Advocacy Assistant

Posted On: May 24, 2022

Media-Related Job

Media Organization: Scholars at Risk

Company Description

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of over 600 higher education institutions and thousands of individuals in more than 42 countries that is leading the charge in protecting and offering sanctuary to threatened scholars and students. SAR’s mission is to protect higher education communities and their members from violent and coercive attacks, and by doing so to expand the space in society for reason and evidence-based approaches to resolving conflicts and solving problems. SAR meets this mission through direct protection of individuals, advocacy aimed at preventing attacks and increasing accountability, and research and learning initiatives that promote academic freedom and related values. SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project identifies and reports attacks on higher education to protect vulnerable scholars and students, hold perpetrators accountable, and prevent future violations.

Job Description

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is seeking a highly-organized and team-oriented individual to join the SAR team as Advocacy Assistant. Reporting to SAR’s Senior Program Officer, Advocacy, the position will focus on conducting research, drafting, and verifying reports of attacks on the higher education sector, publishing these reports through SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, and developing communications that highlight the efforts and issues covered by the advocacy team. The position requires excellent research, writing, communication, social media skills, attention to detail, and judgment. It is ideal for a proactive 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.


50% – Research and reporting on attacks on scholars/academic freedom: SAR researches, documents, analyzes, and reports on attacks on higher education through SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project. The advocacy assistant will:

-- Research, draft, verify, and publish reports of attacks on the higher education sector around the world;
-- Manage an enhanced research system using “smart-search” technology to increase the volume and efficiency of SAR monitoring, including:
--- working with SAR’s technology vendor(s) to develop successful search algorithms to flag potential qualifying incidents of attacks on higher education worldwide;
--- refining efforts based on results to reduce false positives;
--- analyzing results for inclusion in SAR monitoring; and
--- sharing relevant reports and studies via SAR websites, email lists, and social media; and
-- Support background research and conduct fact-checking for the Monitoring Project’s annual Free to Think report, white papers, country briefing papers, and letters of appeal.

50% – Support the advocacy team’s communications and programming: Working with team members and the Advocacy Director, the advocacy assistant will:

-- Integrate advocacy activities and updates into SAR communications and materials, including setting up in EveryAction SAR’s weekly Academic Freedom Media Review (an email bulletin that compiles media articles and other announcements about academic freedom worldwide) and monthly Advocacy Insider (e-newsletter that includes action alerts, attacks on higher education, related media reports, and updates on advocacy clinics and other projects), monthly SAR newsletter, and annual report;
-- Research and draft press releases, digital posts, talking points, and other content that highlight SAR’s advocacy efforts and achievements, including initiatives to support imprisoned scholars and students, submissions to the United Nations and other interstate governmental bodies, and special report releases;
-- Assist in preparing the release of the Free to Think report series, including coordinating a report mailing, press outreach, and event planning;
-- Manage advocacy-related press inquiries and outreach;
-- Generate and update advocacy content on SAR’s website;
-- Prepare social media content, including campaigns supporting advocacy reports and initiatives as well as urgent responses to attacks on higher education;
-- Represent Advocacy on the SAR Communications Committee, including by attending regular meetings;
-- Manage the design and drafting of advocacy materials; and
-- Provide support to advocacy programming, including by conducting research for reports and campaigns, managing the team calendar, ensuring developments are highlighted in SAR-wide internal update emails, taking team meeting minutes, and other related duties.


-- Undergraduate degree, or similar, relevant experience, required.
-- Excellent research and oral and written communication skills in English.
-- Exceptional attention to detail, initiative, time-management, and problem-solving abilities.
-- Experience in human rights or journalistic research and writing desirable.
-- Experience in press outreach and digital communications; strong understanding of social media for nonprofit organizations, including outreach, media, and development.
-- Commitment to human rights, academic freedom, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
-- Ability to manage complex political and cultural factors, difficult information, including human rights abuses, and tensions between long- and short-term goals.
-- Social media, WordPress (or another comparable website design tool), and/or HTML code experience desired.

To Apply

Apply online at Interfolio ( by uploading the requested materials: (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, 2022. Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis, until the position is filled. No phone calls or email inquiries, please.