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8 Skills to Expand Your Human Rights CV

In the field of human rights, possessing a diverse set of skills is essential. While core competencies in human rights are crucial, peripheral skills can make a big difference when navigating the complexities of human rights work. This article presents online courses that equip you with valuable skills to round up your human rights CV. All courses below are currently (until 21st) available for $1 on Coursera Plus. If you do not have access to a suitable payment method, consider applying for financial aid.

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#1 Project Management – Professional Certificate (Google)

If there is one peripheral skill most human rights professionals need, it’s project management. Campaigners, educators, lawyers, researchers, communicators all manage projects. Project management is important because it helps with optimizing resources, fostering collaboration and measuring success. Skills in project management ensure the efficient implementation of human rights initiatives. That’s why a certification in project management is a useful addition to any human rights CV.

#2 Intercultural Management (ESCP Business School)

In the human rights world, intercultural competences are more than an asset. They are essential for doing well in the job. As a human rights professional you will work with a diverse set of stakeholders. You may engage with colleagues, activists, government officials, authorities, press and others. Unsurprisingly, most job descriptions in human rights explicitly mention the ability to work with a diverse team as a requirement.

#3 Resilience for Everyone (Arizona State University)

Possibly the most neglected but quite essential human rights skill is resilience. Human rights professionals often work in difficult conditions under high pressure. Office jobs are no exception and come with their own challenges. Developing strategies for improving your own well-being and resilience is essential for a sustainable career in human rights. In this course by Arizona State University you will learn to manage stress, think positively, cultivate a growth mindset and preserve your empathy during prolonged periods of stress.

#4 Introduction to Negotiation (Yale University)

Human rights professionals negotiate frequently: about problems, ideas, frameworks, projects, budgets, approaches, and innovations – to name a few. Whether you are just getting started in an assistant role or run an entire organization, negotiation skills are helpful to advocate for yourself and others. Advocacy Officers who are in direct contact with power holders need negotiation skills to successfully push for policy changes. Whatever your role is, you’ll often need the buy-in of your colleagues or your manager when pitching new ideas.

#5 Understanding Research Methods (University of London)

Trustworthiness, transparency and accuracy are incredibly important for international organizations. Researchers ensure that human rights work is based on facts. But they aren’t the only ones who need research skills to thrive in their roles. Campaigners, educators, communicators, managers all need research skills to create accurate content and make sound decisions. While there is always more to learn when it comes to research, this course on Understanding Research Methods from University of London will equip you with the basics.

#6 Successful Presentation (University of Colorado Boulder)

Regardless of your role in a human rights organization, you will likely have to present something. In this course you will engage in practical activities to improve your public speaking skills and advance your presentation. You’ll learn to master fear and how to use your verbal and body language more strategically. The entire course takes roughly 20 hours to complete and is a very useful addition especially for human rights press officers, managers, media workers, outreach professionals and everyone else who frequently speaks publicly.

#7 Machine Learning Specialization (University of Washington)

AI and machine learning are changing our lives. While they create new opportunities for the protection of human rights, they also introduce unprecedented challenges. AI can help make education, health and economic systems more efficient but also bears the risk to amplify polarization, discrimination and bias. Staying out of the discussion is no solution. The more we understand these technologies, the better we can shape them according to human rights values. In this course you will learn to analyze large and complex datasets, create systems that adapt and improve over time, and build intelligent applications that can make predictions from data.

#8 Cybersecurity (Google)

Cyber-surveillance poses a significant threat to human rights defenders. Regardless of your role in an human rights organization, there is a good chance you will handle personal data in some way. Researchers maintain databases of human rights violations, educators hold learner data, campaigners handle data for digital online campaigns. In a human rights context, most data is sensitive. Being able to identify, prevent and mitigate cybersecurity issues, is a big asset for every human rights professional who is working on a computer. It is especially useful for professionals with a tech focus.

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About the author

Robert Fellner

Robert is founder of Human Rights Careers (HRC). A platform with the aim to support human rights students, alumni, graduates and professionals in pursuing and developing their career in human rights. Prior to launching HRC, Robert worked as Global Human Rights EdTech Manager at Amnesty International in London and as consultant for international human rights organizations globally. During 2011 and 2012, Robert worked as lecturer at Ain Shams university in Egypt. Robert has a masters in literature and human rights.