The Open Society Fellowship was founded in 2008 to support individuals pursuing innovative and unconventional approaches to fundamental open society challenges. The fellowship funds work that will enrich public understanding of those challenges and stimulate far-reaching and probing conversations within the Open Society Foundations and in the world.
For the current application round, the Open Society Fellowship invites proposals relevant to the following propositions:
Human rights are under siege everywhere. Why?
- Those who carry out human rights analysis and reporting have been seduced by legal frameworks and largely ignore imbalances of power that lead to rights violations.
- Political leaders increasingly play on fears that human rights are a Trojan Horse, threatening societies by promising rights to dangerous “others.”
These statements are intended as a provocation—to stimulate productive controversy and debate—and do not necessarily represent the views of the Open Society Foundations. Applicants are invited to dispute, substantiate, or otherwise engage with one or both of these statements in their submissions. Once chosen, fellows will work on projects of their own design and passion. At the same time, they are expected to take advantage of the considerable intellectual and logistical resources of the Open Society Foundations and contribute meaningfully to the Foundations’ thinking. Fellows will also have opportunities to collaborate with one another as a cohort. It is hoped that the fellowship will not only nurture theoretical debate but also bring about policy change and reform.
Ideal fellows are specialists who can see beyond the parochialisms of their field and possess the tenacity to complete a project of exceptional merit. Proposals will be accepted from anywhere in the world, although demonstrable proficiency in spoken and written English is required. Applicants should possess and demonstrate a deep understanding of the major themes embedded within the statement for which they wish to apply and be willing to serve in a cohort of fellows with diverse occupational, geographic, and ideological profiles. Successful applicants should be eager to exploit the many resources offered by the Open Society Foundations and be prepared to engage constructively with our global network.
The fellowship does not fund enrollment for degree or nondegree study at academic institutions, including dissertation research.
This is a fellowship for individuals only; proposals from organizations or individuals acting on behalf of organizations will not be accepted.
Purpose and Priorities
Open Society fellows produce work outputs of their own choosing, such as a book, journalistic or academic articles, art projects, a series of convenings, etc. In addition, fellowship cohorts may develop a joint work product of some sort. Fellowship staff will assist cohorts in brainstorming possible outputs if needed.
Those interested in the fellowship should first download and review the complete fellowship guidelines.
Applicants are required to submit a one- to two-page, single-spaced letter of inquiry that outlines the topic of the project, proposed work product, and relevance to the statements above. A CV should accompany the letter of inquiry.
Letters of inquiry will be reviewed within five weeks. Applications showing promise will be invited to submit a full proposal.
To apply, submit letters of inquiry here. The deadline to submit letters of inquiry on these statements is March 1, 2017, with responses to applicants by March 24, 2017.