Program Officer

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    London, United Kingdom
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    May 06

Position description

The work of the International Migration Initiative (IMI) is organized around three sets of goals: improving protections for refugees and vulnerable migrants; mitigating the exploitation of migrant workers; and building stronger ties between host communities and newcomers. To achieve these goals, we make grants, advocate, create multi-stakeholder partnerships, and engage with actors across a broad range of sectors, including civil society, national and local governments, international organizations, faith groups, and the private sector.

IMI’s program areas are:
  • 21st Century Protection: Our goal is to demonstrate how policy reforms and new operational models can mitigate harmful practices, extend protection to more refugees and vulnerable migrants, and renew state and public support for progressive protection policies.
  • Fair Work: Our strategy aims to improve government policies and business practices to ensure a fair deal for migrant workers; challenge the culture of impunity by expanding migrants’ access to legal remedies; and build a broader, more resilient field of civil society actors to elevate migrant voices and shape policymaking.
  • Welcoming & Integrated Societies: We aim to deepen support for refugees and migration through welcoming initiatives that bridge natives and newcomers, and to use insights on public attitudes to inform policy and advocacy. We pay close attention to the concerns of host communities and the needs of local governments, and aim to strengthen their role in integration.
  • Advocacy & Special Initiatives: This work cuts across our substantive program areas, using advocacy, multi-stakeholder partnerships, and engagement with the private sector to advance our goals.

Job Profile

This position is for IMI’s 21st Century Protection program area. It aims to 1) promote innovations that expand the capacity of the international protection system and extend rights protections to more people on the move; 2) provide analysis of protection issues to inform broader OSF responses to displacement crises; and 3) strengthen the field to fight policies and practices that threaten migrants and refugees, such as detention and deportation. This program area uses a combination of advocacy, government engagement, and civil society support to push change.

IMI seeks a dynamic, creative, and collaborative Program Officer to help shape the Protection program area. The Program Officer will focus initially on reshaping IMI’s long-standing work in Central America and Mexico and developing new protection work in the Americas. The Program Officer might also support work at the global level and work in other regions as well. The position is for a mid-career professional who is committed to promoting the rights of refugees and vulnerable migrants and can articulate a vision of social change to achieve this. The Program Officer will identify key ecosystem interventions and levers of change, and play a leading role in building a strategic portfolio of activities, combining advocacy and grantmaking.

The Program Officer will work across sectors with grassroots civil society groups (including refugee and migrant-led groups), humanitarian response actors, relevant multilateral agencies (IOM, UNHCR, UNICEF), government officials, private sector actors, issue experts, scholars, and other funders. She or he will serve as a connector of grantees and other partners and will collaborate broadly both within OSF and with external entities. Based in London or New York, the Program Officer will work with a global team in multiple office locations.

The Program Officer role may include any or all of the following and/or similar activities:
  • Contribute substantively to the ongoing development of IMI’s Protection strategy.
  • Develop a grantmaking strategy that aligns the strategic goals of the program with specific needs and opportunities for change.
  • Operate with considerable autonomy and make decisions related to authorizing/declining grants within an approved budget.
  • Manage, monitor, and coordinate a grants portfolio, including: annual grant planning; identifying and working with prospective grantees; conducting organizational assessments; negotiating project budgets and contracts; undertaking periodic reviews of progress with grantees; and providing technical assistance.
  • Develop and drive advocacy strategies in close collaboration with grantees, other stakeholders (such as state champions and multilateral agencies), and OSF colleagues.
  • Stay abreast of key issues and developments in the protection field with the aim of connecting new trends to programmatic efforts to refine strategies.
  • Provide regular analysis and briefings on ongoing and emerging displacement crises in which OSF is involved or may intervene.
  • Frequent travel to visit and learn from partner and grantee organizations, government officials, academic institutions, civil society groups, and community members, as well as to meet with other donors and stakeholders.
  • Critical assessment and reflection of what is working and what is not working in order to adjust programming and advocacy accordingly.

Candidate Profile
  • 7-10 years of progressively responsible experience in relevant civil society, multilateral, humanitarian or development organizations, government, and/or consulting.
  • Knowledgeable on issues, including refugee protection, existing protection frameworks and mechanisms for non-refugee migrants, and responses to mixed flows of migrants and refugees.
  • Familiarity with debates in the field around immigration detention and return as a tool of migration policy, as well as relevant rights guarantees and redress mechanisms would be an advantage.
  • Deep understanding of policy change and advocacy strategies and initiatives to persuade various stakeholders, including governments, to take action.
  • Experience with government-facing advocacy in a context outside the US and Europe would be an advantage.
  • Ability to think creatively about the implications of protection mechanisms in one or another context on regional responses or the international system as a whole.
  • Demonstrated experience of working with diverse stakeholders to advance social change strategies, including planning and adapting in response to an evolving situation.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English are important. Business-level Spanish strongly preferred.
  • In-depth knowledge of Latin America, inter-governmental structures, political dynamics, and civil society organizations in that region would be an advantage.
  • Excellent writing, analytical, interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills required. Sensitivity to cultural differences is essential.
  • Demonstrated flexibility and openness in responding to changing work priorities.
  • Willingness to travel frequently.

Application instructions: Please include a cover letter and resume, and upload as one document when submitting an application.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable accommodations so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.

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