Employment & Internship Opportunities

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom was created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to monitor the status of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief abroad, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related international instruments, and to give independent policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress. The Commission is an equal opportunity employer.


Executive Director, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

The Executive Director will have principal responsibility directing the day-to-day operations of the Commission, managing its staff, as well as overseeing its budget and the drafting and production of its reports and statements.  Working with the Commissioners and senior staff members of the Commission, the Executive Director will develop and implement a strategic plan for the Commission’s activities.  Possessing excellent managerial, interpersonal, and communication skills, the Executive Director will also routinely interact with Commissioners, staff, members of Congress and senior Administration officials, and a diverse constituency of human rights, foreign policy and religious groups. 

The Commission seeks an individual with the following skills and experience:

  • Capacity to develop and implement, under the direction of Commissioners, a far-reaching and dynamic strategic plan for the Commission’s activities;
  • Ability and commitment to operate in a thoroughly non-partisan manner;
  • Excellent managerial, analytical and writing skills and experience;
  • Ability to develop strong relationships with Commissioners, congressional leadership and senior congressional staff, as well as with senior Administration officials;
  • Experience developing creative policy ideas and their strategic implementation;
  • Ability to execute activities of the Commission, including travel abroad by Commissioners and staff, public events, press statements, and research activities, all with the aim of developing policy recommendations and then generating necessary levels of public awareness to advance these recommendations appropriately;
  • Foreign policy expertise; and
  • Awareness of and familiarity with major international human rights instruments.

The Commission seeks an Executive Director with both expertise in and commitment to the policy goals of the Commission.  This position has been designated the equivalent of an Executive Schedule (EX) V for purposes of compensation, with federal government benefits. 

The position is available immediately, and the Commission intends to fill it as soon as possible.   We encourage candidates from a wide range of backgrounds to apply.

Interested parties should send resume, cover letter, and references by October 15, 2016, to:

Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J.
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
732 North Capitol Street, N.W.
Suite 714
Washington DC 20401
FAX: (202) 523-5020
Email: jobs@uscirf.gov

USCIRF Executive Director Role and Responsibilities:

The Executive Director (ED) exercises general management oversight of all aspects of the Commission, within the framework of policies established by Commissioners. The ED’s responsibility is to exercise sound management and operational principles in the running of USCIRF and apply expert knowledge of policy matters related to international religious freedom. The ED should have knowledge of the Commission’s policies and a strong grasp of the role of key stakeholders, such as Congress, the President, the State Department, non-governmental organizations and many others.

The ED provides key managerial direction to staff of the Commission, which is responsible for reviewing the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and making policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. This is primarily accomplished through the development and issuance of an annual report, as outlined in USCIRF’s legislation.  The report, which is required no later than May 1 of each year and is submitted to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress, sets forth USCIRF’s recommendations for United States policy options based on the Commission’s evaluations under section 202 of its authorizing legislation.

Under the direction of Commissioners, the ED has discretion and authority to develop and execute agency management policies.  As the chief of staff, the ED leads the policy and operational functions of the Commission to achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness in its programs and operations. The ED plays a critical role in ensuring USCIRF achieves its statutory requirements, while also managing the Commission’s resources to effectively and efficiently accomplish USCIRF’s mission.

The ED directs the staff in executing Commission decisions and developing the planning of the Commission’s efforts. He/she also works with the staff to develop solutions to potential and existing barriers that may limit or impede achievement of USCIRF’s mission and key objectives, as outlined by the Commission. 

In addition to contacts with Commissioners, the Executive Director is called upon to represent USCIRF with important outside stakeholders and interests, such as members of Congress, officials of other government agencies, particularly the Department of State, Office of Management and Budget, foreign governments, and non-governmental organizations.



U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
Washington, DC
$45,000-$65,000 per year (depending on qualifications and experience) plus benefits


Closing Date

October 21, 2016


The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is a bipartisan independent federal commission that monitors and seeks to advance the internationally recognized freedom of thought, conscience, religion, or belief and related human rights.

Established as part of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, USCIRF’s primary responsibilities are to make foreign policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress related to the status and impact of freedom of religion or belief around the world. USCIRF’s activities include disseminating information to the public and policymakers through op-editorials, press statements, and policy briefs; participating in Congressional hearings; convening public hearings and expert briefings; engaging in overseas diplomatic visits and inquiries; engaging with Administration officials, members of Congress, think tanks, and policy experts; participating in multilateral fora; and generating expert studies on critical issues. More information about USCIRF is available at www.uscirf.gov.

USCIRF is an equal opportunity employer.

Job Summary

USCIRF is seeking a Researcher to provide research and analytical support for the Policy and Research Team, as well as conduct administrative tasks as assigned. Depending on the assigned portfolio, the Researcher will: monitor and analyze religious freedom conditions and related human rights overseas; monitor and assess U.S. foreign policy; assist with the development of policy recommendations for the U.S. government to advance freedom of religion or belief abroad; monitor, develop, and report on opportunities for advancing the implementation of USCIRF-recommended policies; assist with the research, editing, and drafting of annual report materials, briefing memos, policy focus reports, and correspondence; and build and maintain extensive contacts with relevant counterparts in the U.S. government, NGOs, academia, and other organizations focused on freedom of religion or belief and related human rights.

Key Requirements

  • U.S. Citizenship
  • Resume and supporting documents (see How to Apply)
  • Completion of a satisfactory background investigation
  • Completion of a probationary period may be required
  • Selectee must be able to meet and maintain suitability and security requirements


Reporting to the Co-Directors for Policy and Research, the Researcher’s primary responsibilities involve the following:

1. Research and Policy Analysis/Formulation

  • Collect, analyze, and document information related to freedom of religion or belief in assigned areas, including:
    • following events affecting freedom of religion or belief abroad;
    • following relevant U.S. policy;
    • gathering information and maintaining relations with U.S. and foreign government agencies, NGOs, religious groups, and academics; and
    • monitoring international media and State Department reports/statements.

2. Reporting

  • Assist with the writing, editing, and proofreading of relevant Annual Report chapters, work to ensure the accuracy and completeness of analysis and language in the Annual Report, and participate as appropriate in Annual Report launch events as requested; and
  • Assist with briefing memos and meeting talking points for Commissioners and senior staff.

3. Representation

  • Brief Commissioners or staff on U.S. Government efforts to promote freedom of religion or belief, as well as foreign government activities limiting this freedom, either orally or through prepared memoranda;
  • Organize and prepare materials for Commission delegations and staff trips to countries to gather information on religious freedom conditions;
  • Attend and report on public hearings and other events around D.C. on relevant issues;
  • Assist with preparations for meetings, roundtables, and other events, including organizing and preparing materials for public USCIRF events; and
  • Establish and maintain network of relevant contacts in assigned areas.

4. Other duties as assigned

Required Qualifications

  • Must be a U.S. citizen;
  • Possess, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field to the position requirements;
  • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of regional politics, jurisprudence, culture, economic development, security trends, U.S. interests, and human rights in general;
  • Strong research skills;
  • Ability to proactively develop, synthesize, and articulate effective and actionable policy recommendations;
  • Ability to multi-task and work in a fast-paced setting, defining and meeting deadlines;
  • Ability to synthesize information from various sources;
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills;
  • Attention to detail, excellent organizational skills, and collegial demeanor; and
  • Proven experience using Microsoft Office applications such as Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

Desired Qualifications

  • Advanced degree;
  • Two (2) years’ substantive experience as demonstrated by a sustained record of accomplished, analytical writing and other professional achievements; and
  • Fluency or demonstrated proficiency in a foreign language is a plus.

How to Apply

To apply, candidates should email or fax a cover letter, resume, three references, and a writing sample (no more than five pages) to:
Fax: (202) 523-5020
Applications sent via email should be in PDF format.

Applications will be held in strict confidence. After submitting your application for this position, you will receive an e-mail confirming receipt of your application materials. USCIRF will contact you if we wish to schedule an interview or if we require additional information or references. No calls please.

Evaluation of Applicants

This job is excepted from the competitive civil service. Applicants will be evaluated and deemed either eligible or ineligible based on the relevance and quality of their experience and education and on the desired qualifications described above.

Pursuant to section 204(c) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, as amended, USCIRF staff members are hired “on the basis of professional and nonpartisan qualifications.”


USCIRF offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation, sick leave, ten Federal holidays, life insurance, and medical benefits. Please visit www.opm.gov for more information on benefits.

Other Information

  • Travel expenses related to the hiring process will not be paid
  • Relocation expenses will not be paid

Selective Service. If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify at the time of appointment that you have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under Selective Service law.

Reasonable Accommodation. USCIRF provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact USCIRF at (202) 523-3240. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Equal Employment Opportunity. The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.



USCIRF offers the following types of internships:

  • Communications
  • Government Relations
  • Policy: Legal Research
  • Policy: Regional Policy Analysis (Africa; East Asia; Europe and Central Asia; Middle East; South Asia)

General Information on USCIRF Internships

  • Currently enrolled students are eligible for internships with USCIRF.
  • All USCIRF internships are paid; course credit may be available.
  • USCIRF does not provide housing or moving expenses.
  • Internships can be full-time (40 hours a week) or part-time (20-30 hours a week) for a minimum of 8 weeks, but not to exceed 16 weeks.

General Eligibility Requirements (applicable to all USCIRF internships)

  • U.S. citizenship
  • Currently enrolled undergraduates (sophomores, juniors and seniors) and graduate students (including JD and LLM candidates)
  • Minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Successful completion of a background check

Application Deadlines

Internships are available year-round, and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. However, given the number of applications received, the following are recommended application deadlines:

Fall Semester: September - December
Application Deadline: July 1

Spring Semester: January - April
Application Deadline: November 1

Summer Semester: May - August
Application Deadline: March 1

Application Requirements

  • Cover letter explaining your qualifications and why you would you like to intern at USCIRF
  • Resume
  • 3-5 page writing sample
  • 2-3 letters of reference

E-mail, fax, or mail your application materials to:

Internship Program

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
732 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite A714
Washington, DC 20401
202-523-3240 (phone)

202-523-5020 (fax)


Please specify the internship and semester you are applying for in your cover letter and the subject line of an e-mailed application.

Available Internships

Communications Intern

  • Maintain and expand database of media, NGO, think tank, academia, and religious contacts
  • Post on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook
  • Help update website
  • Help prepare materials for distribution to the public and press, including press releases, policy briefs, newsletters, and reports
  • Create daily press clips for distribution
  • Help organize and provide logistical support for events such as press conferences, public hearings, and speaking engagements
  • Provide general administrative support as needed

Eligible candidates should have:

  • experience with Social Media such as Twitter and Facebook;
  • knowledge of Adobe InDesign and other publishing programs;
  • excellent writing, editing, and organizational skills;
  • an interest in human rights and foreign policy;
  • ability to work independently, with minimal supervision, and as part of a team;
  • a willingness to perform administrative tasks.

Government Relations Intern

  • Track foreign policystatements, religious freedom, human rights and related legislation, and relevant policy publications
  • Attendand report on Congressional hearings
  • Review relevant government agency websites and publications daily
  • Research positions and actions taken by Members of Congress and Congressional committees and organizations
  • Undertake other research as needed
  • Provide general administrative support as needed

Eligible candidates should have:

  • excellent writing and comprehension skills;
  • a passion for foreign policy and human rights;
  • ability to work independently, with minimal supervision, and as part of a team;
  • a willingness to perform administrative tasks;
  • familiarity with the full Microsoft Office suite (Excel and Word in particular).

Policy Department: Legal Research Intern (open to current 2L, 3L, and LLM students)

  • Conduct research on a variety ofinternational human rights and comparative law topics, as assigned

Eligible candidates are:

  • law students with coursework or experience in constitutional law, international affairs, human rights, religious affairs, or a related field;
  • familiar with legal research techniques and the full Microsoft Office suite;
  • interested in the field of international human rights.

Fluency in a foreign language is preferred, but not required.

Policy Department: Regional Policy Analysis Intern

  • Research a variety of international religious freedom and human rights issues, with a focus in one or more of the following world regions:
  • Africa
  • East Asia
  • Europe and Central Asia
  • Middle East
  • South Asia

(Specify what region you are applying for in your cover letter and the subject line of an e-mailed application.)

  • Assist with preparations for meetings, roundtables, Commission travel, and other events
  • Attend meetings at USCIRF with international visitors and other groups interested in USCIRF's work
  • Attend and report on public hearings and other events in the DC area on issues relevant to USCIRF’s work
  • Provide general administrative support as needed

Eligible candidates:

  • possess demonstrable knowledge, including academic background, of a particular world region;
  • have completed coursework (or have experience) in public policy, international affairs, political science, human rights, religious affairs, government affairs, or a related field;
  • are willing to perform administrative tasks;
  • are familiar with the full Microsoft Office suite (knowledge ofMicrosoft Access is preferred, but not required).

Fluency in a foreign language (particularly Mandarin Chinese, Russian, or Arabic) is preferred, but not required.