World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Indigenous Fellowship Program 2019/2020

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Indigenous Fellowship Program 2019/2020

Deadline: October 8, 2018

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) seeks expressions of interest from suitably qualified indigenous individuals for the WIPO Indigenous Fellowship program 2019-2020. The fellowship responds to the reciprocal needs for stronger capacity in the rapidly growing domain of indigenous IP law and for strengthened capacity on IP law and policy for indigenous lawyers and policy advisers.

Since 2009, when the WIPO Indigenous Fellowship Program was launched, members of indigenous and local communities have worked in WIPO’s Traditional Knowledge Division on issues relevant to indigenous peoples. These include the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), outreach to indigenous peoples and local communities, 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.

Role of Fellows

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.

Details and Benefits

Term of fellowship: One year, renewable for one further year only.

Location: WIPO Headquarters, Geneva

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.


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. 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 December 2018 or January 2019.


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.

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

Traditional Knowledge Division
World Intellectual Property Organization
34 chemin des Colombettes,
1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland

or by email ([email protected]) or by fax (+41 22 338 8120)

For more information, visit WIPO Indigenous Fellowship.