Program Specialist- Latin America

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career
  • Posted
    Oct 18

Position description

Program Specialist- Latin America, Latin America Program, New York, Deadline: 11/11/2018

The Open Society Foundations' Latin America Program addresses rights and governance issues in Latin America and the Caribbean primarily through grant making, network-building, and the development of specific initiatives. We focus on supporting Latin American and Caribbean efforts to reform democratic institutions in ways that are more open and responsive to citizens, realizing human rights, and reducing homicides in a region with extremely high levels of violence. We are committed to advancing democratic practice, citizen security, homicide reduction and human rights, primarily through grant making to civil society actors in these fields. Within the broader network of the Open Society Foundations, the Latin America Program seeks to provide added value through sharing its understanding of political context, facilitating contacts, brokering relationships, and identifying strategic opportunities in the region.

Job Profile

Under the supervision of a Division Director, the Program Specialist will work the Latin America Program division focused on advancing democracy and human rights in the region, including significant initiatives on Broadening Public Support for Human Rights; Countering the Undue Influence of Money on Politics; and Challenging Kleptocratic Governance in the Northern Triangle. The Program Specialist is a professional program role at Open Society, performing a wide range of responsibilities that materially advance program strategies. This role requires specialized knowledge of democracy and/or human rights issues in Latin America, and also of how to use the various tools available to the organization for accomplishing its objectives.

Duties and responsibilities will include any or all of the following and/or similar activities:
  • conducting research and analyzing and synthesizing data/information to be used in decision-making, strategy development, budget planning, monitoring and evaluation of grants portfolios in the relevant division or other program processes.
  • conducting a wide range of activities related to the grant making process and/or analytical work in support of field development, advocacy, and regional projects
  • analyzing grant proposals (including budget analysis), designing grants (type of support, degree of flexibility, duration, payment structure, reporting/learning expectations, etc.) and drafting grant recommendations
  • contributing to assessment of organizations
  • participating in monitoring of grants and in evaluating grant portfolios
  • partnering closely with program administration staff to ensure efficient flow of grants processing and other similar information
  • completing administrative tasks or projects as needed and assigned, including processing grants, developing tools and templates, coordinating event logistics, and processing vendor contracts and consultancy agreements
  • interacting with OSF operational departments and managing internal processes to achieve program goals and to advance organizational objectives
  • developing and maintaining a network of relationships with key actors, including division partners in the region and within the OSF network
  • developing the concept and agenda, and engaging with key players in convenings, research initiatives, and advocacy efforts
  • carrying out ongoing monitoring of specific issues or geographies
  • frequent travel required
  • join or lead ad hoc working groups assembled to address specific issues, including responding to unforeseen opportunities or challenges
  • may take the lead on program-wide projects or issues, as assigned


Candidate Profile

  • a minimum of three years of progressively responsible experience in a situation relevant to the duties of this role
  • highly skilled in researching and processing information and analyzing its importance in informing program strategy implementation and grant making
  • knowledge of current issues, actors and dynamics related to the democracy and human rights fields in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • prior work experience within a civil society organization or government institution in Latin America
  • demonstrated skills in program or project monitoring, evaluation and learning
  • excellent written and spoken English
  • fluency in Spanish; Portuguese proficiency is a plus
  • ability to recognize and work effectively in compliance with internal policies and external constraints
  • willingness and ability to exercise sound professional judgment on issues of sensitivity
  • ability to work constructively and collegially with colleagues at all levels in the hierarchy of the organization as well as with external partners throughout Latin America and the Caribbean
  • diplomatic, discreet, able to handle confidential matters with a high level of integrity
  • well-developed emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-management, and empathy
  • organized, strong project management ability, self-directed on work initiatives, strong attention to detail, and ability to manage competing priorities and deadlines
  • strong commitment to open society values of human rights, justice, transparency and accountability, and democratic practice
  • strong commitment to inclusion and respect for all colleagues regardless of identity or seniority
  • collaborative, collegial working style and sense of humor


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

Competitive rates of pay apply.

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 adjustments so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.
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