The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people.
We seek to strengthen the rule of law; respect for human rights, minorities, and a diversity of opinions; democratically elected governments; and a civil society that helps keep government power in check.
We help to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights.
We implement initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media.
We build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information.
Working in every part of the world, the Open Society Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.
As head of research at the Open Society Justice Initiative, I benefit from your work in staying abreast of the full scope and variety of efforts around legal empowerment, which is a core interest of our organization. I have a particular interest in access to justice for indigenous peoples and in land rights more broadly, some of which is captured in our recent report by Jeremie Gilbert, Strategic Litigation Impacts: Indigenous Peoples' Land Rights, and in our strategic litigation. There is also practical overlap between my partnerships and many of you in the network. I hope by joining to learn more about your work, find areas of shared interest where we could reinforce each other's messaging and political pressure, and contribute our research to the discourse.
Franck KAMUNGA is a Human Rights Lawyer from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Stanford University Fellow on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law. Oxford University Fellow on International Humanitarian Law. Currently Team Leader, Human Rights, Justice and Rule of Law Cluster at the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa.
I am a Strategy Specialist with the Open Society Foundations' Legal Empowerment Shared Framework (LE SF), based in New York. The LE SF aims to institutionalize and financially secure systems offering nationwide and/or population-specific community-based justice services for people who are poor and marginalized in eleven low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Two OSF thematic programs (the Public Health Program and Justice Initiative) and 11 country foundations are participating in this 4-year initiative. The countries are Indonesia, Kenya (as of 2018), Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Ukraine and the United States. By working together, the OSF participant programs and partners share experiences and methods with each other on a regular basis to encourage emulation of promising models or approaches. I hope to use the Global Legal Empowerment Network to share news from the LE SF, to learn about updates in the legal empowerment space, and to engage with other members on their initiatives, successes, and challenges.
Marek Szilvasi, PhD. works as Program Officer with the Open Society Foundations’ Public Health Program (PHP), where he is responsible for the Roma health portfolio. He has taught at the Institute of Politics and International Studies of the ELTE University in Budapest, Hungary. In 2017, he has been a visiting fellow at the CAS-SEE/University of Rijeka, Croatia and he was awarded the Martin Alexandersson Research Scholarship of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute to research on the right to water for socially excluded in Europe. Marek obtained his PhD in Sociology from the University of Aberdeen, the United Kingdom. He previously worked as Head of research and human rights education of the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) and at the Secretariat of the European Sociological Association (ESA). His research interests lie in the fields of sociology of (human) rights, political philosophy, socio-legal and postcolonial theories, social inclusion and equality paradigm and environmental justice.
I am a human rights lawyer specialized in equality rights. I manage Human Rights Initiative’s grants portfolio on advancing the rights of Roma minority in Europe. From 2003 to 2009 I worked on legal capacity development and legal empowerment at the Open Society Justice Initiative. Within these fields, I participated in setting up university legal aid and social justice programs in Eastern Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. In 2008-2009 and 2010-2012, Mariana participated as legal skills and human rights trainer in two legal empowerment pilot initiatives in Romania and Moldova, focusing on paralegal training and community empowerment tools. I serve as the President of the Global Alliance for Justice Education, a network of individual justice and legal educators committed to advance social justice worldwide.
Policy Officer with Open Society Foundations
Naira Amin works with Open Society Afghanistan as Program Officer-Human Rights since October 2016. She has previously worked with legal firms as legal advisor and legal assistant. Naira has worked in the American University of Afghanistan as peer mentor. She has depth of knowledge on the laws protecting women and flaws within the laws and legal procedures. She works with civil society, government, and donors. Naira has been judging Philip. C. Jessup International Law Moot Court and Price Media Law Moot Court competitions since 2014 respectively. She is a women rights activist and strives for empowering women. Naira has established Youth for Sustainable Development Organization through which she promotes youth activism and volunteerism. Naira is graduated from Law and Political Science faculty of Kabul University in 2014, she also completed another major in Political Science and Public Administration and a minor in Gender Studies in 2016 at the American University of Afghanistan