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.


Public Policy Students Reflect on Their Internships: Shaileshwori Sharma at Minority Rights Group International

September 17, 2015

Sharma spent summer 2015 interning at Minority Rights Group International, an international NGO that partners with organizations in more than 60 countries to promote the interests of disadvantaged minorities and indigenous peoples. During her internship in the London office, Sharma worked primarily on the four-country 'Walk into My Life' pilot project, helping to coordinate activities and reports from Hungary, Spain, Sweden, and UK.

Public Policy Students Reflect on Their Internships: Nuruddin Ahmed at the Sunlight Foundation

September 1, 2015

Nuruddin Ahmed, Bangladesh
MPA Candidate, Class of 2016
OSIRG Intern, Sunlight Foundation, Washington DC

Ahmed has been spending his summer interning at the Sunlight Foundation, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses technology to make the U.S. government and U.S. politics more accountable and transparent.

Public Policy Students Reflect on Their Internships: Suluck Fai Lamubol at the International Crisis Group

August 27, 2015

Suluck Fai Lamubol, Thailand
MPA candidate, Class of 2016
OSIRG Intern, International Crisis Group, Korean Peninsula Office, Seoul

OSIRG Interns Prepare for Summer Internships During Budapest Workshop

June 23, 2015

Twenty-two students from 11 universities traveled to Budapest, Hungary last week to participate in the Open Society Internship for Rights and Governance (OSIRG) – an experience that Rumbidzai Masango (MPA ’15), one of last year’s students, described as “mind-blowing.”