The human rights movement is facing difficult times. In these circumstances, human rights funders have a particularly important role to play in sustaining the fight. Adrian Arena of Oak Foundation is now a veteran in the human rights field, having played an instrumental role in building one of the world’s most significant human rights programmes. He talks to Alliance guest editor, Julie Broome, and Charles Keidan about the foundation's work supporting those on the frontline.
The long haul for human rights
JB: You’ve been leading the human rights programme at Oak for 15 years. How has it developed in that time?
It’s been my role to implement the trustees’ vision, to explore new human rights challenges and ensure their comfort with the issues we are pursuing. Over time their appetite for more complex issues has grown. That has meant their ambitions have also grown. They went from a safe place of supporting international not-for-profit organisations to looking at a broad range of issues pursued by diverse organisations in different countries. And that has been hugely challenging for us all, but also very rewarding. It is what has given the job its continued interest.