Humanitarian Policy & Advocacy Officer

International Rescue Committee
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Jul 26

Position description

Reporting to the Senior Director of International Programs Policy and Advocacy, the advocacy officer will be based in Washington, DC. The ideal person for this role thinks and act strategically and enjoys seeing the big picture, but can be close enough to the work to execute every-day tactics. In partnership with the Senior Director, you will conceive and implement policy initiatives and strategies to support country teams in removing acute bureaucratic, political and other barriers that prevent or impede program delivery; speak out in capitals on the realities encountered in our day-to-day work on a maximally credible basis in order to deliver our policy recommendations; and leverage IRC’s footprint to advocate for long-term solutions for crisis-affected and displaced people as they move from conflicts to camps or urban settlements, resettlement, or repatriation. The Officer will engage in high level direct advocacy with government officials and international leaders. It is anticipated that the Officer will focus primarily on the Syrian conflict and its impact on neighboring countries, as well as work on displacements in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa as directed. 

The ideal candidate must be an excellent writer and communicator; be highly strategic about advocacy messaging, timing, and targets; is goal-oriented and a great collaborator - gaining partnership and teamwork from others at all levels both internal and external to the IRC. 

Major Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with highly-motivated Policy and Advocacy colleagues and program staff in the Middle East Region, New York and Europe, in the design and implementation of global advocacy strategies to direct influence in a range of global capitals
  • Lead the development and implementation of a focused, evidence-driven policy agenda to raise awareness and influence decision makers to adopt effective solutions for identified operational challenges
  • Translate operational and country-specific concerns into global level priorities and advance them in coordination with the regional and organizational strategy
  • Liaise closely with counterparts in International Programs and Emergency Preparedness and Response at the headquarters, regional and country levels to channel the data and knowledge generated by IRC’s diverse programs into solutions-oriented policy recommendations and substantive advocacy plans, developing strategies that are derived from an intimate and analytical understanding of IRC’s work with the populations we serve
  • Work across the organization to align policy and advocacy work with programs, communications and the organizational strategy
  • Develop and regularly update advocacy briefing materials for use by advocacy colleagues and IRC senior leadership in external meetings
  • Prepare briefing materials for travel by IRC senior leadership to field offices
  • Draft public speeches, congressional testimony, and talking points for IRC senior leadership on areas of expertise
  • Develop and distribute flash updates to policy targets at moments of opportunity
  • Create and leverage direct relationships and dialogue with high-level government policy and decision-makers and leaders within international organizations who have the power to change policy and influence practice
  • Develop and maintain active working relationships with policy and advocacy colleagues in IRC partner organizations and other INGOs, and explore formal or semi-formal partnership opportunities with policy and research institutions.
  • Represent the IRC at high-level policy-related meetings, committees and fora with donors and key policymakers. Write, speak and present as a contributor to IRC’s thought leadership in areas of influence
  • Work with Communications colleagues in the field and headquarters to draft and edit talking points, press releases, and other external products


  • Graduate degree in relevant field such as Public Policy, Law or International Relations preferred
  • 5-8 years of experience working on complex humanitarian and/or foreign policy issues, preferably in the area of complex humanitarian emergencies, forced migration, refugee protection and/or refugee resettlement, conflict resolution, international humanitarian law and civilian protection, accountability and/or peacebuilding.
  • Demonstrated experience leading on the development, implementation and management of advocacy efforts in relevant organizations and contexts

Demonstrated Skills and Competencies

  • Deep understanding of the humanitarian sector, including financing and operational contexts, and ability to translate this knowledge into effective influencing strategies
  • Thorough understanding of foreign policy and diplomatic architecture, with experience influencing government officials and agencies in the U.S. and abroad
  • Strong communication and writing skills, including the ability to distill complex and technical material into compelling narratives and briefs for high level officials
  • Ability to access and engage key decision-makers at high level of government and UN agencies, and serve confidently as a representative for the IRC in high profile and highly sensitive fora 
  • Ability to cultivate internal relationships and partnerships across and at all levels of the organization
  • Fluency with key parts of the IRC’s strategy, including the aid community’s journey to become increasingly results and evidence-based
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks and projects simultaneously and deliver at highest quality
  • Capacity to innovate and problem solve and work independently to meet deadlines
  • Sense of humor

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

Application instructions

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