Aryeh Neier Open Society Justice Initiative Fellowships

The Open Society Justice Initiative is pleased to invite applications for its 2015–2017 Aryeh Neier Fellowship Program. The Aryeh Neier Fellowship Program is a two-year program of practical work experience designed to expand the capacity of lawyers and advocates working internationally on human rights issues. In 2015, up to four fellowships will be awarded.

During the first year, each Fellow will devote substantial time to one project, while working on other initiatives as they arise involving litigation, research/documentation, advocacy, and/or pilot initiatives designed to enhance the accessibility, fairness, and effectiveness of justice services. During the first year, each Fellow will be based full-time at one of the Justice Initiative’s offices in Budapest, London, or New York. [Note: We can generally accommodate placement in London only for those applicants who already are eligible to live and work in the United Kingdom.]

During the second year, each Fellow will be based full-time with a local partner organization in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Latin America. Significant attention will be given to ensuring that second-year placements relate to the issues and initiatives that the Fellows worked on during their first year. Several factors will be considered in arranging second-year placements, including the Fellow’s preference, visa requirements, budget feasibility, and the organization’s ability to support the Fellow’s work. Nongovernmental, not-for-profit organizations are preferred, but public, independent offices (such as a government anti-corruption commission) may be considered if a compelling case is made for the potential impact of such a placement.

The first year of the fellowship will start in September 2015, or as soon thereafter as all necessary visa and work permit procedures can be completed.

Eligibility Criteria

All applicants meeting the criteria (below) are encouraged to apply. We are particularly interested in applicants with experience and interest in the following substantive issues, which reflect current priority areas for the Justice Initiative:

  1. Accountability, Liberty & Transparency, focusing on grand corruption, national security and human rights, and freedom of information and expression
  2. Criminal Justice, focusing on accountability for grave crimes and more balanced and effective justice for ordinary crimes, in both national and international systems
  3. Equality & Inclusion, focusing on discrimination, the right to citizenship, and the development and implementation of regional regimes of free movement (eg. the EU, ECOWAS, MERSOCUR)
  4. Rule of Law, focusing on (but not limited to) work to strengthen regional and sub-regional human rights institutions and UN bodies; implementation of rights-based judgments issued by courts and quasi-judicial bodies; legal remedies for economic injustices; and community-based justice services

Purpose and Priorities

In close collaboration with Justice Initiative staff, the Fellows will undertake some or all of the following responsibilities:

  • conducting research on a broad range of justice-related issues
  • drafting and writing (including reports, memos, advocacy documents, blogs, and training materials)
  • monitoring trials, proceedings, and legal developments internationally
  • liaising with other NGOs and justice advocates, including staff of the UN and international and domestic courts, and government officials.
  • attending (and potentially participating in) meetings of UN or regional bodies related to justice, human rights, and rule of law issues of concern to the Justice Initiative
  • helping to organize and attending meetings and conferences with civil society partners, and other stakeholders
  • gathering information and liaising with other Open Society programs and foundations
  • helping to develop and execute evidence-based advocacy strategies

The applicant must demonstrate the following:

  • strong commitment to human rights
  • at least three to five years of prior work experience in the human rights field
  • demonstrated record of accomplishment in undertaking legal research, writing, litigation, and/or advocacy
  • university degree in law or an LLM or MA in human rights; graduate degrees in related fields (e.g., economics, politics, statistics) may in exceptional cases be considered from candidates with at least five years of substantial human rights work experience and a demonstrated capacity to work on legal issues
  • high degree of proficiency in English
  • good research, legal analysis, and drafting skills
  • willingness to take initiative and ability to work both individually and in teams
  • organization skills and attention to detail
  • knowledge of French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, or other languages an asset


All interested applicants are requested to download and send back a completed application form and supporting materials to [email protected]. Include in the subject line: Aryeh Neier Fellow.

As part of the online application, applicants must submit the following additional documents:

  1. A statement of purpose for applying to the Justice Initiative Fellows program in which the applicant indicates (a) the proposed theme(s) in which s/he is interested; (b) reasons for his/her interest in that particular area; (c) how s/he intends to contribute to the chosen field; (d) any ideas for specific approaches that can be applied for the work, preferably in the selected themes; (e) preference for placement for the first year, whether in Budapest, London, or New York; and (f) placement preferences, if any, for countries and/or organizations during the second year [Applicants may choose to propose work outside of the listed priority areas.]
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Copy of relevant diploma(s)
  4. Two recommendation letters

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews. The final selection decisions will be made by the end of April 2015.

For more information see here.

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