Established in January 2013 to build on three decades of the Open Society Foundations’ work in Europe, the Open Society Initiative for Europe aims to narrow the gulf between the promise of Europe as the prototype for an open society and reality. By taking both reactive and proactive approaches to policy reform, it supports efforts to defend civil liberties and human rights across Europe, address the challenges of migration, and fight discrimination—including Islamophobia and the structural discrimination against Roma.
In addition to engaging and supporting bottom-up initiatives that can reconnect critical constituencies to the European project, the Open Society Initiative for Europe supports high-level debates about the institutional and political developments that threaten the viability of the EU as a democratic polity.
The Program Specialist will be part of the Governance and Policy Debates unit of the Open Society Initiative for Europe working on the implementation of activity portfolios dealing with political and policy debates in selected European capitals, as well as governance and state and regulatory capture in the European Union. The Program Specialist will be performing a wide range of responsibilities that advance both portfolio and other program strategies, mainly consisting of grant making to research institutions, debate clubs and civil society organizations, building political constituencies and alliances, and, occasionally, policy advocacy in selected countries of Europe. While reporting to the unit manager, Program Specialist will be working as a part of a team of six, composed of program officers and program administrative specialists.
The role requires a combination of technical prowess and significant knowledge input. On the former, the ideal candidate should have an eye for detail, procedural consistency, and appreciation of business processes, combined with specialized knowledge of how to use the various tools available to the organization for accomplishing its objectives. With regard to the later, candidate should possess structured and methodical thinking. Ideal candidate should have understanding of current problems that societies in Europe face and ongoing debates on social and economic problems, and the interplay between domestic policy debates and those at European levels. Successful candidate will have an in-depth knowledge of at least one national policy debates – preferably in Western or Southern Europe and preferably good understanding of regional context.
An ideal candidate will be able to carry out the responsibilities with a high degree of independence, but able to work as part of team. Program Specialist will develop familiarity with all the tools used by OSF to bring about social change and play an essential and important role in the use of grant making. Essential Duties and Responsibilities will include:
• supporting programmatic efforts by conducting a wide range of activities related to the grant making process
• ensuring efficient processing and flow of grants, contracts, consultancy agreements, and performing related administrative responsibilities
• coordinating events logistics, contributing to development of concept, agenda, key players, etc. for convenings, research initiatives, and advocacy efforts
• organizing and carrying out (together with senior program staff) field monitoring, visits, meetings and related travel
• designing and carrying-out field scans, including identifying relevant actors
• contributing to institutional assessment of grantees and applicant organizations. This may include assessments of organizational finances and budgets (including grant budgets), grantee communication strategies, and governance structures
• analyzing grant proposals (including budget analysis), and drafting grant recommendations.
• contributing to design of grants (type of support, degree of flexibility, duration, payment structure, reporting/learning expectations, etc.)
• conducting research, collecting and synthesizing information/large amounts of data to be used in assessments, decision-making, strategy development, and evaluation of the grants portfolio or other program processes
• developing tools and templates, analyzing organizational processes
• providing support in the area of learning design for benefit of the whole team
• bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent experience/education; or equivalent combination of education and experience; graduate degree desirable
• 3-5 years of progressively responsible experience in a situation relevant to the duties of this role (project, research or process management; social sciences; economy; finance; audit; law; philanthropy; think tanks; civil society or activism)
• moderate knowledge of, and great curiosity to learn more about issues of interest to OSF generally, and in particular as they relate to the work of OSIFE in the area of institutional and political developments that threaten the viability of the EU as a democratic polity.
• passion for politics of Europe, and interest in the political systems and debates about democratic regeneration in some EU member states
• in-depth knowledge of national policy debates in at least one EU member state, preferably in Western or Southern Europe, and basic understanding of regional context
• dan-do problem-solving attitude; self-starter; self-directed on work initiatives; strong attention to detail
• organized; strong project management ability; ability to manage competing priorities and deadlines
• structured and methodical thinking, ability to recognize and work effectively in compliance with internal policies and external constraints, ability to navigate complex procedures and business processes and creative problem-solving attitude.
• highly skilled in researching, processing large amounts of information, and analyzing its importance
• excellent written and spoken communication in English, working knowledge of another EU language is a plus
• excellent computer skills, proficient in Microsoft Office, (Demonstrated active advanced user of outlook, word and proficient user of excel (including advanced formula use, reporting, data summarizing, and mail-merge)
• good technological skills and willingness to learn, including cloud-based systems, remote-collaboration tools, and social media
• collaborative, collegial working style, ability to work independently or constructively with diverse teams of colleagues at all levels in the hierarchy of the organization, as well as with external partners
• willingness and ability to exercise sound professional judgment on issues of sensitivity.
• diplomatic, discreet, able to handle confidential matters with a high level of integrity.
• well-developed emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-management, and empathy
• strong commitment to open society values of rights, justice, accountable governance, human dignity, and democratic practice
• demonstrate consistent respect for others’ opinions, listen well, and respond to colleagues or external partners with awareness and sensitivity to cultural communication differences.
• strong commitment to inclusion and respect for all colleagues and external partners regardless of identity or seniority
• ability and willingness to take on moderate international travel may be required (up to 25 days a year)
Work Environment and Physical Demands
Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting with a low level of noise. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
OSF is an Equal Opportunity Employer which supports diversity and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation. Qualified minority candidates and candidates with disabilities are particularly encouraged to apply.
Please send your APPLICATION ensuring you attach both a CV and Cover Letter.