Program Assistant, Advocacy

Posted May 15, 2023

POSITION SUMMARY: Scholars at Risk (SAR) seeks a detail-oriented, research-focused individual with excellent writing skills to join SAR’s Advocacy team as an Advocacy Assistant to contribute research and writing to SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, Free to Think report series, and Scholars in Prison Project. Through the Monitoring Project, SAR conducts research and reporting on attacks on higher education communities worldwide; the data is summarized and analyzed in SAR’s annual Free to Think report. The Scholars in Prison Project builds on Monitoring Project data through research and coordinated advocacy – primarily within the higher education and NGO communities – in support of wrongfully-detained scholars and students. SAR seeks an Advocacy Program Assistant with superior writing skills to contribute to these projects, and to ensure SAR’s research products reach our audiences. The position requires excellent research, writing, and communication skills, as well as a practiced attention to detail and judgment. It is ideal for a proactive, thoughtful individual who takes initiative, enjoys the research process, and likes to work on a small team. The position requires timely and professional communication, including with partners, SAR and NYU staff, media, and the public. The role is based in New York City and will report to SAR’s Sr. Program Officer, Advocacy.

Research and write for SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, which identifies and registers attacks on the higher education sector worldwide; and for Free to Think, the Monitoring Project’s annual summary report (60%)

  • Using SAR’s research methodology, conduct research on attacks on the higher education community, as reported in open sources; and, with the Advocacy team, draft, edit, verify, and publish summary reports
  • Contribute to efforts to assess efficiency of the Monitoring Project and propose and implement improvements
  • On a regular basis, alert Advocacy team to trends in attacks on higher education and to countries of concern, and propose potential responsive advocacy efforts
  • Liaise with Communications and Advocacy staff to ensure  appropriate and timely distribution of the Project’s incidents and key findings, including over social media, in newsletters, and in submissions to stakeholders
  • Drawing on Monitoring Project data, research and draft assigned country highlights and other sections for the Free to Think report, including by connecting with country experts to preview relevant segments of the report
  • Support the production and distribution processes for Free to Think

Conduct research and advocacy in support of SAR’s Scholars in Prison Project (40%)

  • Building on data from the Monitoring Project, research cases of wrongfully detained scholars and students and consider them for SAR’s Scholars in Prison Project
  • Communicate with family, friends, and/or lawyers of scholars represented by the Project; develop and maintain relationships with partner NGOs and higher education colleagues, and identify opportunities for joint advocacy for the scholars
  • Devise and maintain individual case strategies in consultation with the Advocacy team
  • Research and draft letters, memos, and other advocacy actions in support of scholars; and distribute these through SAR’s CRM system.
  • Ensure the Scholars in Prison Project is well-represented on SAR’s website, in newsletters, on social media, and at appropriate events; this includes designing graphics in Canva

In compliance with NYC’s Pay Transparency Act, the annual base salary range for this position is $50,000 – $58,000. NYU considers factors such as (but not limited to) scope and responsibilities of the position, candidate’s work experience, education/training, key skills, internal peer equity, as well as market and organizational considerations when extending an offer.


  • Undergraduate degree, or similar, relevant experience, required.
  • 3+ years’ experience or equivalent combination of education and experience preferred.
  • Commitment to and strong understanding of human rights and contemporary threats to academic freedom.
  • Excellent research, oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Exceptional attention to detail, initiative, time-management, project management, and problem-solving abilities.
  • Ability to manage complex political and cultural factors; difficult information, including human rights abuses; and tensions between long- and short-term goals.
  • Proficiency in wordprocessing and spreadsheet software (e.g., Word/Google Docs, Excel/Sheets), website content management systems (e.g., WordPress) and major social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook).
  • Humility, confidence, flexibility, resilience, unquestionable personal integrity, strong personal and professional judgment, good listener, global mindset, culturally sensitive, welcomes and promotes diversity in all its forms.

Application Instructions

Apply by uploading the requested materials in one combined PDF: (1) a letter of interest, (2) resume, (3) list of references or letters of reference, and (4) a brief, unedited writing sample. DEADLINE FOR INITIAL APPLICATION REVIEW IS MAY 31, 2023. Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis, until the position is filled. No phone calls or email inquiries, please.

Regrettably, SAR is not able to sponsor work-eligible visas.    

Apply Here


In Categories: Career Opportunities