08FEB - External Relations Associate - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) - Deadline: FEB10


Organization Description

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees — also referred to as UNHCR or the UN Refugee Agency provides lifesaving assistance and protection, including shelter, food, clean water, education, and medical care to nearly 60 million people worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes. The organization actively works to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, helps refugees and other displaced people become self-sufficient through vocational training and income-generating projects, it also helps refugees and other displaced people rebuild their lives by returning to their homes safely and with dignity. Today, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide has reached nearly 60 million, the highest figure on record since World War II. UNHCR, with its staff of more than 9,500 — of whom 75% are local staff — and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners, works to assist and protect nearly 60 million people in over 125 countries around the globe. 

Location - Washington, D.C.

Job Description and Responsibilities

The three-person External Relations (ER) Unit of the Regional Office consists of the Senior Advisor, the Assistant ER Officer, and the ER Associate. The primary function of the Unit is to maintain and enhance U.S. political and financial support for UNHCR's global operations. The Unit educates and informs US Congressional offices of the needs of persons of concern worldwide and works closely with U.S.-based NGOs that are key advocacy partners for UNHCR. The Unit also maintains regular contact with the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and other Executive Branch agencies. The Unit organizes numerous missions to Washington by senior UNHCR from Headquarters and the field, including the High Commissioner, DHC, Bureau Directors, and Representatives from key operations. While the Assistant ER Officer is primarily focused on Congressional relations, the ER Associate (US Government) is the point person for regular contact with NGOs and provides these NGOs and other stakeholders with regular updates on UNHCR operations. The ER Associate (US Government) also attends NGO/think tank meetings and briefings; keeps abreast of discussion/debate on humanitarian issues via social media; and is responsible for much of the organization and logistics for incoming missions.

The Senior Advisor has the primary responsibility of coordinating the ER functions of the Regional Office and, along with the Representative, advocates on behalf of UNHCR's global operations through contacts with multiple high-level interlocutors. The Senior Advisor also oversees the work of the two-person Public Information Unit of the Regional Office.  The ER Associate (US Government) supports these functions by providing the Senior Advisor with relevant and up-to-date information on UNHCR's major operations and on the interests/concerns of NGOs and other partners. Given that the United States is the largest donor to UNHCR’s programs, the ER Unit is regularly called upon for information by not only government agencies but also the larger civil society in Washington. For this reason, and because of the political nature of the Unit's activities and its numerous internal and external working relationships, the ER Associate (US Government) post is crucial to the overall advocacy and government relations functions of the Regional Office.

  • Facilitate visits to the U.S. by UNHCR officials from the Geneva Headquarters and field offices, by scheduling meetings/briefings with State Department and other executive branch officials, NGOs, the World Bank, and other key stakeholders and by preparing background materials and briefing notes. Accompany visitors to meetings and prepare reports/notes on meetings as necessary.
  • Maintain and enhance relationships with NGOs and other stakeholders; share information on UNHCR’s global operations and thematic issues of concern; respond to requests for information on UNHCR programs, activities and funding.
  • Organize briefings and meetings with local and national NGOs; attend NGO and think tank meetings/briefings for ROW; prepare reports on such events.
  • Obtain sitreps and status reports from UNHCR operations worldwide and disseminate (after summarizing or re-formatting if needed) to government officials, NGOs, or others.
  • Assist in production of bi-weekly updates on UNHCR’s global operations, as well as ER fact sheets as needed, through writing, design/layout, editing, desktop publishing, and/or distribution.
  • Facilitate visits by NGO and think tank staff to UNHCR field operations by contacting field offices to provide information on purpose/importance of visits and to obtain information on itinerary/logistics.
  • Advise Senior ER Advisor, Representative, and other ROW staff, as well as Headquarters and field staff as needed, on UNHCR operational developments and relevant U.S. policy developments affecting UNHCR’s funding and operations. Also provide advice on local aspects of external relations policies.
  • Monitor dialogue on refugee/humanitarian issues via social media and inform Senior Advisor and other staff of relevant discussion and concerns.
  • Work closely with colleagues in other ROW units, including Public Information and Private Sector Fundraising, to share information and help ensure consistent UNHCR messaging to various U.S. audiences.
  • Perform other duties as required.

Job Requirements

  • Minimum 6 years of relevant professional job experience.
  • Good knowledge of US government’s working procedures and the operational procedures of UN/UNHCR.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Ability to work well in a multicultural environment and with multiple stakeholders.
  • Ability to work both independently and as a strong team player.
  • Excellent computer skills and knowledge of MS office software.
  • Excellent English communication skills (written and oral) and familiarity with social media.

How to Apply

Please submit a copy of your resume, cover letter and a writing sample (no longer than 5 pages). Please complete a P11 form and attach to the application, a link to the P11 form can be found at the bottom of this page http://unhcrwashington.org/get-involved/internships-careers. In the subject line of the e-mail please put: External Relation Associate (G6). 

Deadline - 10 February 2016