Open Society Internship for Rights and Governance


The Open Society Internship for Rights and Governance is a project of the Open Society Foundations that launched in the summer of 2013 in partnership with the School of Public Policy at Central European University. It is designed to inspire a new cohort of practitioners committed to working both in the public interest and at the forefront of global policy.

The highly competitive program allows a limited number of students from top public policy schools to immerse themselves in the ideas and practice of open society through a clinical seminar in Budapest at the School of Public Policy of the Central European University, followed by an eight- or twelve-week intensive internship at a policy- and rights-oriented nongovernmental organization selected for its outstanding work.

Download a complete list of host institutions.

Eligibility Criteria

Applications will only be accepted from the following universities:

  • American University of Beirut, Faculty of Arts & Sciences (Beirut, Lebanon)
  • Birzeit University Muwatin Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (West Bank, Palestine)
  • Boğaziçi University Department of Political Science and International Relations (Istanbul, Turkey)
  • Harvard Kennedy School of Government (Massachusetts, United States of America)
  • The International University of Rabat, School of Political Science (Rabat, Morocco)
  • School of Public Policy at Central European University (Budapest, Hungary)
  • Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs (Paris, France)
  • The University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy (Illinois, United States of America)
  • University of the Andes Alberto Lleras Camargo School of Government (Bogota, Colombia)
  • University of the Andes Masters in International Law (Bogota, Colombia)
  • The University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law (Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong)
  • The University of Hong Kong Journalism and Media Studies Centre (Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong)
  • University of Oxford Blavatnik School of Government (Oxford, United Kingdom)
  • University of Pretoria Centre for Human Rights (Pretoria, South Africa)
  • University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs (Toronto, Canada)

If you are a candidate for a master’s degree at one of these universities and you would like to apply to the Open Society Internship for Rights and Governance, please contact your university directly for the 2017 application guidelines and form. At the School of Public Policy at Central European University, students enrolled in the MPA program are eligible.

Purpose and Priorities

Individuals committed to advancing local and global forms of human rights and justice are constantly confronting new and unforeseen challenges. This changing landscape coupled with the dynamic role of civil society actors complicates our understanding of human rights promotion. Simultaneously, information and communication technologies, freedom of movement, and democratic accountability afford policy practitioners new channels through which they can increase human welfare and dignity. These conditions require innovative policy ideas that effectively integrate theory and practice to foster and sustain open societies.

The Open Society Internship for Rights and Governance is specifically tailored to invest in the next generation of leaders poised to pursue these ideas. The program takes a broad definition of human rights and governance that is inclusive of promoting fundamental freedoms, expanding public access to information, challenging inequalities through development and rights, and advancing approaches to ensuring transparency and accountability in a global context.

OSIRG News

SPP students return to Budapest from fruitful OSIRG internships

October 9, 2014

“I don’t want to say mind-blowing, but I can’t think of another word to describe the experience,” reflected Rumbidzai Masango (MPA ’15) on her summer with the Open Society Internship for Rights and Governance (OSIRG). This past summer, five School of Public Policy (SPP) students participated in OSIRG, a highly competitive program that allows selected students from top public policy schools to undertake six- to eight-week internships at policy- and rights-oriented NGOs around the world.

Rumbidzai Masango (MPA ’15) Presents ISHR Statement at UN HRC

September 16, 2014

How would you react if your manager asked you to deliver a speech in front of the United Nations Human Rights Council? Rumbidzai Masango, a second-year MPA candidate at SPP, “nearly fainted and was speechless” when presented with this rare opportunity.

SPP Welcomes the Second Cohort of Participants in the Open Society Internship for Rights and Governance Program

June 16, 2014

The second Open Society Internship for Rights and Governance (OSIRG) kicked off in Budapest on June 13. Created by the Open Society Foundations (OSF) and the School of Public Policy (SPP) at CEU, this highly competitive program allows a limited number of students from a select number of top public policy schools around the world to immerse themselves in the theory and practice of human rights governance through a Clinical Seminar in Budapest at SPP.