2023 South East Asian fellowship program on drug policy


2023 South East Asian fellowship program on drug policy

12 June 2023

Release, the UK’s centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law, is proud to invite applications to the 2023 South East Asian Fellowship Program on Drug Policy. Fellows will be hosted at Release in London, UK from 25 September – 6 October 2023. This program supports those working in sectors related to drug policy in order to increase their understanding of international drug policy reform issues, to improve their advocacy skills, and to enhance their capacity in working with the media on drug policy. The fellowship seeks to increase the capacity and knowledge of emerging and new leaders in drug policy in the Asian region, including people not necessarily working full-time on drug-related issues.

Fellowship objectives

The objectives of the fellowship are for the participants to:

  • increase their knowledge of global drug policy issues on a region by region approach;
  • increase their understanding of the international drug control system and conflicts with other United Nations priorities;
  • have a greater awareness of the drug policy reform landscape and key figures within that movement;
  • establish links with those working in drug policy, particularly in the UK;
  • build and develop their communications skills, including for media interviews, press releases, press databases, public speaking;
  • have an understanding of the tools for debate, so that they can confidently challenge anti-reform positions;
  • improve their confidence as drug policy advocates both through participation in the program and through ongoing support from the host organisation.

Fellowship agenda

This two-week program will be based within the drug policy organisation Release in London, United Kingdom. Release is the UK’s centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law – providing free and confidential specialist advice to the public and professionals. Release also aims to raise awareness of how British and international drug policy affects those who use drugs in our society. Release has had significant success in both service delivery and campaign work. In particular, the organisation has been very effective in engaging traditional and social media as a forum to promote drug policy reform within the UK and further afield.

The program includes the following topics:

  • Global overview of drug policy reform
  • Overarching issues relevant to drug policy
  • The international drug control system
  • Overview of international human rights in the context of drug policy
  • Drug policy developments in Asia
  • Effective campaigning
  • Media and public engagement

There will also be an opportunity to meet key drug policy organisations, experts and leading policy advocates based in the UK.


Successful candidates will have a track-record of public engagement in human rights, law, or relevant government experience. Ideally their work should intersect with the issue of drug policy and/or human rights. Priority will be given to these applicants. However, we also welcome applications from those working in drug policy reform or another relevant field (e.g., public health) at the local, national or international levels.

Previous fellows have worked in drug policy NGOs, at law enforcement agencies, in national governments, in health care facilities, media, and at universities, among other organisations. Please note that before receiving the fellowship, finalists will be asked to present a letter from their employer agreeing to their two-week participation in the course.

Applicants must have a strong command of the English language to participate in the course. Candidates must fill out the Application Form (downloadable at the bottom of this page) and send it along with their CV to: fellowship@release.org.uk

We are particularly interested in applicants from the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Candidates from Thailand and Singapore are also encouraged to apply.

Please note: the purpose of this program is to promote the capacities of both new advocates and individuals who are emerging leaders in drug policy reform, rather than those already significantly established within the field.

Fellowship terms

The Fellowship program provides funding to a maximum of four people to attend the two-week training program on drug policy reform at Release in London. Funding covers fellows' travel, accommodation, and all associated costs. The placement decision will be made by the program selection committee comprised of regional experts and representatives from Release.

Participation in the fellowship is contingent upon acquiring a letter of support from the finalist’s employer as well as proper immigration and travel authorisations.

The Fellowship is designed to expose participants to international networks of global drug policy and to connect them with various advocates at the host organization, in their home country or region, and globally. Participants are expected to take skills gained during the fellowship back to their home country, further promoting drug policy reform through various projects and initiatives in their home contexts. The program is designed so that the connections and international networks will serve as a resource and support for the fellow both during and following their fellowship experience.



You will hear back from us mid-July.

Course: Two-week program in London will take place from 25 September – 6 October 2023.

About Release

Release is the UK’s centre of expertise on drugs and drug laws, providing free and confidential legal and drug services to people who use drugs and/or those caught up in the criminal justice system. The organisation campaigns for evidence-based drugs policies and for reform of the UK’s current drug policy, with a specific call for the end of criminal sanctions for possession offences. Release has Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council.

Document download: Application Form