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Bassel Khartabil
Free Culture Fellowship


The first Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship Awarded to Majd Al-shihabi

photo CC-BY Ziad Tareq Hassan

The inaugural Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship was awarded today to Majd Al-shihabi, a Palestinian-Syrian engineer and urban planning graduate based in Beirut, Lebanon.

The Fellowship will support Majd’s efforts in building a unified platform for Syrian and Palestinian oral history archives, as well as the digitizing and release of previously forgotten 1940s era public domain maps of Palestine.

“Even though I never met Bassel, I am realizing that the projects and the communities that I have been involved in are influenced by his spirit of openness and collaboration,” says Fellow Majd Al-shihabi. “I hope that through my projects, I will propagate those visions for re-building our Palestinian and Syrian societies towards a fair and free future.”

“It has been extraordinary to see the range of projects and initiatives proposed for this first Fellowship honoring Bassel’s work," offered Bassel’s widow, Syrian human rights lawyer Noura Ghazi. "I would like to congratulate Majd and the Memorial Fund recipients and I know Bassel would have been a great colleague and supporter of all involved. I wish you good luck with the summit and I regret not being able to be there with you.”

Thank you to everyone who applied! The Fellowship received 90+ applications from all over the world, and all projects were extremely strong, making the choice extremely difficult. Stay tuned for the annoucement of the next year's Fellowship, all applicants are encouraged to re-apply.

The Bassel Khartabil Free Culture Fellowship awards $50,000 + support to an outstanding individual developing open culture in their communities.

This unique and life-changing fellowship promotes the values important to Bassel’s work and life: open culture, radical sharing, free knowledge, remix, collaboration, courage, optimism, and humanity.

The fellow is expected to lead projects or initiatives that will catalyze free culture, particularly in societies vulnerable to attacks on freedom of expression and free access to knowledge. Special consideration will be given to applicants operating within closed societies, under adverse circumstances, and in developing economies where other forms of support are scarce.

What are the Fellowship Benefits?

The fellowship is based on a one-year term, which is eligible for renewal.

  • A stipend of $50,000 USD, paid in 10 monthly installments.
  • A one-time health insurance supplement for Fellows and their families, ranging from $2,000 for single Fellows to $4,000 for a couple with two or more children.
  • An allowance of up to $1,500 towards the purchase of laptop computer, digital cameras, recorders and computer software; fees for continuing studies or other courses, research fees or payments, to the extent such purchases and fees are related to the fellowship.
  • Coverage in full for all approved fellowship trips, including domestic and international travel.
  • Mentorship, skill development, project promotion, and additional fundraising support from the partner network, including travel to various partner offices or conferences.

The Fellowship is intended to allow participants to independently locate wherever they can deliver the most impact for their initiative.

Who are the Reviewers and Partners?

Where Can I Learn More About the Fellowship and Bassel?

How Can I Help Share the Fellowship on Social Media?