Advancing Human Rights through Higher Education

The International Higher Education Support Program (HESP) of the Open Society Foundations invites proposals for projects that enhance the role of university communities in the advancement of human rights. Proposed projects shall address pressing, locally relevant human rights issues and offer creative responses to these issues, fostering supportive and engaged universities which serve their communities and shape public discourses and values towards the advancement of human rights. Projects shall approach human rights from more than a theoretical perspective and forge collaborations between university communities and civil society toward tackling pressing human rights issues.

HESP will consider support for projects that include, but are not limited to, at least two of the following areas of activities:

  • Action Research
  • Teaching & Public Education
  • Community Impact
Eligibility Criteria

Proposals from academic-community partnerships from any academic field and addressing any relevant human rights issue will be considered. The projects will be supported in the countries of HESP’s current ongoing activities which include the following:

Argentina, Belarus, Botswana, Burma (Myanmar), Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Peru, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Involvement of international partners and contributors playing non-leading and advisory roles in projects is not limited to the geographies above.


Project proposals should be submitted in English using the provided application form and not exceed four pages in length (not including supporting documents).

Submissions should be made electronically to [email protected]. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to develop project proposals and budgets in further detail in consultation with the HESP staff.

HESP will consider funding requests of up to a maximum amount of US$25,000 reflecting the scope of proposed projects. The maximum duration of a project is 12 months.