Programme Officer

  • Location
    Brussels, Belgium
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Jul 08

Position description


NATO's public diplomacy efforts serve a vital function within the Alliance by communicating its purpose and priorities to audiences worldwide. In fulfilling this role, the Public Diplomacy Division (PDD) actively strengthens NATO’s public image, thereby fostering awareness and understanding of NATO’s policies and activities, and ultimately enhances trust in and support for the Alliance.

PDD works to promote security cooperation through a variety of programmes in NATO and partner countries and contributes to a continuous process of international security debate and policy creation. The Division also acts as coordinator for strategic communication activities across all NATO civilian and military bodies and harmonises public diplomacy activities undertaken by other Divisions at NATO Headquarters (HQ), as well as by other entities belonging to the NATO structure.

The Public Diplomacy Division Engagements Section’s principal goals are to strengthen NATO’s public image, foster awareness and understanding of NATO, its values, policies and activities, and ultimately enhance trust in and support for the Alliance. The Section’s strategic outlook is aligned to the NATO Communications Strategy. The Section is committed to building long-term relationships, fostering dialogue and cooperation with relevant audiences in NATO countries and around the world through a combination of people-to-people as well as digital engagement tools. To that effect, the Section engages with opinion leaders, policy makers and professionals as well as online interest groups and young people across NATO member and partner countries. Cooperation themes are guided by NATO’s evolving political agenda, with a focus on the Alliance’s core tasks, i.e. collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security.

Under the daily supervision of the Head, Engagements Section, the Programme Officer will be responsible for managing a portfolio that may include nation-based engagement programmes, thematic programmes and contributions to NATO communications campaigns, as well as functional cooperation assignments (including communications advisory support and capacity building).




The incumbent must:

  • possess a university degree, or an equivalent level of qualification, in a relevant discipline (political or social sciences; international relations; international law; communications sciences; public relations; journalism; etc.);
  • have at least 5 years of relevant professional experience, in particular in public diplomacy and the management of communication projects and teams;
  • have excellent communication skills, both orally and in writing, and be able to draft clearly and concisely all types of documents (memos, backgrounders, speeches, speaking points, reports etc.) required in the post;
  • have sound expertise on the latest trends in the organization of public diplomacy activities;
  • have experience in the development and implementation of communications campaigns, tailored to specific audiences;
  • have an excellent knowledge of international affairs, security and defence policy issues, and good knowledge of NATO policies and activities;
  • have experience demonstrating sound political judgment and analytical skills;
  • have experience in planning, implementing, monitoring and assessing a broad range of public diplomacy activities, including events, projects and campaigns using multiple communication tools and channels;
  • have experience in working with senior level officials;
  • possess proven project management and organizational skills;
  • possess the following minimum levels of NATO’s official languages (English/French): V (“Advanced”) in one; II (“Elementary”) in the other;
  • be willing to travel and to work outside normal office hours as required.



The following would be considered an advantage:

  • more than 5 years of relevant professional experience;
  • experience working in an international environment;
  • several years’ experience as a public speaker as well as working with and briefing high level groups;
  • excellent drafting and oral skills in English (Level V, Advanced);
  • experience working with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs); think tanks, civil society entities and national media;
  • experience in developing and managing communications capacity building programmes / training for government structures;
  • knowledge of other NATO and/or partner nations languages



Expertise Development

Support the Section Head in planning, executing and assessing NATO public diplomacy activities in line with the assigned geographic, thematic and functional scope of the assigned portfolio. Continuously enhance expertise in the planning, implementing, monitoring and assessment of a broad range of public diplomacy activities, including events, projects and campaigns using multiple communication tools and channels. Monitor and analyse developments and public trends in the countries concerned. Remain alert to political developments and public trends that may affect the efficacy of programmes and the image of the Alliance. Draft background papers, or written analyses for use by senior NATO officials, as required. Develop and maintain a subject matter expertise in assigned strategic issue files and follow them on behalf of PDD. Promote with innovative public diplomacy engagement understanding of and support for NATO policies and programmes as well as encourage discussion on security and NATO-related issues. Where appropriate, participate in conferences, seminars and external meetings and brief public audiences on NATO's current roles and policies. Apply latest technological trends in the organization of innovative and interactive public diplomacy engagements tailored to specific audiences.


Project Management

Organise, manage and assess engagement projects and programmes sponsored by NATO, in line with the assigned geographic, thematic and functional scope of the portfolio. Manage or support, as assigned, strands of work pertaining to the implementation of NATO’s Communications Strategy and associated campaigns with an audience driven approach. Ensure project/programme adherence to related objectives. Review project/programme evaluations in an effort to align future NATO sponsored projects/programmes with PDD goals and to ensure the best use of NATO resources. Arrange and conduct special communications projects in support of NATO high-level meetings, including NATO ministerial meetings and Summits. Design and manage dedicated engagements and information programmes for target groups from the assigned NATO nations and partner countries in accordance with priorities. Conduct follow-up work on projects and seminars in relevant countries, as well as assessment of activities. Support the Head, Engagements Section, in the managerial and organizational follow-up of projects/programmes. Contribute to the continuous modernization of the Public Diplomacy Engagements activities, by applying new public communications trends.


Policy Development

Provide regular analyses and inputs to the Division's senior management through the Head, Engagements Section, related to key political and public developments and trends. Analyse the impact of a potential PDD action on NATO’s relationship with the country or countries concerned. Contribute to political background analyses and liaise with other Divisions in the International Staff and the International Military Staff, as required.


Representation of the Organization

Promote the understanding of and support for NATO policies and programmes as well as encourage discussion on security, defence and NATO-related issues in NATO or partner countries. Where necessary, participate in conferences, seminars and security expert meetings (both face-to-face and online) and brief a wide range of audiences on NATO's current roles, policies and operations. Implement and support NATO PDD-led campaign activities.


Stakeholder Management

Develop and sustain contacts with key opinion formers, policy makers and professionals as well as online interest groups and representatives of the successor generation, including academics, think tanks, media and political representatives or NGOs and civil society entities, with the aim of identifying individuals and groups to assist and contribute to NATO public diplomacy efforts. Provide special reports, newsletters, multimedia material and other information material to NATO staff. Contribute to and provide social media content for senior social media accounts. Employ creative means to reach audiences. Arrange participation by groups from assigned countries at briefing programmes in NATO HQ in Brussels, Belgium.


Knowledge Management

Develop, maintain and contribute to performance assessment of the activities undertaken by the Section in line with evolving evaluation standards, including the maintenance of contact details for project partners and country profiles.


Financial Management

Administer programme funds, including preparing budgets and financial reports and monitoring budget implementation, in accordance with NATO rules and regulations.

Perform any other related duty as assigned.



The incumbent reports to the Head, Engagements Section and works in close cooperation with Programme Officers and Programme Assistants in the Engagements Section as well as with staff throughout the Public Diplomacy Division. In addition, the Programme Officer will be required to work with NATO staff in various other Divisions and Agencies, as well as with representatives of national delegations and NATO's military bodies. S/he will also cooperate with a broad range of external partners and interact with external contractors supporting the organisation of information and communication projects.

Direct reports: N/A

Indirect reports: N/A



The incumbent must demonstrate:

  • Achievement: Creates own measures of excellence and improves performance;
  • Analytical Thinking: Sees multiple relationships;
  • Change Leadership: Expresses vision for change;
  • Impact and Influence: Uses indirect influence;
  • Initiative: Is decisive in a time-sensitive situation;
  • Organisational Awareness: Understands organisational politics;
  • Teamwork: Solicits inputs and encourages others.



Contract to be offered to the successful applicant (if non-seconded): Definite duration contract of three years; possibility of renewal for up to three years, during which the incumbent may apply for conversion to an indefinite duration contract.

Contract clause applicable:

In accordance with the contract policy, this is a post in which turnover is desirable for political reasons in order to be able to accommodate the Organisation's need to carry out its tasks as mandated by the Nations in a changing environment, for example by maintaining the flexibility necessary to shape the Organisation's skills profile, and to ensure appropriate international diversity.

The maximum period of service foreseen in this post is 6 years. The successful applicant will be offered a 3-year definite duration contract, which may be renewed for a further period of up to 3 years. However, according to the procedure described in the contract policy the incumbent may apply for conversion to an indefinite contract during the period of renewal and no later than one year before the end of contract.

If the successful applicant is seconded from the national administration of one of NATO’s member States, a 3-year definite duration contract will be offered, which may be renewed for a further period of up to 3 years subject also to the agreement of the national authority concerned. The maximum period of service in the post as a seconded staff member is six years.

Serving staff will be offered a contract in accordance with the NATO Civilian Personnel Régulations.

NOTE: Irrespective of previous qualifications and experience, candidates for twin-graded posts will be appointed at the lower grade. Advancement to the higher grade is not automatic, and will not normally take place during the first three years of service in the post.

Under specific circumstances, serving staff members may be appointed directly to the higher grade, and a period of three years might be reduced by up to twenty four months for external candidates. These circumstances are described in the IS directive on twin-graded posts.


Please note that we can only accept applications from nationals of NATO member countries.

Applications must be submitted using e-recruitment system, as applicable:

  • For NATO civilian staff members only: please apply via the internal recruitment portal ( link );

  • For all other applications:

Please note that at the time of the interviews, candidates will be asked to provide evidence of their education and professional experience as relevant for this vacancy.

Appointment will be subject to receipt of a security clearance (provided by the national Authorities of the selected candidate) and approval of the candidate’s medical file by the NATO Medical Adviser.

Application instructions

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