked to complete/provide the following:

  1. An eligibility checklist

  2. An application form including relevant personal information

  3. A curriculum vitae of no more than 2 pages which outlines your previous employment, study and experience in social change advocacy and initiatives (voluntary or paid)

  4. A short video of no longer than two minutes in duration answering the following questions:
    • Why will this program benefit you?
    • Why is this the right program for you at this point in time?

  5. Tell us about your social change project idea:
    • Project Overview (What is the overall aim or vision for your project?) Max. 250 words;
    • Approach (How will you implement your project?) Max. 250 words;
    • Collaboration (What partnerships do you have or plan to make? Are you already working with these people and/or communities or do you need to develop these relationships?) Max. 250 words;
    • Rationale (Why is this project important/ needed?) Max. 250 words.

  6. The names and contact details of two referees. These should include your current employer (if applicable) and someone who has experience of your capacity to work collaboratively within organisations and to engage and work with communities.

  7. Confirmation that your employer (if applicable) will allow sufficient time and space throughout the 12-month program to undertake the foundation year.

Application Deadline: August 5, 2024 (18 Days Remaining)

Apply nowOfficial link

For Further Queries

Contact: [email protected]
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