The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is one of the world’s leading humanitarian relief and development organizations. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC today responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps uprooted people survive, recover and rebuild their lives in the aftermath of armed conflict and natural disaster. We are committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and thorough accountability to those we serve.
With operations in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, the IRC is the only refugee assistance agency with large-scale international and domestic operations. Projections call for the IRC’s 2013 budget to exceed $440 million.
The Syria crisis is increasingly being described as the worst humanitarian catastrophe since the end of the Cold War. Aid leaders predict there could be 3.5 million Syrian refugees by the end of this year, with another 6.5 million internally displaced people in need of both urgent and protracted humanitarian assistance inside the country. Many countries in the region are already overwhelmed by the pressing humanitarian needs of countless thousands of refugees.
This is no short-term humanitarian episode. The devastating human consequences to huge numbers of people will endure for decades. The destruction of livelihoods, of homes and of essential infrastructure will take years to repair.
The epicenter of the crisis is the continuing civil war in Syria, but the displacement is spread across Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Meanwhile, deep divisions between Sunni and Shia communities throughout the region are being fuelled in what most foreign observers perceive as a proxy war. Minorities are more vulnerable than ever. Hezbollah, supported by Iran, is now a major actor in the growing conflict. Fragile and deeply divided, Iraq and Lebanon risk being drawn into the conflict. Meanwhile the international community remains at loggerheads about how to respond.
The UN has made its largest humanitarian appeal to date, $5.2 billion. Prime Minister David Cameron announced the largest single funding commitment ever made by the UK in response to a humanitarian disaster, £175 million. The US has committed close to $1 billion dollars.
This extraordinary crisis demands a level of response that IRC has never provided before. It calls for us to be the best organization we can be. IRC intends to provide the highest level of leadership in its commitment to ensure a bold and dynamic response to the refugee and displacement crisis and position IRC as the lead response agency in the region. The Regional Director is an exciting new position created as part of the organization’s efforts to dramatically scale up our response to what is unquestionably the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world today.
SCOPE: Based in Amman, Jordan, the Regional Director is an exciting opportunity to provide strategic and dynamic leadership for the IRC’s growing sub-regional response to the Syrian crisis. The Regional Director leads program and operational excellence with a focus on quality and impact in the Syria sub-region, which currently consists of country programs in Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey. The Regional Director supervises the Country Directors of Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey, and works in partnership with the Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPRU) Director on all in-Syria delivered assistance.
The Regional Director will play a pivotal role in regional advocacy, fundraising, communications and media engagement. The Regional Director will provide outstanding human resource and financial management and lead regional efforts in donor relations and new program development, with an emphasis on strategic partnerships. He/she is also expected to formulate and advance key advocacy messages and assist in agency-wide initiatives spanning external relations and branding.
The Regional Director will be an inspiring and experienced leader with demonstrated success in a senior management role within large, complex and multi-cultural contexts. He or she will bring strong leadership, expertise, innovation and passion to the Syrian crisis response and to IRC’s mission, people, partners and donors.
The Regional Director will be an outstanding communicator and collaborator. He/she will effectively manage relationships between the country programs, senior International Programs staff and IRC departments including Finance, Human Resources, Development, Global Supply Chain, Government Relations, Legal, Advocacy and Communications. He/she will also play an active part in delivering on IRC’s ambitious new five year Strategic Plan. The Regional Director will be expected to work closely with the Regional Director of IRC’s Caucasus, South Asia, Middle East, and North Africa (CASAMENA) region to ensure appropriate effort levels of the CASAMENA regional management unit (Deputy Regional Directors; Safety and Security Advisor; Advocacy Officer; Media Officer, and Program Officers/Managers/Assistants) are availed to the Syrian crisis response.
The Regional Director will report to the Syria Special Representative, who in turn reports to the Vice President of International Programs.
The Regional Director will be required to travel regularly to country program field sites to maintain an acute understanding of the regional context, provide expertise and guidance, and lead in all aspects of IRC Syria response programmatic and operational work. With the Regional Director’s leadership, the Syrian crisis’ clients and partners will have an increased opportunity to improve their lives and to build a sustainable and peaceful future.
- Leadership and Management
- Ensure alignment of all supervised country programs within the IRC’s mission, vision, and strategic plan goals
- Directly supervise and lead 4 country directors, supporting performance management and country program strategic planning and delivery
- In collaboration with the IRC HQ Finance department, provide oversight of country program Operating Budgets, burn rates, and financial planning, as well as manage the Syria Crisis regional unit budget and allocate usage of unrestricted funds to country programs
- In collaboration with other key stakeholders, maintain IRC’s commitment to technically sound and evidence based program design, monitoring and evaluation
- Promote a local-first approach that makes certain IRC is supporting the efforts of state, civil society and market actors to respond to crisis and rebuild
- Support the IRC-UK in working with key European donors and ensure that approaches to donors are integrated in the strategy and operational plans for the Syrian crisis response
- Engage senior leadership to optimize business practices to ensure appropriate control and compliance and empower country program decision-making
- Manage, in collaboration with the Regional Senior Safety and Security Officer, the risks associated with working in dangerous and volatile security environments
- Champion staff development efforts, in collaboration with Human Resources, including efforts to diversify leadership in country programs
- Advise IRC’s senior leadership team on strategic trends, needs and opportunities
External Relations and Development
- Develop and maintain a high level of understanding of donor priorities, country plans and planned funding initiatives, and coordinate those plans with IRC’s strategies
- Collaborate with External Relations (especially Institutional Philanthropy) and Business Development units to identify, cultivate and maintain existing and develop new relationships with donors, partners and constituents, both domestic and international
- Represent IRC with a range of key donors, policy makers, host governments, public and private partners, and news media
- Work closely with the Vice President, Public Policy and Advocacy, to strengthen IRC’s advocacy work by implementing existing plans and developing new plans in relation to the countries in the region this includes tracking political developments that may impact IRC’s humanitarian operations
- In coordination with U.S., U.K. and European Union advocacy teams, act as Regional/country program representative in donor and policymaker advocacy in key fora, including in Washington DC, London, Brussels and Geneva
- 10 or more years of senior management experience, with career path demonstrating increasing levels of responsibility
- Extensive field experience leading humanitarian programs, with proven ability to manage complex and insecure working environments
- Demonstrated experience working in the Middle East, in Syria or the neighboring countries a strong preference
- Excellence in effectively and passionately leading, motivating, mentoring, developing and retaining staff
- Demonstrated ability to balance pressing needs in the emergency context with strategic and longer term planning
- Proven success leading remote global teams of different cultural backgrounds in multiple countries with an emphasis on accountability and transparency
- Strong understanding of current advocacy and policy issues related to the Syrian crisis
- Strong presentation, negotiation and diplomacy skills
- Ability to listen and communicate with colleagues at all levels and a decisive manner tempered by an inclusive consensus-building approach to management
- Proven ability to maintain professional grace under pressure
- Fluency in English; Arabic proficiency a plus
- University degree, with graduate study in international relations, general management, or similar disciplines preferred
- Commitment to IRC’s core values of Integrity, Service and Accountability