Zolberg IRC Fellowship: Policy Communications for Cross-Border Responses to Displacement

  • Spring
  • New York
  • This position has been filled

The Zolberg Institute is pleased to open applications to join the Spring 2019 cohort of Zolberg – IRC Fellows. The deadline to apply is December 31, 2018. Please submit a cover letter, CV and three work samples (writing and/or design portfolio) as one single PDF to Cayce Pack <packc@newschool.edu> with the position for which you are applying clearly in the subject line.

Team: International Programs NYC, Burundi and Tanzania Country Offices

Project Aim: Displacement is a persistent, predominant and interconnected issue in the Great Lakes Region. Collaborative regional solutions should enhance effectiveness, efficiency and speed of response, and enable IRC to better analyze, prepare for, and respond to movements of people. In particular, Burundi anticipates potential returns to increase substantially over the coming year.

Working from IRC’s New York City headquarters during the spring semester, and from IRC’s Burundi and Tanzania Country Offices during the summer, this fellow will develop key policy and communications documents around the regional response to displacement in the Great Lakes Region. In particular, they will work with a range of stakeholders to develop a policy paper addressing the broader context and the specific challenges posed by voluntary returns, and use this information to inform the creation of polished communications products, with the intention of building general awareness and increasing donor engagement.

This fellow will have the opportunity to work with the awards management unit in headquarters and go on to gather stories and case studies on-the-ground, interacting with national staff, partner organizations as well as the people we serve.

This project requires that the Fellow commit to working 15-20 hours during the semester and full-time for 8-10 weeks during summer to be spent in IRC Burundi and Tanzania Country programs (accommodation in IRC staff guest house), returning to IRC NY headquarters to deliver brown-bag presentation.


  • Desk review
  • Phone and in-person interviews of key programmatic, donor relations, and communications staff
  • Position paper on cross-border work
  • Polished communications pieces including a blog post, content for updating IRC website, 2-page donor brief highlighting potential for cross-border work
  • Brown bag presentation in NYC HQ following time in field

Potential travel involved: 8-10 weeks split between IRC Burundi and IRC Tanzania country programs

Student skill sets sought: Humanitarian, migration, and refugee policy; conflict studies; communication and marketing; and professional writing. French skills are highly preferred.

IRC staff mentor:

  • HQ: Thodleen Dessources, Regional Grants Director, Great Lakes Region
  • Field: Melody Munz, Deputy Director for Programs, IRC Burundi; and Silvia Andena/Paul Timothy Mwebe, Deputy Director of Programs, IRC Tanzania

As with all Zolberg IRC Fellowships, Fellows will have the opportunity to work on research, policy communications, and applied innovation projects in areas like migration & protection, education in emergencies, and creative applications of technology or finance to solve grand humanitarian challenges.

Fellows will benefit from the mentorship of the Zolberg leadership—humanitarian professionals from the UNHCR and UNICEF— and the opportunity to work alongside specialists at the New York headquarters of the International Rescue Committee.

Fellows will develop discrete skills (human centered design, behavioral science, machine learning) with the potential for travel and field work to IRC’s 25 domestic offices and 30+ country programs. Fellows will participate in regular knowledge exchange with the Zolberg Institute community. Fellows will also gain access to the ever-growing Zolberg Fellows alumni network, with opportunities to present on work, gain collaborations and connections, and project funding.

This is an excellent opportunity for early career scholars, future humanitarian leaders, transdisciplinary designers, and others to bridge theory and practice and turn ideas into action.