Country Director – Syria 161 views

Job available in these locations:

Amman, Jordan
Duhok, Iraq
Syria – Derek, Syrian Arab Republic

Requisition ID: req11582

Job Title: Country Director – Syria

Sector: Program Administration

Employment Category: Fixed Term

Employment Type: Full-Time

Open to Expatriates: Yes

Location: Amman, Jordan

Job Description

The Syria crisis is often described as the worst humanitarian catastrophe since the end of the Cold War. Inside Syria, 6.2 million people are internally displaced and 11.7 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. There are 5.6 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries. This is no short-term humanitarian episode. The devastating human consequences to huge numbers of people will endure for decades. The destruction of relationships, communities, livelihoods, homes and infrastructure will take years to repair and has a profound impact on the neighboring countries which are hosting the overwhelming majority of Syrian refugees and find themselves under increasing strain.


Job Overview/Summary:

The IRC Country Director sets the vision and strategic direction for the response in Syria and oversees all programs implemented within Syria.  The Country Director will maintain continuity of humanitarian support in current operational areas in the country, while exploring the possibility of expanding the geographic scope as conditions allow and in collaboration with the regional office.  The Country Director is responsible for overall leadership and supervisory management of IRC staff, programming, and operations within South, North East and North West Syria, and those in supporting roles in Jordan, Iraq and Turkey, including program quality and accountability, stewardship of resources, staff safety and security, performance management and external representation. The Country Director is IRC’s principal representative on behalf of the Syria country program to government officials, non-governmental actors, Syrian civil society, donors, international organizations and the media. The Country Director is expected to manage responsive and effective humanitarian programs implemented both directly and with Syrian partner organizations.

Success in this position requires an individual with exemplary, demonstrated leadership abilities who deploys strong communications and interpersonal skills effectively, both internally and externally. The successful candidate will enjoy contextual analytical skills with an ability to translate the impact of geopolitical events to our day to day operation.  S/he will build a network of partnerships and diversify program resources. S/he will be directly responsible for the overall coordination and strategic direction of the country program; providing oversight and coaching for directly supervised senior managers; leading country program teams to identify, design and deliver responsive, high-quality programs; ensuring efficient management of public grants and private funds for results, compliance, and focused, timely reporting; and oversight of financial management and compliance systems.


Major Responsibilities:

Leadership and Representation

• Develop a vision and carry out strategies that result in contextualized and high quality programs that meet the identified needs of clients.

• Lead the country program by maintaining open and professional relations with colleagues, promoting a strong team spirit and providing guidance, oversight and resources to enable staff to perform successfully.

• Initiate and sustain strong, mutually beneficial and authentic partnerships with local organizations.

• Ensure that IRC remains a partner of choice for major international (institutional and non-institutional) donors.

• Seek out and pursue opportunities to raise the profile of the work of IRC and its partners, as well as the lives and the needs of the people IRC seeks to serve.

• Play a leadership role in efforts to improve humanitarian coordination in Syria.


Strategic Direction, Program Quality and Growth

• Ensure the strategic vision and direction of the country program is aligned with IRC’s Strategy 100.

• Ensure the strategy action plan is of quality, implemented and guides decision making.

• Ensure high program quality is consistent throughout the country program.

• Actively seek out and pursue opportunities to expand humanitarian and resilience programming in Syria, in terms of populations and areas served.


Safety and Security Management

• Take primary responsibility for overall management of safety and security for the country program, including appropriate response to emergency situations as they arise.

• Maintain a culture of safety and security throughout the country program.

• Keep security, evacuation and contingency plans current and accessible to country program staff.

• Maintain close coordination and communication with the Regional Safety and Security Director on safety and security concerns and evolving issues that could adversely affect IRC staff or operations.


Staff Management, Learning and Development

• Ensure the SMT delivers the leadership, management structures, staffing skills and approaches, and operational systems required to ensure a coherent ‘one IRC’ approach to achieve country, regional and global objectives.

• Supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely performance feedback, and leading documented semi-annual performance reviews.

• Oversee the management, coaching and development of national and international staff to build a team of skilled, committed and motivated staff.

• As part of succession plan, identify, train and develop capability and capacity of national staff to successfully transition role and responsibilities, by end of assignment.

• Promote and monitor staff care and well-being. Model healthy work-life balance practices.


Stewardship and Operational Management

• Drive operational excellence to achieve optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness in all functions and operations of the country program.

• Oversee the development, deployment and utilization of financial and operational policies, procedures, and systems to deliver compliance with IRC and donor requirements.

• Ensure responsiveness and appropriate levels of in-person and remote support to all offices, especially in the areas of HR, finance and supply chain.

• Provide timely and effective oversight of the Syria country program’s financial position.

• Maintain effective and coordinated budget monitoring processes for grant funds and discretionary funds.



• Model and encourage active practice of the principles of the “IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct” throughout the Syria country program.

• Maintain a healthy and empowering office environment that encourages open, honest and productive communication among IRC staff and with partner organizations.

• Maintain open communication with regional management staff and technical advisors, and HQ departmental staff.


Key Working Relationships:

Position Reports to:  Regional Vice-President – MENA

Position directly Supervises: A senior management team responsible for programs, operations, finance, HR, and security


Key Internal Contacts:

• Country Program: All staff

• Region: Middle East Regional Team

• HQ: Crisis Response and Recovery Department (CRRD), Ethics & Compliance, Operations and Strategy, Finance, Global Philanthropy & Partnerships, Technical Excellence and General Counsel


Key External Contacts: 

• Partner organizations

• Host country government officials

• Public and private donor agencies

• International and national NGOs

• UN agencies

• Foreign governments.


Education and Work Experience:

• A university degree in a relevant field and/or 12 years of progressively responsible international work experience, including leadership at the Country Director level of multi-site, multi-sectoral operations in a complex operating environment.

• Prior experience working within organizational structures in transition.

• Experience working in conflict/post-conflict or disaster response situations.


Demonstrated Technical Skills:

• Superior communications skills, verbal and written, in both Arabic and English.

• Experience of managing security in a complex and rapidly changing security context.

• Proven ability to negotiate and work with partner organizations.

• Strong budget and fiscal oversight capacities.

• Extensive representation and fundraising success, including prior experience with European, US and international donors.

• Established capacity to handle stressful situations in a healthy, constructive manner.

• Ability to respond to multiple priorities in a timely manner, producing high-quality outcomes.

• Prior work experience in Syria and a keen understanding of political complexities in the Middle East region.


Demonstrated Managerial/Leadership Competencies:

• Demonstrated successful leadership and management experience with a multi-disciplinary teams in cross-cultural settings, including active mentoring and coaching.

• Effective in developing high-potential staff to achieve career growth and maximum contribution.

• Proven experience in managing high quality programming that meet the needs of clients.

• Proven experience delivering appropriate levels of oversight of a portfolio consisting of a variety of complex, high-value donor-funded projects.

• Experience building personal networks at a senior level, resulting in securing new opportunities for the organization.

• Opportunity-awareness.  A successful innovative approach to unpredictable programming, operational, and funding contexts.

• Ability to dispassionately represent program context, constraints, and successes to media, government, and other senior audiences.


Languages Required/Preferred: 

• Professional fluency in written and spoken English.

• Arabic language skills a definite advantage.


Computer/Other Tech Requirements:

• Proficiency with the Microsoft Office Suite, especially Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

• Working knowledge of file sharing protocols such as Dropbox, SharePoint, etc., an advantage.


Ability to Travel: approximately 25% within and outside the region for workshops, representation and conferences

Gender Equality: IRC is committed to narrowing the gender gap in leadership positions. We offer benefits that provide an enabling environment for women to participate in our workforce including parental leave, gender-sensitive security protocols and other supportive benefits and allowances.

Attention Returning National Candidates:  IRC strives to attract, motivate and retain qualified national staff in our programs. We strongly encourage national or returning national candidates to apply for this position. If you are a national of the country in which this position is based and are currently located outside of your home country and possess over two years of international work experience, the Middle East Region has introduced an attractive remuneration package. The package includes competitive compensation, return flight to post, shipping allowance, temporary housing and a relocation allowance. Certain restrictions may apply.

Working Environment

The overall security situation in Jordan is relatively calm, especially in Amman. The Jordanian government is stable, and civil unrest is largely peaceful. However, Jordan’s generosity in hosting refugees from Palestine, Iraq and now Syria have created huge strains on the country’s economy and infrastructure. The IRC office is in a modern professional building.

IRC is offering this post as fully accompanied for the successful candidate and accompanying dependents including: vacation leave, home leave, education allowance, housing, water, electricity, internet connectivity, and other generous benefits. Modern amenities (health care, international schools, etc.) are readily available.


Professional Standards

The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in the IRC Way – Code of Conduct.  These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability.  In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Harassment-Free Workplace, Fiscal Integrity, Anti-Retaliation, Combating Trafficking in Persons and several others.


IRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. IRC considers all applicants on the basis of merit without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, disability or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

How to Apply

  • To apply, please follow this link
  • To help us track our recruitment effort, please specify (on the application form & in your cover letter) how ( you heard about this vacancy.
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The International Rescue Committee is a global humanitarian aid, relief, and development nongovernmental organization. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC provides emergency aid and long-term assistance to refugees and those displaced by war, persecution, or natural disaster.

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