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Top 10 Ivy League Courses to Hone Your Human Rights CV

Brown,  Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale, collectively known as the Ivy League are some of the most renowned colleges in the world, but you don’t need to attend them in person in order to benefit from their world class education.

In an increasingly competitive employment market, candidates looking to get jobs in human rights often need a broader range of expertise and experience to stand out from the crowd and secure the position. We have collated a list of 10 courses from Ivy League schools that will help hone your CV with skills employers look for and help you successfully secure your job in human rights.

#1 Social Norms, Social Change

Social Norms, Social Change parts I and II are courses provided by the University of Pennsylvania in partnership with UNICEF. The course teaches learners how to diagnose social norms, and distinguish them from other social constructs such as customs or conventions. Understanding these distinctions is essential to be able to construct effective policy interventions and foster new, beneficial norms whilst eliminating harmful ones.

The course includes real world examples focusing on human rights issues such as child marriage, gender-based violence and sanitation practices.

Part I introduces basic concepts and definitions, and how you can measure expectations and preferences in order to be able to assess if an intervention was successful or not and why. Part II further examines social change and the tools that can be used to enact change, putting in to practice everything learnt during part I.

Whilst this course will be of use to anyone looking to pursue a career in human rights or to further build upon their existing skillset, it will be particularly useful for anyone looking to work in human rights with a focus on advocacy, policy or campaigning work. Through knowledge gathered in this course you will gain a better understanding of the mechanisms at work behind social norms and the various intervention strategies that can be used to help effect real human rights impact through social change.

#2 Feeding the World

Feeding the World from the University of Pennsylvania is a course that explores the concepts driving current food production science (population growth, urbanization, emerging affluence, resource constraints and underlying biological limits.

The course also looks closely at the challenges, problems and global issues faced in these food systems that scientists, farmers and veterinarians are trying to solve through collaboration.

With a focus on animal food systems and sustainability, this course provides important core knowledge for those working on global food security and related issues such as the impact of animal production on the environment and natural resources, and animal welfare.

Multiple human rights organizations work specifically on the right to food and combatting hunger. Examples include the UN World Food Program, the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Beyond that, countless NGOs such as Action against Hunger, Freedom from Hunger, No Kid Hungry and Bread for the World work to end hunger globally. Taking this course might provide you with essential information that you can use in a job interview and help you gain a broader understanding of the challenges surrounding world hunger.

#3 Music and Social Action

Music and Social Action from Yale asks the question, what is a musician’s response to the condition of the world? The course explores the critical role that music plays in society, and includes inquiry into a set of ideas in philosophy of aesthetics; a discussion about freedom, civil society, and way that art can play a role in preparing people for democracy; discussion on philosophy of education as it relates to the question of positive social change; and an exploration of musical and artistic initiatives that have been particularly focused on positive social impact.

Music and art play an important role in human expression and similarly the arts can play an important role in shaping transformative experiences for individuals. This course would be a great addition for those working directly to change hearts and minds in non-formal community settings or in formal education environments through non-traditional mediums. It may be of specific interest to people wishing to work in human rights education initiatives or those working in other awareness raising initiatives such as campaigning and communications.

#4 Climate Change and Health: From Science to Action

Climate Change and Health: From Science to Action from Yale tackles one of the greatest threats to human health in the 21st century. Currently the impacts of climate change on health are still not widely recognized. The course is designed to equip learners with critical and usable knowledge to take positive action. It introduces the science of climate change and how climate change affects human health. There is also a focus on the inequity of the negative impact of climate change on health, pointing out the factors that make some populations more vulnerable than others. Following on from the foundation knowledge, you will then be introduced to the various strategies for adaption necessary to protect human health and learn what actions are most appropriate for a particular location and population. In addition, you will gain the tools to effectively plan and implement adaption actions that build resilience to climate change’s negative effects. Finally, you will learn about how you can communicate the negative effects of climate change on human health persuasively with the aim of motivating change in your community and encouraging others to take meaningful action to address these impacts.

Climate Change impacts a number of economic, social and cultural rights, as well as the right to health. An understanding of climate change and how it impacts populations is knowledge that many employers are looking for as it becomes an increasingly relevant human rights topic across all areas of work. As such, this course would make a great addition for all candidates to add to their CV. Many renowned human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Oxfam are putting climate change and human rights at the center of their work. By taking this course you will place yourself in the heart of one of the most significant human rights issue of our time.

#5 The Science of Well-Being

The Science of Well-being from Yale engages you in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. It introduces misconceptions about happiness, the reasons why we think the way we do and the research that can help us to change. By the end of the course you will be prepared to successfully incorporate a specific wellness activity in to your life.

Working in human rights puts many of us at the forefront of upsetting experiences and circumstances. Often people working in human rights may deprioritize their own well being while trying to work to protect others and improve peoples’ lives.

In order to be able to be effective in our work, it is crucial to foster resilience and well-being. This course will provide you with the skills to incorporate wellness activities into your life and will help you to be mindful of your own well-being as you go about your work. For prospective employers, having staff with tools and skills to manage their own well-being and look out for the well-being of others is extremely desirable.

#6 Business Strategies for A Better World

Business Strategies for A Better World from the University of Pennsylvania is designed to give you the tools and strategies you need to create measurable social impact around the world whilst setting your career or business on the road to success. By the end of the course you will be able to lead, invest and make business decisions for social impact. Analyze information about global trends to make more informed strategic business decisions and develop, launch, test and scale entrepreneurship projects with high-potential of significant positive social impact.

This course is a great addition for anyone working in business and human rights, those working in an advisory capacity to companies with regards to human rights and anyone who is in the process of setting up their own business or non-profit aimed at driving meaningful social impact and make the world a better place.

For those with a strong specialization in human rights, this will provide you with insight into business that will be important in understanding how corporations and businesses can positively impact the societies they are a part of. Among the organizations working for business and human rights are the Business & Human Rights Resource Center, the UN Global Compact, the Danish Institute of Human Rights, Freedom House and Human Rights Watch, to name a few.

#7 Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding from the University of Pennsylvania explores the science behind successful crowdfunding, drawing on data from hundreds of thousands of campaigns. You will learn the different crowdfunding approaches and receive detailed advice on what to do and not do when crowdfunding. You will also have the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes with key players in the field and get information you need to set your crowdfunding initiative up for success.

The skills gained in this course will help you to design and shape crowdfunding campaigns for your work. Many NGOs rely on fundraising in order to be able to carry out their work, and crowdfunding is one of the fundraising strategies that can be used to generate impact. For prospective employers, particularly in small to mid-sized NGOs, having staff that understand what makes crowdfunding campaigns successful is invaluable. Whether you plan to work solely in a fundraising capacity, or are a campaigner who needs to develop strategies and proposals to raise funds for your work, this course is a great addition to your CV.

#8 Culture-Driven Team Building

Culture-Driven Team Building from the University of Pennsylvania will equip you with the strategies and tools to enable you to form, join and leads teams more effectively. You will learn how to recognize aspects of team culture, draw out the collective wisdom of diverse teams, handle conflict, establish common ground rules, maximize team performance and create a team culture of continuous learning.

Successful work in human rights often requires teamwork and this course will give you a solid grounding in understanding the mechanisms at work in teams and how to bring out the best in your team while managing challenges that may arise. This course would be useful to all those working in human rights, but will be particularly attractive to an employer looking to hire people into roles with management responsibilities.

#9 Social Impact Strategy

Social Impact Strategy from the University of Pennsylvania offers an introduction to social impact strategy and social entrepreneurship helping you to turn your passion for changing the world into concrete plans for launching a nonprofit or for-profit venture designed to achieve a social goal. Students who complete the course become eligible to apply for an in-person educational experience, called the Global Social Impact House. GSIH is a seven-day residential program that provides fellows with the tools, community and training they need to advance their ventures.

For those of you looking to forge your own path to social change, this course will provide you with the skills to do so. Similarly, when applying for jobs, skills provided in this course of innovating and designing new ideas and organizational forms to implement those ideas are very much prized by employers looking for new ways to reach new audiences and achieve real world impact.

#10 Foundations of Positive Psychology

Foundations of Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania provides learners with a solid introduction to positive psychology. After gaining an understanding of the science and theory behind positive psychology, learners will learn how to apply positive psychology to their day to day lives through positive interventions, how to apply research methods to their own study of positive psychology and finally learn how to incorporate resilience intervention into their personal and professional lives.

Much like the Science of Well-Being this course provides soft skills that will ensure you cultivate resilience to be able to be effective in your work, and maintain your own well-being. Resilience is particularly important in the challenging field of human rights, and the skills you can gain from this course will be valued both by prospective employers and your colleagues, communities and wider networks.

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Human Rights Careers

Human Rights Careers (HRC) aims to help human rights students, recent graduates and young professionals to pursue a career in the highly competitive field of human rights.