Human Rights Research Intern at Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity

The Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity (MSI Integrity) is a nonprofit human rights research organization dedicated to understanding the impact and value of voluntary initiatives that address business and human rights.  MSI Integrity researches key questions surrounding the effectiveness of these initiatives, facilitates learning in the field, and develops tools to evaluate initiatives from a human rights perspective.  MSI Integrity takes a particular interest in how initiatives include, empower, and impact affected communities.

Multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) are collaborations between businesses, civil society and other stakeholders that seek to address the negative impacts of business operating in our globalized economy.  Over the last two decades, MSIs have been established to set standards in almost every major global industry, ranging from certifying the production of clothing and food, through to establishing codes of conduct for internet companies regarding privacy and freedom of expression.  Well-known MSIs include the Kimberley Process, Fair Trade Labeling Organization, the Rainforest Alliance, and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

However, key actors involved in MSIs are asking the question: how do we know whether, when, and how MSIs can be effective? Given the extensive resources dedicated to MSIs by civil society, governments, and companies, and the faith placed in these initiatives to protect and promote human rights by communities, MSI Integrity was established in 2013 after being incubated at the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School to answer this pressing question and contribute to shared learning related to MSIs and human rights.

Position Description:

Human Rights Research Intern MSI Integrity seeks a bright and dedicated masters or undergraduate student to work during Summer 2015 as full-time (minimum 30 hours per week, maximum 40 hours per week), temporary (maximum of 11 weeks) intern on a number of business and human rights research issues.

The intern will work remotely, but will ideally be located in Washington, DC, where regular inperson meetings can be held with MSI Integrity supervisors.  In any event, the intern must be able to meet regularly via Skype with MSI Integrity staff that will be located globally.  

The intern will assist with ongoing MSI Integrity projects, including but not limited to:

  • Developing and publishing tools, criteria, and methodologies to assess MSIs from a human rights perspective.  In particular, Summer 2015 interns may support research projects related to human rights criteria and methodologies for the forthcoming publication of the MSI Evaluation Tool;
  • Identifying and researching existing business and human rights-related MSIs;
  • Research and evaluation reports on MSIs for publication in 2015 and 2016;
  • Engaging with stakeholders and key actors in MSIs, including communities affected by the human rights issues addressed by MSIs.

The Human Rights Research Intern will be responsible for supporting the work of MSI Integrity’s staff.  Tasks may include conducting research, completing short writing assignments, drafting and editing reports and publications, developing and drafting blog posts, drafting and managing social media and other communications tasks, communicating with MSI actors, and applying human rights analysis to issues related to MSIs.  Where appropriate, the intern may have the opportunity to complete a short writing assignment that they can use as a writing sample in future.

MSI Integrity’s internship program will be structured to provide an educational environment for students.  Interns will work in close collaboration with supervising MSI Integrity staff, and will receive feedback on their work product during regular check-in meetings with supervisors.


  • Prior to starting the internship, candidates will have completed at least one year of a post-undergraduate degree program, or at least three years of an undergraduate degree program. Ideally degree programs will be related to human rights, public policy, international governance and relations, business, or communications;
  • Demonstrated commitment to / interest in the field of business and human rights;
  • Excellent research and writing skills;
  • Self-motivated, with the discipline and focus to work in a remote setting (experience working remotely preferred but not required);
  • Works well with an informal, team-oriented environment;
  • High level of attention to detail;
  • Familiarity with international and regional human rights treaties, the UN system, and international legal frameworks relevant to the human rights implications of business activities, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights;
  • Familiarity with international and comparative research;
  • Strong computer skills, including proficiency with Microsoft Office applications, Google applications, Skype, and Dropbox; and,
  • Fluency in English required; Spanish, French, or other language skills are helpful.


This is an unpaid internship. MSI Integrity will work with interns to comply with requirements for receiving course credit, fellowships, or other funding as appropriate. The internship is for a minimum of 6 weeks and a maximum of 11 weeks.

Job title: Human Rights Research Intern

Location: Washington DC

Closing date: 22 May 2015