Interim Senior Program Officer, Middle East Relations, London, United Kingdom 325 views

This is an interim backfill role to cover for an employee who will be out on parental leave. The duration of the assignment is targeted for seven (7) months starting in April 2021. However, the start and end dates may change.

The mission of the Global Policy & Advocacy (GPA) program is to understand and shape the public policy debates affecting the foundation’s work, build support for its major program and policy objectives, and develop partnerships and alliances that can advance the foundation’s policy objectives nationally and globally. Because the foundation’s resources alone are not enough to solve the challenges ahead, GPA also supports advocacy efforts to engage diverse stakeholders and promote innovative solutions that advance our program goals.

GPA is composed of our Regional Offices in India, China, and Africa; our Donor Government Relations (DGR) teams, one for Europe and the Middle East, based in London, and another for the United States, Canada, and Asia-Pacific region, based in Washington, DC; a Program Advocacy & Communications (PAC) team; a Development Policy & Finance (DPAF) team; and our Philanthropic Partnerships (PPT) team. We work in close partnership with grantees, our colleagues across the foundation, the Executive office, and foundation Communications to build the environment in which all people have the opportunity to lead healthy and productive lives.

Leadership & Culture

Our culture shapes our choices about what we do and how we do it. We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment can do extraordinary things. We expect foundation employees to intentionally and consistently embody our four agreements; show respect, offer trust, be transparent, and create energy.

Position Summary

The Donor Government Relations (DGR) team leads the foundation’s geographic presence in the largest donor countries outside North America and China, covering Europe (with a focus on UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Nordics, Netherlands, and European Union institutions,) the Middle East (Arab league countries and Turkey) and the Asia-Pacific region (Japan, South Korea, and Australia).

While our focus is on government donors, the nature of our work also means that we frequently engage with non-government actors such as the media, civil society organisations, think-tanks and academic institutions as we seek to make the case for sustained commitment to international development programs. The Middle East team leads all aspects of our government engagement and coordination with two non-donor countries, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

In this interim role, you will lead our engagement efforts in the region, including supporting the vision, developing strategic goals, evaluating opportunities and risks, prioritizing strategic options, designing, and implementing action plans and associated budget and resource allocation.

Core Responsibilities

Manage the foundation’s partnership with its largest grantee in the Middle East, [e.g., Lives & Livelihoods Fund (LLF)]; ensuring cross-foundation input into the LLF to deliver impactful investments; providing capacity building; staffing foundation leadership in LLF-related engagements.

Lead and advance programmatic efforts in the region such as our Gender Equality and Agricultural Development partnerships.

Structure and drive necessary internal and external stakeholder coordination on our Middle East engagement. This will include managing a team of consultants and overseeing their deliverables.

Conduct landscaping activities of potential partners and manage a portfolio of grants and contracts to support the foundation’s government relations objectives.

Draft briefs, memos, background research and other materials upon request.

Coordinate with foundation teams working in Pakistan (e.g., through the Pakistan Working Group), and facilitate our engagements with the government of Pakistan.

Core Knowledge & Skills

Passion and commitment for the foundation’s mission, core values and programs.

Excellent corporate and strategy/critical thinking skills and capabilities.

Deep project management skills, with the ability to coordinate and manage stakeholders, drive decision-making in a dynamic environment.


agricultural development


development finance

global health

middle east

parental leave

project management

Excellent written and verbal communication skills essential including the ability to represent the foundation at external meetings and events.

Capability to develop and cultivate strong partnerships and relationships; internally and externally. Demonstrated ability to build challenging relationships, manage conflicts and build consensus.

Results orientation and ability to work with efficiency and diplomacy. Excellent listening skills and empathy.

Ability to influence without authority.

Must be highly organized and effective, possess excellent judgement with a demonstrated ability to handle multiple tasks, complex issues, and competing priorities with excellent attention to detail.

Clear understanding of stakeholders across the foundation, including relevant communication channels to resolve/escalate issues.

Fluency in French and/or Arabic a plus.

Ability to travel within the Middle East region and to the United States (subject to COVID-19 restrictions).

Education & Experience

Bachelor’s Degree with significant professional experience. Master’s degree in public policy/international development or a related field is desirable.

Deep knowledge of and experience in the Middle East and North Africa.

Some background in international development and/or knowledge of development finance. required Knowledge of global health / global development issues and institutions helpful but not required.

For internal applicants: The employee transfer policy applies to internal backfill positions. An employee may apply for an open position after at least 12 months in their current position. If you meet this requirement and wish to pursue a backfill opportunity, you are required to have a conversation with your manager to confirm their support before you apply. In rare cases, the requirement of a minimum of 12 months in a position may be waived if a transfer is critical to the foundation’s goals and is approved by the current manager and their HR Consultant (HR Business Partner or HR Manager). All backfill positions are posted as LTE roles. With current manager support, if selected for the role, FTEs will retain their FTE status during the backfill assignment. Managers will have the option of backfilling for the individual moving to the interim position for a similar duration via the same hiring channels and options as this position. However, current managers may be unwilling or unable to hold headcount for the duration of an interim assignment and may deny the employee’s request. In such cases, the employee may apply for the open LTE position, but if selected, would effectively be resigning as an FTE, and would be hired as an LTE for the duration of the interim assignment. As an LTE, employment with the foundation is expected to end at the end of the assignment, and the employee would not be eligible for severance.

*Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve the mission of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to:

* Race

* Color

* Age

* Religion

* Pregnancy

* Sex

* Sexual Orientation

* Disability

* Gender Identity

* Gender Expression

* National Origin

* Genetic Information

* Veteran Status

* Marital Status

* Prior Protected Activity


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