Director of Research and Analysis Refugee Program, Human Rights First


In this position the candidate will direct and conduct legal, factual, and policy research and reporting, conduct policy analysis and advance advocacy efforts directed at the U.S. government to promote the protection of refugees, reform U.S. asylum law, policies and practices, address deficiencies in the U.S. resettlement system, and bring other U.S. immigration policies and forced displacement policies and practices into line with international refugee protection and human rights law standards. The Director, who will report to the Senior Director for Refugee Protection, also works closely with the Associate Director, Refugee Advocacy, as well as Human Rights First’s legal representation, advocacy, communications, technology and development teams.


  • Direct research, reporting and materials preparation, including: desk research, interviews, FOIA applications and fact-finding trips, designed to help achieve the organization’s advocacy objectives analyze laws, policies, practices, and proposed legislation and policies of the U.S. government as well as other governments or intergovernmental organizations affecting human rights, and draft specific and practical recommendations to improve the promotion and protection of refugee rights oversee regulatory comments and other proposals for changes to rules, laws or policies produce reports, recommendations, website content, fact sheets, written content specific to campaigns and ongoing initiatives, press materials, legal and other research memos
  • Build and maintain relationships with journalists, legal practitioners, refugees and their advocates, faith groups, non-governmental organizations, foreign government and international organizational officials.
  • Coordinate with Human Rights First’s Associate Director, Refugee Advocacy and other team members in building and maintaining relationships with executive branch officials, staff and congressional offices, particularly with respect to Human Rights First research and analysis efforts
  • Direct refugee protection team efforts to leverage social media, technology and other tools to support our research, reporting, and advocacy efforts, working with the communications and innovation lab teams
  • Develop and supervise work of Senior Research and Policy Counsel, fellows, and other research/analysis staff, as well as research, analysis and reporting contributions and projects conducted by members of other teams, and ensure appropriate distribution of tasks
  • Represent Human Rights First as an expert with U.S. government officials, other governments, the media, intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, coalitions, campaigns, and other interlocutors and build a public profile to regularly share and elevate Human Rights First’s research and analysis
  • Direct initiation of panels, convenings, discussions, and briefings to help advance Human Rights First policy recommendations and elevate its research and analysis
  • Direct the development and regular updates of U.S. policy recommendations and policy briefs on relevant issues
  • Identify opportunities for potential litigation and support amicus and litigation efforts in areas of factual and legal expertise
  • Lead, in consultation with colleagues, relevant organizational planning, strategy development and evaluation, including by promptly identifying emerging challenges and trends in human rights and U.S. policy, developing strategies to address these challenges, directing research into possible new objectives and strategies, as well as tracking and regularly relating progress toward meeting these goals
  • Develop advocacy strategies in coordination with Human Rights First’s Associate Director, Refugee Advocacy, and other team members to achieve the organization’s objectives, as well as in advocacy meetings with decision makers in both the legislative and executive branches
  • Coordinate with advocacy and representation team colleagues to enhance collaboration with refugee representation team through strategies and communications to help identify cases that support Human Rights First’s research and advocacy, and targeted projects involving refugee representation team members
  • Identify best practices and guidance in the conduct of research, develop and implement training for teams conducting research, both within the refugee protection team and across the organization
  • Contribute to and lead refugee protection team input to donor proposal drafting and reporting, and contribute to fundraising outreach and events
  • Participate in and generate ideas for Human Rights First events
  • Regular presence in or travel to Washington DC, presence or travel to offices where supervised staff are based, and regular travel for research, presentations, briefings meetings and events. The staff member would preferably be based at Human Rights First’s Washington or New York offices, but could potentially be based in the Los Angeles office or other U.S. locations, as the position can be performed mostly remotely, subject to the above travel and presence requirements
  • Other duties as requested based on department and/or organizational need


  • Degree in a discipline related to international human rights; advanced degree preferred
  • At least 9 years of relevant legal and/or human rights work experience; law degree highly preferred
  • Significant knowledge of international human rights and refugee protection standards including as they relate to asylum, migrant rights, and displacement
  • Fluency in Spanish preferred
  • Significant and in-depth knowledge of U.S. asylum and immigration policies and proceedings, as well as expertise on immigration detention, and experience working with refugee and immigrant populations in the United States
  • Familiarity with international refugee protection challenges, mechanisms and strategies
  • Prior policy advocacy experience, including with the U.S. government
  • Strong research, writing, report drafting, and policy analysis skills and expertise, including ability to monitor and analyze relevant national and international legal, political and other conditions
  • Strong written and oral advocacy skills and a demonstrated ability to translate highly technical material for a variety of audiences, including through the media and social media
  • Demonstrated capacity to take initiative, to finish assignments under pressure and to work collegially with others
  • Prior supervisory experience required
  • Prior experience on refugee resettlement, human rights and displacement issues in the Americas region and/or relating to climate preferred
  • Ability to work comfortably in a variety of settings, including legal, academic, and governmental
  • Ability to work successfully across organization lines and with a diverse team of colleagues

How to Apply:

Interested candidates should apply at