Foreign Policy Fellowship

Human Rights First
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Internship / Early Career
  • Posted
    May 04

Position description

Human Rights First welcomes applications from foreign policy fellowship recipients who are looking for placement opportunities in the human rights sector. Applicants must have already identified a potential fellowship program in which they have applied or intend to apply.

Who We Are 

Human Rights First is a non-profit advocacy and action organization with offices in New York, Washington D.C., Houston, and Los Angeles. We challenge America to live up to its ideals. We believe American leadership is essential in the global struggle for human rights, so we press the U.S. government and private companies to respect human rights and the rule of law. When they fail, we step in to demand reform, accountability and justice. Around the world, we work where we can best harness American influence to secure core freedoms. 

Our foreign policy team works with the U.S. government, foreign governments, members of the business community, and other international and local non-governmental organizations to advance a bipartisan U.S. foreign policy rooted in upholding human rights. With authoritarianism and ethno-nationalist populism on the rise around the world, this mission has never been more important. 

Fellowship Opportunities

Human Rights First is interested in hosting fellowship candidates interested in placement on our foreign policy team. We are especially looking for students or recent graduates with a strong interest in and commitment to human rights, specifically in the areas of hate speech and disinformation, ethno-nationalism and populism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, and/or restrictions on space for civil society, with geographical emphasis on events in Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, and Poland, and well as other countries in Europe and Eurasia. 


Major duties and responsibilities will include:

  • Conducting research and assisting in the drafting of policy and advocacy documents in support of the foreign policy team’s priorities, which include: 
  • countering an erosion of human rights norms and institutions;
  • illuminating links between ethno-nationalist, populist, and illiberal voices in the United States, Europe, and Russia; and
  • exposing the evolution of intolerance in Europe and the United States, including through work to counter antisemitism and anti-Muslim bias
  • Developing advocacy and communications plans to influence U.S. government leaders, as well as the general public, on the strategic merits of a values- and rule-of-law-based approach to foreign policy
  • Recommending ways U.S. officials and other key actors can communicate the importance of human rights and support to civil society to foreign governments and to the public 
  • Coordinating visits by human rights defenders and policy advocates
  • Assisting with Human Rights First’s meetings and events 
  • Building and maintaining relationships with officials from the U.S. government, as well as non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations


The ideal candidate will have the following qualifications:

  • Full time enrollment in a graduate level law, public policy, international relations, human rights, or related academic program, or an advanced degree from such a program 
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze foreign policy developments and U.S. foreign policy from a human rights perspective
  • Strong policy-oriented research and English-language writing skills, including the ability to monitor and analyze relevant national and international legal and political developments 
  • Good written and oral advocacy skills, and a demonstrated ability to translate highly technical material for a variety of audiences 
  • Strong understanding of international human rights law and its application
  • Demonstrated capacity to take the initiative, to finish assignments under pressure, and to work collegially with a diverse team of colleagues
  • Experience developing advocacy strategies targeting government actors, the public, or other target groups a plus
  • Knowledge of political dynamics in Eastern Europe and/or the former Soviet Union a plus 
  • Fluency in one or more foreign languages a plus

Application instructions

Potential fellowship candidates who are interested in pursuing placement at Human Rights First should contact Frances Woodard to discuss possibilities. Applicants must have already identified a potential fellowship program in which they have applied or intend to apply. We are most interested in fellowships that provide funding to cover salary and benefits. 

*Please be sure to indicate that you saw this position on*

follow us on Twitter