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Program Officer, Ideas Workshop

Open Society Foundations
NY, Amman, Bogota, Berlin, Dakar, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Berlin, Seoul, London, Rio, Mexico City
Competitive rates of pay apply
Posted Date
Sep 8, 2022

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Program Officer, Ideas Workshop

NY, Amman, Bogota, Berlin, Dakar, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Berlin, Seoul, London, Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City

Competitive rates of pay apply

Do you want to help make the world a better place with your expertise in critical and intellectual thinking on human rights, equity and expression? We’re seeking a Program Officer based in NY, Amman, Bogota, Berlin, Dakar, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Berlin, Seoul, London, Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City.

The Open Society Foundations works to build vibrant and inclusive democracies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. We are active in more than 120 countries, making us the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights.

The Ideas Workshop is a companion initiative to the Open Society University Network (OSUN)- a global network of educational institutions that integrates learning and the advancement of knowledge. It is a new hub for critical thinking and inquiry at the Open Society Foundations that seeks ideas that have been under-served and under-represented and merit amplification. It seeks perspectives that can reimagine a field of intellectual activity by bringing together critique with the inventiveness of alternatives, and that may have policy implications.

Job Profile

The Program Officer will identify and support individuals, collectives and institutions that are renewing public debate and creativity with bold, fresh ideas. They will serve as a talent scout in search of the most interesting and transformative thinkers and centers of intellectual energy on issues of public concern, and will have a good understanding of the dynamics of public knowledge production, dissemination and debate in the region.

As a Program Officer at Open Society, you will:

  • Seek out individuals and groups at the ground-breaking of creative thinking on public issues in the region, attending conferences, workshops and festivals with a focus on ideas, tracking key publications and public discussion in broadcast and social media channels – looking especially for visionary ideas that may be at the margins and merit amplification.
  • Make grants to support outstanding individuals and organizations developing and debating such ideas, and to public-facing institutions, publications and networks that cultivate and sustain the circulation and discussion of ideas. This may include forms of expression: writing, film or visual arts.
  • Help to conceive and implement multi-year initiatives across program areas and geographies.
  • Engage with the companion initiative to the Ideas Workshop – the Open Society University Network, its core academic institutional partner.
  • Help organize and take part in internal discussions and debates within OSF about our assumptions and established ways of thinking.

What we are looking for:

  • At least 7 years of responsible experience in a leading role in work related to ideas and public debate, in any sector (academia, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, journalism, arts and culture, or the public and private sectors).
  • A graduate degree in a field relevant to the work described above would be desirable, although insatiable intellectual curiosity is more important than formal qualifications.
  • Deep and demonstrable knowledge of the landscape of online and offline public debate in the region, as well as a willingness to develop such knowledge about other regions High proficiency in one or more of the relevant local languages in the region.
  • Good written and spoken communication skills in English.
  • Good project management skills.
  • Good proficiency with use of technology and applications.
  • Commitment to continuous learning and growth in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice.
  • Commitment to listening and working with reserve; ways of working that are respectful to all people; and that support space and voice for all varied perspectives in our workplace.

Desirable (but not essential):

  • Facility in the use of social media.

What we offer:

  • Ample opportunities to learn and grow, from annual professional development allowances to onsite trainings and brown bag lunches with visiting experts.
  • Top-notch benefits and perks designed for your well-being and a healthy work-life balance. With some variability according to location, this includes generous time off, flexible work arrangements, employer-paid health insurance, generous retirement savings plan, paid parental leave, reproductive and family planning support, sabbatical opportunities, and much more.
  • A commitment to creating a diverse work environment that enables everyone to bring their full self to work and make a positive impact on the world.

If this sounds like the position you have been looking for, please submit a cover letter that addresses the specific skills and experience that OSF requires for Program Officers and CV; we look forward to learning more about you.

Closing date: 13 October 2022.

Work Authorization: Please note, this position may be eligible for work authorization sponsorship and relocation support.

For U.S. based employment: Open Society requires all US employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 unless an employee requires a reasonable accommodation for medical reasons or for a sincerely held religious belief. If you may require an accommodation, please apply for any roles that interest you and if hired, you will receive information on how to request a reasonable accommodation related to Open Society’s vaccination requirement.

We aim to build an inclusive workforce that is reflective of the populations we support, and actively seek applications from those who are marginalized and underrepresented. We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations to applicants and colleagues with disabilities.

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