NEW YORK—The Open Society Foundations are pleased to announce the appointment of Alethia E. Jones as director of the Open Society Fellowship Program, effective December 3.
Jones is a social justice scholar, educator, advocate, and author, focusing on U.S. urban policy, immigration, and workers’ rights. In addition, she has taught comparative urban studies in Brazil, South Africa, and Vietnam. She directed the Education and Leadership Development Department at 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest multi-state health care union local in the United States, where she aligned leadership strategy with executive, staff, and worker training initiatives. She served on the faculty of the University at Albany (State University of New York) with affiliations in the policy, political science, and women’s studies departments. She is co-editor of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith, an award-winning book on the origins and legacy of intersectional movement building.
“I am excited to join Patrick Gaspard and the entire Open Society Foundations team,” said Jones. “There is no better place to identify and support cutting-edge thinkers and change-makers as they incubate ideas and cultivate creative interventions into contemporary challenges. With colleagues and allies around the globe, we will expand our fellowships strategy and ensure open societies flourish in the 21st Century and beyond.”
Jones has spent her career engaging questions of immigration, inequality, and identity. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, she emigrated to the United States at the age of 11. She received her BA in urban studies and cultural anthropology from Columbia University and a PhD in political science from Yale University. She has written for a variety of publications and received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, Coro, MIT, and the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs, among others. In addition to decades of consulting experience, she has served on national and regional boards, including the Black Immigration Network, the New York Civil Liberties Union, Jobs with Justice, Interfaith Worker Justice, and the Underground Railroad History Project. She has also been active in local chapters of the Gamaliel Network and the New Sanctuary Movement.
“Alethia is a gem,” said Open Society Foundations President Patrick Gaspard. “I am thrilled that she will be joining us and bringing her scholarship and deep experience in developing activists dedicated to progressive change to the foundations. At Open Society, we regard fellowships as a critical tool and complement to our grant making and advocacy. Our future fellows are in for a treat.”
The Open Society Fellowship program selects leading practitioners in journalism, advocacy, public policy, academia, and the arts who are able to engage productively with the Foundations. For more on the program’s mission and a list of its grantees and fellows, visit the Open Society Fellowship page.