Program Officer

Open Society Foundations

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to criticism, whose laws and policies are open to debate and correction, and whose political institutions are open to the participation of all people. We seek to strengthen justice and the rule of law; broaden respect for human rights, including the rights of minorities; encourage pluralism and a robust diversity of opinion; deepen democratic practice and participation; expand economic equity; support effective governance; and invest in individuals, public and private organizations, and social movements that advance these goals.

We are a global network of foundations committed to local knowledge and national expertise. Our network includes national foundations, regional foundations, and other geographic programs operating in more than one hundred countries. At the same time, many programs with global reach operate from our four headquarters in Europe and the United States, including programs on digital information, documentary photography, drug policy, early childhood, education, fellowships, fiscal governance, higher education, human rights, international migration, justice, public health, scholarships, think tanks, and women’s rights. In addition to making grants to organizations and individuals, the Open Society Foundations engage in policy advocacy, legal advocacy and litigation, program-related investing, and public communications, as well as providing direct assistance to governments. Most programs and foundations in the network are governed or advised by their own boards.

The Open Society Foundations are the global philanthropies of George Soros, who, as chairman, plays an active role in the work of the foundations. 

Job Profile

The program officer will be responsible for the ongoing development and implementation of grantmaking strategies for the Open Society Human Rights Initiative to examine how technology innovations can enhance human rights activism. Additional responsibilities include the following:

Overall program development and implementation: develop a strategy and grantmaking portfolio for the Human Rights Initiative to explore how human rights groups can leverage technology to ensure effective data collection, documentation, and advocacy to challenge rights violations and enhance efforts to promote freedom of expression and assembly; support key partners working in the human rights and technology space; and engage with cross-program and network-wide initiatives to support innovation in the human rights and technology fields.

External relations: support the growth and maintenance of the Human Rights Initiative’s relationships with key actors in the human rights and technology field, including technologists and activists, technology and human rights donors, and other partners that can deepen the impact of our grantees and enhance the work of the field.

Program management: develop and implement a grantmaking strategy in close collaboration with Human Rights Initiative team members and other relevant Open Society Foundations staff to explore the intersection between technology and human rights, including efforts to increase access to critical human rights data, to understand the limits and possibilities of digital organizing, and to support peers and partners to enhance information security and knowledge management.

Program monitoring and evaluation: ensure robust review of our current investments that looks at both the thematic and geographic distribution of our resources and support cross-program learning about the intersection of human rights and technology, including efforts to monitor grantmaking and to document our work in this area.

Administration: assist in the planning and developing of annual budget and ensure administrative systems appropriately document and report on our work.


This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced professional with in-depth experience working at the intersection of technology and human rights.

The successful candidate will have experience working internationally, preferably with a working knowledge of regional and international human rights institutions. The successful candidate will also be an excellent writer, with superb analytical and interpersonal skills, excellent organizational and communication skills, with sensitivity to cultural communication differences. Diplomatic and problem-solving skills with a good sense of humor will be valuable.

Additional qualifications include the following:

  • Advanced degree in relevant field and at least five years of relevant experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience;
  • Strong knowledge and background in the technology and human rights fields;
  • Flexibility and willingness to work simultaneously on a wide range of tasks and projects and ability to prioritize tasks;
  • Excellent team work skills, able to work effectively in highly collaborative environment and as a member of multiple teams;
  • Knowledge of foreign language strongly preferred.
Work Environment and Physical Demands

Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting with a low level of noise. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package.
Application Instructions

Please email resume and cover letter with salary requirements by September 19, 2014, to: Include job code PO-HRI in subject line.