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Switzerland: Senior Director for Humanitarian Policy

NGO/UN Job Vacancy

Organization: International Rescue Committee
Country: Switzerland
Closing date: 15 Sep 2017

Background: Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed unparalleled expertise in responding to emergencies and helping uprooted communities to rebuild. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.

The IRC is on the ground in more than 40 countries, providing emergency relief, relocating refugees and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster. Through 28 offices in cities across the United States, the IRC also helps refugees and other immigrants resettle in the U.S. and become self-sufficient. The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The IRC is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable.

The Global Policy & Advocacy Department (P&A) is a dynamic team whose mission is to use the IRC's field knowledge, role as expert witness, evidence and solutions to shift the agenda and decisions of policy makers for the benefit of our clients. The P&A team seeks to develop the IRC as a thought leader, and drive transformational change in the humanitarian sector. Specifically, we work to achieve improvements in aid effectiveness through evidence-based solutions; speak out on challenges facing the people we seek to assist; and to promote solutions for protracted displacement.

Job Overview: The Senior Director for Humanitarian Policy will work closely with the Vice President for Global Policy and Advocacy, and the Senior Directors for Humanitarian Aid Reform, International Programs and Resettlement Advocacy to contribute Geneva-based awareness, knowledge and influence to the development and implementation of strategies on our advocacy priorities, particularly as those strategies incorporate outcomes relevant to Geneva-based entities and work streams. The Senior Director will build relationships with key stakeholders, including policy makers, thought leaders and other humanitarian NGOs for the purpose of increasing IRC's access to and influence over the development of relevant humanitarian policy. The Senior Director will engage and lead in Geneva-based coalitions, facilitate IRC participation in Geneva-based events and represent the IRC at relevant, high-level fora to elevate the IRC's role as thought leaders. The Senior Director will additionally serve as a Geneva expert for the Global Policy and Advocacy team, reporting back on Geneva-based policy processes, critical donor and UN dialogues, and trends in humanitarian topics.

Major Responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with US and Europe-based colleagues to carry forward IRC and sector-wide commitments to a humanitarian aid reform agenda in Geneva-based fora, including through the Grand Bargain, agency reviews, the Global Refugee Compact development, and donor financing streams
  • Coordinate with colleagues working on humanitarian sector and refugee response reform, helping lead Geneva-based outreach and contributing to IRC policy analysis on processes such as the Global Compact for Refugees being developed by UNHCR
  • Work closely with IRC's International Programs Department and technical units to lead and strengthen IRC engagement on the Grand Bargain working group, facilitate IRC adherence to commitment areas, and manage completion of annual Grand Bargain reporting exercise to feature IRC work toward commitments
  • Monitor and report back on UNHCR protection and durable solutions policy developments as well as relevant IOM policy shifts, and coordinate engagement strategies with other advocacy team members
  • Collaborate with US, Europe, and regionally-based colleagues to carry forward IRC and sector-wide commitments to safeguard International Humanitarian Law by working to identify mechanisms to increase accountability for IHL violations, to prioritize of civilian protection in the conduct of security operations, improve monitoring and protection of war affected and displaced civilians, and safeguard access to aid
  • Facilitate IRC participation and leadership in Geneva-based events relevant to advancing IRC's global advocacy agenda, including UNHCR NGO consultations, ECOSOC/Humanitarian Affairs Segment, among others
  • Build relationships with key stakeholders, including donors, policy makers, influencers and other humanitarian NGOs to increase IRC's access and influence over the development of relevant humanitarian policy
  • Identify and facilitate opportunities for senior IRC staff to build relationships with top-level Geneva decision makers to directly advance IRC's thought leadership agenda in Geneva
  • Amplify IRC policy positions by engaging and leading on the platforms of Geneva-based coalitions
  • Maintain close contact with colleagues on the Global Advocacy Team and other key IRC staff with in depth reporting out on crucial Geneva-based policy processes, donor and UN dialogues, and trends in humanitarian topics
  • Liaise closely with IRC leadership in International Programs and Technical Units to ensure that policy recommendations and advocacy strategies undertaken in Geneva-based fora are rooted in the IRC's field experience and technical expertise

Key Working Relationships:

Position reports to: Vice President, Policy and Advocacy

Position directly supervises: Not applicable

Internal contacts: Policy and Advocacy colleagues in US and Europe; Geneva Office colleagues; Technical Unit leads; International Programs leads; Communications and Revenue departments; President's Office

External contacts: Grand Bargain working group, UNHCR partners, ICVA working groups, Geneva-based humanitarian coalitions, peer INGOs, donors

Job Requirements:


  • Graduate degree in relevant field such as Public Policy, Law or International Relations

Work experience:

  • 10+ years of proven experience in the humanitarian field, including significant time in leadership positions and work with Geneva-based entities
  • Successful experience building and managing high-level relationships and leading a team
  • Prefer some field-based humanitarian or development experience

Demonstrated skills and competencies:

  • Deep knowledge of humanitarian aid and refugee issues
  • Extensive knowledge of relevant UN and coalition processes
  • Deep familiarity with leveraging points throughout the Geneva-based humanitarian community, including within the UN
  • Ability to think strategically, synthesize complex information and develop innovative policy approaches
  • Strong communication skills with a demonstrated ability to communicate successfully with players in all segments of the humanitarian field, including high level decision-makers
  • Excellent writing skills and the ability to translate complex material and data into coherent narratives that resonate with policy makers and peers
  • Ability to travel and to work on tight deadlines
  • Initiative and ability to work independently on fast-paced issues, and juggle competing demands

Working Environment: Standard office work environment. Up to 20% travel required

How to apply:

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