East Asia Program Officer

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    Seoul, Korea, Republic Of
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Mar 27

Position description

The Asia Pacific Regional Office (APRO) of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) aims to bolster and reinforce open society values in the Asia Pacific region. To accomplish this, APRO supports an array of national and regional civil society organizations, activists, and community groups. Our work takes place in three major sub-regions: South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.
Job Profile
The East Asia Program seeks a program officer with expertise on East Asia (China, Taiwan or the Korean Peninsula). The position is intended for a mid-career professional with substantial work experience committed to the protection of human rights, the advancement of the rule of law, and the development of civil society in East Asia.

The successful candidate will have a deep understanding of the landscape of activism in the region, and will have a strong strategic sense of the avenues for change in the regional context, both within the governments and civil societies, and be able to articulate a strategy for OSF work in the region.

The Program Officer will be part of the Asia Pacific Regional Office (APRO) team and will report to the East Asia Office Representative with a focus on grant-making, strategy development, policy analysis, and advocacy efforts to promote the Program’s vision.

This post requires experience working with civil society organizations and/or government officials in both formal and informal contexts, in order to advance the goals of a more open and just society.

  • Provide a bold and strategic vision for innovative program development in East Asia by adding value to existing efforts within the organization and the region.
  • Oversee with considerable autonomy the grant-making, operational and advocacy strategies for East Asia (China, Taiwan or the Korean Peninsula). Negotiate and manage grants, projects, project budgets, and contracts with diverse organizations. Assess the organizational capacity of partners, including an understanding of financial and administrative strength, and provide mentoring and technical assistance through long-distance support. Travel to relevant meetings or site visits as necessary.
  • Provide critical assessment and reflection of what is working and what is not working in order to adjust programming and advocacy accordingly. Evaluate progress and document impact and best practices.
  • Monitor and analyze political and social developments in East Asia (China, Taiwan or the Korean Peninsula), and advise OSF colleagues on important developments. Prepare and deliver concise, targeted written reports and presentations for diverse groups, including peers, internal boards and external audiences
  • Build collaborative relationships across OSF’s geographic and thematic entities more widely as well as externally to further programmatic goals.
  • Willingness to travel frequently.
  • Ensure a healthy and robust office environment to promote staff growth, wellbeing and productivity. Promote a healthy spirit of teamwork and communication within the APRO team through regular meetings and exchange of information.
  • Integrate the APRO organizational values into the performance of duties and tasks on a daily basis and participate in activities designed to uphold the values and foster healthy inter-office communication.

Candidate profile
  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study of equivalent experience/education; graduate degree preferred.
  • At least 10 years of relevant experience working in or on East Asia (China, Taiwan or the Korean Peninsula) on issues related to the work of OSF including human rights, civil society and preferably in the non-profit or philanthropic field. This is a mid-career professional position for candidates with substantial work experience.
  • A demonstrated commitment to the open society values of human rights, transparency and accountability, and democratic governance in East Asia, with demonstrable understanding of current trends and debates.
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking and synthesis skills required, with a demonstrated diplomatic approach to building and sustaining relationships with multiple stakeholders.
  • Familiarity with the activities of key donors, political actors, and civil society groups in the region.
  • Ability to function effectively in cross-cultural settings, particularly in the context of the power dynamics of a grantee-granter relationship.
  • Proficient written and spoken communication skills in English required.
  • Native-level written and spoken communication skills in Chinese or Korean required.
  • Willingness to adjust working hours to include calls and discussions with other parts of the foundation located in various geographic regions.
  • Excellent computer skills, and comfort using technology extensively.

To apply, please submit a cover letter and CV as one single document.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations, and we welcome and actively seek applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.

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