Aryeh Neier Open Society Justice Initiative Fellowships

The Aryeh Neier Open Society Justice Initiative Fellowships offer a two-year program of practical work experience designed to expand a network of lawyers and advocates working internationally on human rights issues. In 2014, four fellowships will be awarded.

During the first year, each fellow will work with the staff of the Open Society Justice Initiative in New York, London, or Budapest on selected litigation, research and documentation, advocacy, and/or pilot projects designed to enhance accessibility, fairness, and effectiveness of justice services.

During the second year, each fellow will be based full-time with a partner organization in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Latin America to support our efforts with that organization.

Applicants should indicate their preferred geographic placement. We can generally accommodate placement in London only for those applicants who are already eligible to live and work in the United Kingdom. 

Eligibility Criteria

The applicant must have:

  • A strong commitment to human rights;
  • Prior work experience in the human rights field;
  • A university degree in Law or an LLM or MA in human rights;
  • A high degree of proficiency in English;
  • Good research, legal analysis, and drafting skills;
  • A willingness to take initiative and the ability to work individually and in teams;
  • Organization skills and attention to detail;
  • Knowledge of French, Spanish or other languages would also be an asset.
Purpose and Priorities

All potential applicants meeting the applicable criteria are encouraged to apply. However, the priority areas contemplated for placement of the 2014–2016 Fellows are:

Accountability, Liberty & Transparency


Systematic grand corruption undermines development, subverts the rule of law and respect for human rights, corrodes trust, and often paves the way for resource-fueled conflict. By identifying and working with other actors already pursuing legal accountability, the core work of the Anticorruption project is to persuade and pressure law enforcement to prosecute such criminality, while supporting locally rooted advocacy for legal and policy changes that make it harder to hide the details of corrupt dealing and to protect stolen assets.

In close collaboration with the staff, a Fellow would undertake some or all of the following responsibilities:

  • Research on a broad range of justice-related issues;
  • Writing (reports, memos, blogs, producing training materials, etc.);
  • Monitoring anticorruption proceedings and developments internationally;
  • Liaising with other NGOs and justice advocates;
  • Editing;
  • Organizing meetings and conferences with stakeholders.

Criminal Justice

International Justice

The Justice Initiative strives to make criminal justice fairer and more effective at both national and international levels by fighting abuses of fundamental rights for the vulnerable and fighting impunity for the most powerful. Our accountability efforts include advocacy, legal capacity promotion, research, and trial monitoring, targeting some of the worst offenses—war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, mass rape, and torture. We seek to improve and support the work of the International Criminal Court and the national court systems of the countries in which some of these atrocities took place, including Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cambodia, Guatemala, and Mexico.

In close collaboration with our staff, a Fellow would undertake some or all of the following responsibilities:

  • Research on a broad range of justice-related issues (such as witness protection, gender crimes, assessing national proceedings, etc.);
  • Writing (reports, memos, blogs, producing training materials, etc.);
  • Trial monitoring;
  • Liaising with other NGOs and justice advocates, including staff of the UN and international and domestic courts, and government officials;
  • Editing;
  • Organizing meetings and conferences with stakeholders.

Equality & Inclusion

Discrimination in Europe

Since 2009 the Justice Initiative has worked to support marginalized groups seek legal remedies against specific manifestations of discrimination. To enhance public understanding of discriminatory practices and pioneer efforts to seek judicial enforcement of rights, we and our partners have carried out rigorous field research, developed videos, blogs, reports and photo exhibitions, and convened discussions in communities affected by discrimination. This work complements and contextualizes our efforts to pursue groundbreaking lawsuits. The Fellow’s major responsibilities will link to our work in Germany and will include:

  • Participating in efforts to re-frame the public policy debates about education and integration in Germany, by working with journalists and community activists;
  • Collecting and/or supporting collection of ethnically disaggregated data that reveals differences in academic performance between pupils of different ethnic backgrounds;
  • Supporting community efforts to advocate for a school-level complaints mechanism that will be accessible to parents and students and allow more information about discriminatory practices to come to light, beginning with a pilot project in Berlin.

Rule of Law

Economic Justice

While some of the Justice Initiative’s existing work on resource corruption and access to information touches on issues of economic equity and the human rights consequences of the unequal distribution of wealth, we have never explicitly addressed economic justice issues. The Fellow will help to develop and undertake concrete work on one to two new economic justice projects chosen from among six areas we have identified (excessive indebtedness, tax justice, land and resources, informal economics, access to public services, and criminalization of poverty). The scope of work will include:

  • Desk research;
  • Consultations with local partners;
  • Help with conceptualizing and preparing for meetings and events;
  • Drafting of legal and advocacy documents;
  • Coordinating among various other components of the Open Society Foundations as well as outside partners.

Post-2015 Development Agenda

Members of the United Nations are now debating future global development priorities, ahead of the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals at the end of 2015. Over the past year, the Justice Initiative has argued for the inclusion of the rule of law and effective access to justice as priorities within this new development framework. The Fellow’s responsibilities will include:

  • Working with staff across the Justice Initiative—from the advocacy, legal empowerment, equality and inclusion, and other teams—to conduct research about the political positions of member states;
  • Assisting in developing materials that demonstrate the measurability of justice;
  • Attending meetings with civil society partners as well as at the UN;
  • Gathering information from and liaising with other programs and foundations interested in the process;
  • Helping to organize events and meetings;
  • Drafting research memos and advocacy documents.

All interested applicants are requested to send the completed application form and supporting materials to, indicating “Aryeh Neier Fellow” in the subject line.

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

  • A statement of purpose for applying to the Justice Initiative Fellows program in which the applicant indicates which of the proposed themes s/he is interested in, reasons for his/her interests in that particular area, and how he/she intends to contribute to the chosen field. Applicants are encouraged to propose their ideas for specific approaches that can be applied for the work, preferably in the selected themes. Applicants may choose to propose work outside of the listed priority areas;
  • Curriculum Vitae;
  • Copy of relevant diploma(s);
  • Proof of English proficiency (i.e. TOEFL score, proficiency exam certificate, etc.);
  • Two recommendation letters.

It is preferable but not required to have a supporting letter from a civil society organization where the applicant would like to undertake the second-year part of the fellowship on the selected topic.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews. The final selection decisions will be made by April 2014.

Upon selection, Fellows will be required to sign an agreement with the Justice Initiative, committing themselves to the program for a period of two years.

For any additional information about the program itself, please contact:

Anna Fischer
Program Officer
Open Society Justice Initiative
Oktober 6. u. 12, Budapest 1051
Tel: +361 882-3108
Fax: +361 882 3103