Economic Activism Summer School: Corporate Research for Social Justice Activism

*** The deadline to apply to this program has now passed ***

The Economic Activism program of the American Friends Service Committee is excited to announce our inaugural summer school and service-learning session.

Large corporations hold immense political power and enjoy legal impunity. When such economic actors profit from mass incarceration, military occupation, immigrant detention, or surveillance and policing, they tend to use their political influence to deepen and entrench these harmful activities.

The Economic Activism program aims to expose, isolate, and reduce corporate complicity in state violence. We promote economic activism and corporate social responsibility initiatives through strategic campaign support, corporate research, education, training/skill-sharing, and coordination across different places and issues. We publish the Investigate database of corporations complicit in mass surveillance and the U.S.-Mexico border, in mass incarceration and detention, and in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Syrian land.

Our inaugural summer school will bring together a cohort of about a dozen participants for online training in corporate research for activism. This 2-months program consists of weekly 3-hour sessions, including basic economic and financial literacy, divestment and boycott strategies, and a skills lab guiding participants in corporate research and campaign research. All sessions will be online.

Participants will receive a completion certificate, valuable experience, training, and a stipend of up to $1,000. Preference will be given to student activists and to candidates nominated by an organization or an activist group.

Participants must commit to full attendance in a weekly 3-hour long online session during July and August, as well as an additional 7 hours a week of service-learning work on a research project that will be assigned to them. The weekly sessions will happen every Thursday at 3-6 PM Pacific Time (6-9 PM Eastern Time), beginning on July 2 and ending August 27. The additional 7 hours of service-learning will be completed independently at any time during the week.

We may have some spots available for AFSC staff and movement allies who would like to audit the class for 2 hours a week, without a stipend or service learning hours.

Applications are due by June 10.

To apply:

If you are interested in being a "full participant," including service-learning and a stipend, send your CV, a short (no more than 2-page long) writing sample, and a cover letter of no more than one page, answering these questions:

  1. This is a training in corporate research for activism. Why are you interested in learning about this topic? Can you think of ways you would use these skills in the future?
  2. Do you have any activist or organizing experience working on any of the issues covered by our research on Investigate (immigrant rights, Palestinian rights, prison abolition, mass surveillance)? If so - tell us a little about it. Are you currently involved in any economic or corporate activism campaign?
  3. Do you have any relevant research experience - researching corporations, finance, or any of the issues covered by our research on Investigate?

Applicants are requested to save June 15, 4-5 pm Pacific | 7-8 pm Eastern for a short online exercise.

If you are interested in auditing the class, without the service-learning component or stipend, just send us the cover letter answering the same three questions as above. This will help us prepare the training. You will not need to complete the exercise.

In your application, make sure to mention if you would like to be a "full participant" requiring a stipend, if you are only interested in auditing the course, and if you are representing another organization.

Email your application as an attachment to by June 10 with the subject line: “Application to Summer School - <your last name>”.

updated on
11 June 2020