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01NOV - Advocacy Strategist, Refugee Protection, Human Rights First - Deadline: N/A

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Organization Description

Human Rights First is an independent advocacy and action organization that challenges America to live up to its ideals. Over its 35-year history, Human Rights First has earned a reputation for pragmatic, results-oriented advocacy that is politically astute, grounded in facts, and driven by sophisticated legal and policy analysis. Human Rights First is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with a track record of success in delivering change that has made a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

The organization is led by President and CEO Elisa Massimino. A lawyer and activist with more than two decades of experience in the field, Massimino has been recognized as one of the top 20 public advocates in the country. Massimino leads a team of almost 100 talented and committed activists based in New York City, Washington, DC and Houston, TX. Our office environments are professional, collaborative and friendly. Employees are passionate and work hard to achieve the organization’s goals and objectives. We strive to attract and retain good talent and offer competitive compensation and strong benefits.

Human Rights First is committed to equal employment opportunity and recruiting talent from across all diverse groups. We do not discriminate against any person because of the individual’s race, color, creed, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, affection preference, gender identity, marital status, national origin, citizenship status, disability, status as a war veteran, status as a victim of domestic violence, or on any other basis prohibited by law. We believe a diverse staff and an inclusive work environment that welcomes a range of perspectives make us a stronger and more effective organization. 

Location: Washington, DC

Job Description

Across the world, there are currently more refugees on the move than at any time since the end of World War II.  Human Rights First is urging the United States government to better respond to this crisis by protecting the rights of asylum-seekers who arrive in the United States, including the rights of families and children fleeing violence in Central America, and by taking a leadership role in addressing the global problem which includes, notably, Syrians fleeing civil war. We believe that U.S. leadership is required to address the current refugee crisis and that rising to meet this challenge will bolster our nation’s security and further our long-term strategic interests.

The Advocacy Strategist, Refugee Protection is responsible for developing and implementing Human Rights First’s strategies to change U.S. policy to better protect the rights of refugees.  S/he will develop plans to persuade American government officials to adopt Human Rights First’s proposals drawing on resources from across the organization including Human Rights First’s researchers, experts in refugee policy, the organization’s communications team, other members of the government relations department, lawyers representing asylum-seekers, and the organization’s leadership.  The Advocacy Strategist will be Human Rights First’s lead liaison on refugee protection issues to the executive and legislative branches of government. 

Job Responsibilities

  • Craft and execute plans to persuade policy makers to adopt Human Rights First’s proposals to protect the rights of refugees.  In particular, the Advocacy Strategist will:
    • Work with Human Rights First experts in refugee policy to set and frame organizational objectives
    • Craft strategies to achieve these objectives via direct and public advocacy
    • Identify advocacy targets and create and implement strategies to reach and influence them
    • Promote Human Rights First’s experts and create opportunities for them to advocate for the organization’s objectives
    • Identify opportunities to advance our objectives and marshal organizational resources toward meeting them by, for example, overseeing the creation of advocacy materials and opinion pieces, organizing briefings, identifying and mobilizing allies, etc.
    • Prepare and promote Human Rights First’s materials for use by policy makers and other advocacy targets in advance of briefings, hearings, trips and other opportunities
    • Identify opportunities to build Human Rights First’s profile on the Hill and in Washington, DC via events and briefings 
    • Write and edit press releases, blogs, and social media content
  • Cultivate and manage relationships with senior-level policy makers and their staffs
  • Track legislation, identify threats and opportunities, and lead efforts to develop organizational positions when necessary 
  • Lead Human Rights First’s engagement with Congressional hearings on refugee issues and work with colleagues to prepare, attend, and follow up on hearings, as appropriate 
  • Lead and/or coordinate meetings between advocacy targets and Human Rights First experts, leadership, and allies
  • Contribute to projects in the government relations department, including engagement in major events such as the organization’s Human Rights Summit
  • Other duties as requested based on department and/or organizational need

Job Requirements

  • At least 5 years public affairs experience in a range of settings - Capitol Hill, government/cabinet agencies, political campaigns, or in a leadership role in an advocacy organization; must have at least 3 years advising senior-level leaders.
  • Bachelor’s required; J.D or other advanced degree preferred
  • Sophisticated understanding of the legislative and political process, and experience managing multifaceted advocacy campaigns
  • Excellent political judgment and strategic thinking
  • Knowledge of issues facing refugees and experience advocating on those issues 
  • Demonstrated ability to take initiative, prioritize responsibilities, and work independently while functioning as a member of a team
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with an emphasis on verbal and written communication, public presentation skills and persuasive speaking skills
  • Ability to summarize complicated information for specific audiences, including the general public
  • Ability to work at a fast pace effectively in a cross-functional environment
  • Strong organizational and planning skills, including ability to work with diverse groups at all levels internally and externally.  Demonstrated ability to work with people possessing different viewpoints.
  • A network of well-placed contacts 

How to Apply

 Apply online through the Human Rights First website.

Deadline: N/A