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The APLab is committed to using our knowledge and skills to support the struggle for freedom and democracy around the world.

To this end, the APLab has partnered with OVD-Info, one of Russia’s most important human rights organizations, to establish the OVD-Info APLab Human Rights Fellowship. Designed for undergraduates, the Fellowship allows students to participate directly in the defense of human rights and freedom by assisting OVD-Info in its work.

About OVD-Info

OVD-Info is an independent, grassroots human rights and media organization that focuses on freedom of assembly and expression. Supported by thousands of volunteers in Russia and around the world, OVD-Info works to end political persecution in Russia by providing on-the-ground legal aid, advocating for systemic change, and raising awareness of human rights violations, including via reports to the United Nations. OVD-Info’s data on repression is widely used by academics, journalists and other researchers.

As Russia’s increasingly repressive regime works to suppress OVD-Info, the organization’s mission is more important than ever. OVD-Info is reinventing their English-language communications to access an international audience and spotlight human rights violations in Russia.

The OVD-Info APLab Human Rights Fellowship is designed to help achieve this transformation by pairing Carolina undergraduates with advanced Russian skills with OVD-Info’s staff and volunteers to produce important content with a global reach.

The Fellowship

The Fellowship is a semester long experience. Fellows produce and translate two stories per month from Russian into localized English in cooperation with the OVD-Info’s team. These articles will be published on OVD’s English language website. In addition, each Fellow will create a feature article over the course of the semester on a Human Rights in Russia topic of interest to themselves for placement in general interest publications and websites.

Current Fellows

Aden Laws is a senior at UNC Chapel Hill. For all his life, Aden has been fascinated with language and literature. His first foreign language is Russian, followed by German, Norwegian, Icelandic, and some philological languages. Throughout high school and college, Aden has discovered his love of Slavic culture and has worked as the president of the Carolina Slavic Club since his second year of university. In a world that’s increasingly losing faith in Russia, Aden considers it important to remind everyone that the Russian opposition movement is still working against Putin at every turn. The OVD fellowship provides a great opportunity to spread truthful information and rekindle the fight against authoritarianism. Aden hopes to use the OVD fellowship to remind both Russians and others alike that we all have the same goals: the end of the war and the authoritarian regime waging it.

Isaiah Standridge

Previous Fellows

Emma Kaplon is an honors student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying Russian and English & Comparative Literature. Emma learned Russian through coursework, extracurriculars, and time studying abroad in Petrozavodsk, Russia and Yerevan, Armenia. She has experience in magazine journalism and with cultural and political research about the Russian-speaking world in both Russian and English, having been an intern at Russian Life Magazine.

“For the past six months, I have been translating articles about the war in Ukraine from Russian to English, localizing language and adding cultural and historical context for native English-speaking audiences. Now, the OVD-Info team is supporting my journalistic research and efforts to reframe the historical narrative of Russian prison literature in a modern context by providing a platform for Russian writers, poets, artists, and musicians arrested for their stance against the war in Ukraine to share their work and experiences. When I complete my research, OVD-Info will help me publish the article in a journal or newspaper that can spread the information to the English-speaking world.”

– OVD-Info Fellow Emma Kaplon

How to Apply

Information about the 2024-2025 Fellowship will be announced in the Spring semester.

Support the Fellowship

Donor support ensures that the OVD-Info APLab Fellowship can continue providing Carolina students with the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the struggle for human rights and freedoms. Contact Graeme Robertson for more information.