Program Officer, Reclaiming Local Public Sphere in Central and Eastern Europe

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    Berlin, Germany
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
  • Posted
    May 30

Position description

Program Officer, Reclaiming Local Public Sphere in Central and Eastern Europe. Berlin. Posting Date: 05/29/2019. Deadline: 06/25/2019

The Regional Program for Europe (OSIFE) is part of the Open Society Foundations (OSF). OSF is a global network of foundations committed to local knowledge and national expertise, and including national foundations, regional foundations, and other geographic programs operating in more than one hundred countries. OSIFE works at national, local and pan-European level to support European progress towards open society goals mainly through grant making, convening, advocacy and research, and supports OSF's foundations and thematic programs to achieve their Europe-focused strategies.

OSIFE is seeking a Program Officer to be part of the team working on the portfolio "Reclaiming Local Public Sphere in Central and Eastern Europe" This entails two lines of work. The first is focused on working with civil society organizations to strengthen, revive, and above all widen constituencies that support open society values, while the second supports local initiatives to solve problems at community level through participation, inclusion and equality. We are looking for candidates who can demonstrate excellence in relation to one of these two lines work while showing a level of interest on the other. The work focuses on Hungary, Poland, Czechia and Slovakia.

Job Profile

The Program Officer is the pivotal programmatic role at OSF. This role has responsibility for engaging with fields of interest to OSF, developing appropriate strategies and tools for fostering desired social change, while also developing and managing relationships with other entities including potential and current grantees. The Program Officer works collaboratively both within OSF and with external entities whose goals align with those of OSF, makes decisions about specific grants where appropriate, and carries out other responsibilities directed towards promoting open societies around the world.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities: The following illustrate duties that are typical of the role, but the list does not include all possibilities. All positions will not perform all duties, nor will all duties be present in equal degree in a single position within the role.
  • Responsible for grant-making activities relating to the current Reclaiming Local Public Spheres in CEE portfolio. Operates with considerable autonomy and makes decisions related to authorizing/declining grants within an approved work plan and budget reflective of own field experience/expertise.
  • Oversees the closure of grants in the Balkans for a limited period of time (expected until the end of 2019), while demonstrating basic knowledge of the context
  • Builds collaborative relationships within and outside OSF (e.g. with grantees, partners, experts in the field, etc.) that advance social change efforts within this area and specifically works to:
  • Working within the broader program strategy designs, assesses proposals and approves grants, while making use of other appropriate tools for advancing goals.
  • May participate in the development of overall program strategy, conduct research to support program design, monitor implementation of portfolio work and initiate evaluation efforts, drawing lessons learned as well as assessing impact.
  • Guides the work of program and/or administrative staff in support of grant-making or other program activities.
  • Responsible for strengthening connections between OSF's geographic and thematic programs within this particular area, while identifying opportunities where a shared approach might have the potential to create a broader impact

Candidate Profile

Skills and Abilities

  • The Program Officer can articulate a deep understanding of and vision for change based on experience and/or knowledge and is able to use that understanding to develop and implement a strategy for achieving the vision.
  • The Program Officer will have demonstrated success in advancing social change strategies, including planning and implementing modifications in response to an evolving situation.
  • The Program Officer demonstrates an understanding of the implications of the power differential inherent in the funder-grantee relationship and has demonstrated the ability and the willingness to handle such relationships properly and respectfully.
  • He/she has a comprehensive understanding of the structure and workings of both formal and informal organizations (NGO/non-profit organizations), networks, and movements within varied contexts and as appropriate to the portfolio.
  • Must have ability to exercise measured and appropriate judgment, rooted in analysis and often under circumstances in which insufficient information is available and/or the circumstances are highly volatile.
  • Requires mastery of analytical approaches and options, and ability to make sound informed judgments.
  • Requires project management skills, including the ability to direct others to effectively gather evidence and research to inform decisions or judgments.
  • The Program Officer will be able to build collaborative relationships - in OSF, peer foundations, and with grant seekers and grantees, and others in the field - to further programmatic goals.
  • The role requires comprehensive, specialized knowledge in the designated field, including familiarity with current controversies/issues and leading figures/thinking.
  • He/she must have the ability to exercise effective and inclusive leadership in cross-cultural settings.
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English are important, while demonstrating good communications skills in one of the languages of the priority countries would be considered as an advantage

Qualifications: Experience/Education
  • Bachelor's degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent experience/education;
  • 7 -10 years of progressively responsible experience in an organization, generally other than a foundation, and clearly relevant to the duties of this role
  • Experience with grant-making and advocacy
  • Familiarity with the socio-political context in Central and Eastern Europe, with a particular focus on Hungary, Poland, Czechia and Slovakia
  • Record of cooperation with relevant external stakeholders on these issues

Application instruction: Please apply by submitting a Resume and a Cover Letter

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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