Chief of Party, Center of Excellence in Agriculture and Water in Egypt

Senior-level , Full-time staff position
Posted on 27 April 2018

Job Description

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is pursuing an anticipated 5-year USAID-funded activity in Egypt to establish a Center of Excellence in Agriculture and Water. The primary objective of the activity is to strengthen the capacity of Egyptian public universities to respond to changing public and private sector needs for applied research and skilled graduates in the sectors of agriculture and water. The program will work with leading public universities in Egypt to create a Center of Excellence that will develop highly skilled and motivated leaders working in this sector that is critical to transformative growth and development.

The specific parameters for such a Center of Excellence and the envisioned nature of the relationship between the U.S. higher education institutions and the partner university/ies in Egypt will only be known once the actual Request for Proposals has been released by USAID/Egypt. Activities will encompass faculty exchanges, joint degree programs, applied research, curriculum upgrading, as well as provision of laboratory equipment, fellowships and scholarships. The Center is expected to take on a pivotal role to form public-private partnerships and establish networks for agriculture and water that will bring together the best minds in academia, government and the business community to seek applied research solutions that strengthen the effectiveness of policy making and drive innovation, competitiveness and economic growth in agriculture and water.

The Chief of Party (COP) for this initiative will be responsible for the overall project management and administration of a $25-$50 million budget. The COP will serve as the primary point of contact for USAID/Egypt, the Egyptian government, and other key stakeholders of this initiative.

At this point, UIUC is soliciting expressions of interest in this position and this appointing the selected applicant to this position is contingent on funding.

Essential Functions:

  • Sets a clear strategic vision and plan for the program in close coordination with the key stakeholders and USAID/Egypt.
  • Provides leadership and program management. Builds strategic partnerships with Egyptian universities, the Egyptian government, the leadership and faculty at UIUC and other U.S. based consortium members, private sector partners, and other program stakeholders.
  • Oversees the design and implementation of efficient, results-oriented, cost-effective interventions to improve the capacity of individuals and institutions. Develops and coordinates technical assistance activities and training programs and corresponding budgets to meet project objectives and goals.
  • Provides capacity building of the local in-country team including coaching and mentoring. Works closely with project team members to monitor implementation and to ensure high quality and timely completion and submission of all contractually-required deliverables.
  • Acts as the primary in-country budget and procurement manager, in coordination with the Project Director (PD), Deputy Project Director (DPD), as well as functional teams in Egypt, to ensure that all finance and procurement is compliant with U.S. governmental and UIUC policies and procedures. Work with the DPD on pipeline analysis reports to USAID/Egypt and other budget documents.
  • Serves as the primary in-country point of contact for communications concerning project implementation and reporting.
  • Complies with UIUC policies and procedures, including financial and personnel related policies and procedures, which may differ from implementing agencies such as non-governmental organizations that the candidate may have worked for in the past.
  • Maintains clear communication with the PD and DPD Director on all aspects of project performance and implementation, including participating in weekly calls. Maintains clear communications with all partners and stakeholders.
  • Reports on a regular basis to the Project Director and Deputy Project Director on management, administrative, and implementation issues of the project.

Job Requirements Education and Work Experience:

  • Requires at least a Master’s Degree, with a PhD in an agriculture or water related field strongly preferred. Graduate training should have been completed in agriculture or water management, ideally coupled with training and/or experience in any relevant field such as higher education, research management, public policy, or international development.
  • Requires at least ten years of work experience in implementation of donor-funded international development, higher education or research strengthening projects. USAID COP/Deputy COP or Project Director experience strongly preferred.

Knowledge Skills and Abilities:

  • Experience working in or with the Egyptian and/or U.S. higher education system.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the Egypt context, including a thorough understanding of government policies and regulations on higher education and development activities, as well as more broadly with respect to how the policy making process and government operate.
  • Technical expertise in agriculture or water-related field preferred.
  • Working knowledge of relevant USAID and US Government policies, strategies, and requirements.
  • Proactivity and the ability to lead outreach to stakeholders.
  • Excellent project management and organizational skills, including accuracy and detail-orientation
  • Proven strong team building, capacity building, and management skills.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication in English; Arabic strongly preferred.
  • Ability to handle sensitive and confidential information with tact and discretion.
  • A commitment to international cooperation, research and education.

Work Conditions & Physical Demands: Essential functions are performed in a general office setting with low noise. Job demands may require long periods of sitting; telephone work and/or computer work, as well as interactions with other team members and external stakeholders. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or veteran status.

Procedures: Interested candidates should submit their CV or resume and cover letter in English to Andrea Bohn at abohn@illinois.edu. Please include the position title on the subject line as well as a note explaining your qualifications for the position. We will not accept telephone enquiries. Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis and qualified candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.

UIUC conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. All tenured appointments require Board of Trustees approval.

UIUC is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Visit http://diversity.illinois.edu/discrimination-and-harrassment-prevention.htm for more information. To learn more about the university’s commitment to diversity, please visit http://www.inclusiveillinois.illinois.edu/.

About the Organization

AgReach at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign works to improve agricultural, nutrition, and gender-responsive extension services and systems that benefit smallholder farmers. By supporting the development of people and organizations, AgReach stimulates growth, improves rural livelihoods, and increases food security in some of the world’s poorest countries. AgReach has worked in over 50 countries and reached nearly 15 million smallholders. An international thought leader headquartered at one of the world’s most prestigious universities, AgReach implements programs and develops research-based solutions extending the reach of information, resources, and people to key development stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, academic and research institutions, community-based organizations, and farmers. These efforts support advancements in agriculture, nutrition, and women’s empowerment so that smallholder farmers thrive.

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