Open Society Fellows to Address Global Human Rights Crisis

NEW YORK—The Open Society Foundations announced today that 13 fellows from 11 countries will take part in a collaborative effort to counter the global rollback in human rights.

The group includes an investigative journalist, who will study responses to violent extremism in the Sahel region of Africa; a political scientist, who will look at the human rights implications of law enforcement’s use of algorithms; an expert in cognitive linguistics, who will examine the communications strategy and rhetoric used by rights defenders; and an artist, who will reveal the hidden hazards of living in a data-driven world.

By focusing on the perceived rollback of human rights, the fellowship, now in its 10th year of operation, is concentrating for the first time on a single topic of overriding significance.

Open Society Fellows receive project support and a living stipend ranging from $80,000 to $100,000 for a year to pursue projects of exceptional promise and originality.

“We’re excited by the creativity and originality demonstrated by the new fellows as they address a challenging landscape for human rights across the globe,” said Stephen Hubbell, who co-directs the fellowship. “We expect that the cohort, through their individual brilliance, their combined experience, and their diverse perspectives, will bring valuable energy and unconventional thinking to the defense of human rights.”

Open Society Fellows work independently but come together as needed to workshop new ideas and collaborate on common projects.

The Open Society Fellowship was founded in 2008 to support individuals pursuing innovative and unconventional approaches to fundamental open society challenges.

Current Open Society Fellows

Obinna Anyadike will investigate the recruitment and retention of Boko Haram militants in order to better understand the consequences of military approaches to violent extremism.

Zoltán Búzás will write a book about the “evasion” of human rights laws and norms.

Jose Miguel Calatayud will investigate the extent to which human rights in Europe can be resituated within citizen-based political movements.

Luis CdeBaca will apply lessons from corporate social responsibility campaigns to antislavery movements in the United States and globally.

Papa Faye will investigate whether existing legal frameworks effectively guarantee human rights enforcement in resource-rich regions.

William Isaac will explore the human rights implications of using predictive algorithms in policing.

Manu Luksch will create moving image artworks to call attention to the threats posed to human rights by the rise of algorithmically-managed societies.

Anna Macdonald will investigate whether global treaties, such as the Arms Trade Treaty, are effective at delivering progress on human rights.

Nadia Marzouki will challenge the traditional view that liberal secularists are locked in battle with religious fundamentalists, arguing instead that "civic ecumenism" can be a counterweight to religious nationalism.

Jonathan Rowson will work to reframe human rights language with a richer understanding of human nature and human experience.

Ambika Satkunanathan will use feminist institutionalism to research informal governance elements, such as patronage, and their effect on marginalized groups.

Anat Shenker-Osorio will analyze materials from advocacy, opposition, traditional media, social media, and popular culture in order to reveal both promising and problematic rhetoric concerning human rights.

Bilge Yabanci will investigate whether new civil society groups in Turkey are contributing to democratic culture.