Executive and Research Director, Strategic Philanthropy Initiative (SPI) (Fixed-Term for 2 Years)

NYU Abu Dhabi is pioneering a new model of higher education for a global world, dedicated to excellence in teaching and research and to advancing cooperation and progress on humanity?s shared challenges. Drawing on the strengths of the NYU global network, it offers an outstanding liberal arts and sciences education to students from the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and around the world, with a distinctive focus on intercultural understanding and leadership. It supports innovative research and graduate education programs that push forward the frontiers of knowledge and respond in powerful and interdisciplinary ways to vital global and local challenges.

Position Summary

UAE Nationals are encouraged to apply

New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) seeks to appoint an Executive and Research Director, Strategic Philanthropy Initiative (SPI) reporting to the Vice Chancellor for NYU Abu Dhabi.

The Strategic Philanthropy Initiative at NYUAD (SPI) is an educational, research, and community-based platform that will help shape, support, and champion vigorous, collaborative, and strategic practices of philanthropy within the UAE as well as across the GCC and wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Its ambition includes making strategic philanthropy a truly recognized field of academic inquiry, and emphasizing data gathering and applied research while allowing for a healthy dose of fundamental research that can help advance understanding of why people give, how they do so most effectively, and how philanthropic interventions can be most useful to societies. The SPI is being established through a multi-year framework agreement between NYUAD and an external Patron, who will support this initiative throughout its formative years.

The SPI will appoint an Executive and Research Director, who is the initial operational and research leader for the SPI and will ultimately be responsible and accountable to develop, implement, and oversee delivery of the SPI four-year strategic plan across research, convening and education. The Executive Director will ensure the organization’s accomplishment of its mission and vision, the accountability of the organization to its diverse constituents, and relevance to its beneficiary community. Other duties include: developing the SPI’s research agenda and dissemination of the research; cultivating partnerships with other relevant institutions and partners in the field, including peer organizations and centers, foundations and NGOs; fundraising and marketing the SPI events and initiatives; and building an effective team. The Executive and Research Director will be familiar with the philanthropy landscape in the MENA region and internationally, and will understand the unique opportunities and challenges for strategic philanthropy in the region.

Key Responsibilities:

Partnership Building and Relationship Management:
  • Build key stakeholder relationships and partnerships across the region
  • Serve as a key point of contact for the SPI Patron and his office
  • Build and manage the SPI advisory council and board
  • Represent the SPI at high-level meetings, conferences, workshops, events, and in the media
  • Work closely with Centers for Philanthropy at leading universities
  • Recruit faculty to design and deliver credit-bearing courses on philanthropy for NYUAD undergraduate students
  • Review and execute the SPI four-year strategic plan, and pivoting/adapting if needed
  • Draft OKRs in accordance with the Final Strategic Plan
  • Spearhead the development and delivery of SPI programs, both planned and new
  • Develop a medium- and long-term research strategy
  • Raise the resources required to implement the Research Strategy
  • Maintain an on-going gap analysis and needs assessment for the understanding and promotion of strategic philanthropy in the UAE and MENA region
  • Act as principal investigator on research projects
  • Conduct and oversee individual or collaborative research projects
  • Extend, transform and apply knowledge acquired from scholarship to research and appropriate external activities;
  • Write or contribute to publications or disseminate research findings using other appropriate media
  • Assess, interpret and evaluate outcomes of research
  • Make presentations at conferences or exhibit work in other appropriate events
  • Routinely communicate complex and conceptual ideas to those with limited knowledge and understanding as well as to peers using high level skills and a range of media; responsible for the delivery of own research programs
  • Extract crucial research findings to extract to a broader audience via social media
Program Creation and Delivery:
  • Work with students, student groups, and Student Affairs professionals at NYUAD and other regional universities to design and deliver competitions and workshops for students that inspire innovative social impact ideas
  • In collaboration with the NYUAD Office of Executive Education, design and delivering bespoke non-degree training and courses on high-impact strategic philanthropy for regional and next generation philanthropists
  • Oversee the creation and delivery of convenings, conferences, and lecture series events that build community and advance the promotion of philanthropy in the MENA region, in close collaboration with NYUAD Institute leadership and staff
  • Ensure the SPI’s annual spending is aligned with SPI goals and the agreement with its Patron, overseeing reporting to the Patron and collaboration with NYUAD’s Institutional Advancement team
  • Promote the advancement of inclusion, diversity, belonging, and equity in philanthropic practices and institutions
  • Supervise a Program Manager and student assistants

Required Education:
  • Master’s degree in a related field
Required Experience:
  • 7-10 years professional experience in the philanthropy sector, including in strategic philanthropy, organizational development and social impact
  • Expertise in socio‐economic development in developing/growth markets, preferably within the Middle East and North Africa
  • Post graduate qualification in related discipline
  • Ability to think strategically about high-level development and implementation of large-scale projects and initiatives
  • Experience and proficiency in working with community entities, building new partnerships and managing multiple collaborators across all fields and industries, particularly within the UAE context
  • Excellent communication skills; ability to work with colleagues and stakeholders at all levels
  • Experience with strategic planning, financial planning, intra/inter-organizational governance, and project management
  • Ability to lead multiple projects at once and execute multiple initiatives simultaneously and effectively
  • Demonstrated success in adapting to rapidly changing business circumstances in a complex environment
  • A self-starter, with the drive and passion to complete complex tasks within a matrix environment
  • Demonstrated commitment to IDBE and cultivating a work culture that understands the intersection of gender, race, economic status, religion, and other significant aspects of individual or cultural identity
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain a collegial working environment and mentor staff
Preferred Experience:
  • Terminal degree, ideally a PhD in a related field and/or with demonstrated research related to philanthropy

Other Information About NYUAD

NYU Abu Dhabi is a degree-granting research university with a fully integrated liberal arts and science undergraduate program in the Arts, Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Engineering. NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU New York, and NYU Shanghai, form the backbone of NYU’s global network university, an interconnected network of portal campuses and academic centers across six continents that enable seamless international mobility of students and faculty in their pursuit of academic and scholarly activity. This global university represents a transformative shift in higher education, one in which the intellectual and creative endeavors of academia are shaped and examined through an international and multicultural perspective. As a major intellectual hub at the crossroads of the Arab world, NYUAD serves as a center for scholarly thought, advanced research, knowledge creation, and sharing, through its academic, research, and creative activities.

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