Program Officer, International Migration Initiative

  • Mid-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 6 October 2020

Job Description

Competitive rates of pay + excellent benefits

The International Migration Initiative is looking for a Program Officer to join its Welcoming and Inclusive Cities (WIC) Division, based in New York.

WIC partners with cities to provide political leadership and practical blueprints for handling migration and other global challenges namely: the climate crisis, digitalization, and pandemics – all of which intersect in urban areas. As the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a wave of nationalist responses, cities on the frontlines are innovating, sharing local solutions, and supporting each other. We imagine a new age of city solidarity where local practice shapes national policy, local knowledge informs international norms, and local needs trigger global cooperation. WIC’s work is to make this vision a reality.

As a political philanthropy undeterred by the risks associated with challenging power structures, OSF is uniquely positioned to undertake this work. WIC’s relationships with over 100 cities and city partners around the world, combined with OSF’s regional knowledge, access, and influence allows us to activate cities as allies across open society priorities. We collaborate with national and regional foundations – and seek out OSF’s advocacy, investment, and litigation expertise – to support strategies that elevate cities as centers of power and influence. Within cities, we seek to empower both civil society (including academic institutions) and local leadership to join forces when open and tolerant societies are under threat, mindful of the complex political dynamics that drive their efforts, collaboration, or lack thereof.

As a Program Officer with the International Migration Initiative, you will:

  • Lead major areas of work involving furthering inclusion and empowering migrants in urban areas, with a focus on: building the capacities of local centers of power and influence; connecting cities to improve migrant empowerment and inclusion; supporting bold and principled mayors as global advocates; advancing progressive migration policy change at the national and international levels with the innovations spurred at the local level; and mobilizing cities and city leaders for national and transnational impact;
  • Promote and support the collaboration and networking of cities in national and international contexts;
  • Develop foundational grantmaking portfolios within the WIC Division of OSF, with a geographic focus on Latin America and the United States, or on Africa and Europe;
  • Forge collaborative partnerships within and outside OSF to develop and execute advocacy strategies and initiatives to promote inclusion at local and national levels that advance portfolio goals;
  • Assess organizational capacities of key grantees and provide capacity building opportunities in order to strengthen the field of inclusion and empowerment through the agency (power and influence) of cities;
  • Conceptualize and convene meetings and seminars with relevant program partners to advance cutting-edge thinking on the work, to continue to question existing assumptions, to test new theories of governance, of social inclusion and economic advancement, of participatory grantmaking, and others, as they arise.

What we’re looking for:

  • Compassionate, visionary, disciplined, organized leader with demonstrated success in applying her/his vision in the field;
  • Seven to ten plus years’ experience working on immigrant and refugee rights and policy, including in a leading role at a government agency (city government expertise in particular), NGO, or research institution focused on cities, city government, and city-led change within national and regional contexts;
  • In-depth understanding of the Latin America and United States and/or Africa and Europe migration corridors;
  • Demonstrated experience in advancing social change strategies, including the ability to adopt those strategies in response to an evolving situation;
  • Mastery (including familiarity with current controversies and thinking) of key related issues such as: international relations with a focus on cooperation and coalition building across geographies; and social and economic development at the local level with a focus on: immigrants and refugees’ rights, immigrant, refugee and immigration policy;
  • Project management skills, including superior organizational skills and the ability to direct others to gather evidence and research to support key decisions or judgments.


  • Knowledge of philanthropy and grantmaking process;
  • Fluency in Spanish or French.

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, progressive paid parental leave, reproductive and family planning support, sabbatical opportunities, and much more.
  • A commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace that enables everyone to bring their full self to work and make a positive impact on the world.

If this sounds like the position for you, please submit a cover letter that addresses the specific skills and experience that Open Society requires for Program Officers and a resume. We look forward to learning more about you.

Closing date: October 23 2020.


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.

About the Organization

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to criticism, whose laws and policies are open to debate and correction, and whose political institutions are open to the participation of all people. We seek to strengthen justice and the rule of law; broaden respect for human rights, including the rights of minorities; encourage pluralism and a robust diversity of opinion; deepen democratic practice and participation; expand economic equity; support effective governance; and invest in individuals, public and private organizations, and social movements that advance these goals.

We are a global network of foundations committed to local knowledge and national expertise. Our network includes national foundations, regional foundations, and other geographic programs operating in more than one hundred countries. At the same time, many programs with global reach operate from our four headquarters in Europe and the United States, including programs on digital information, documentary photography, drug policy, early childhood, education, fellowships, fiscal governance, higher education, human rights, international migration, justice, public health, scholarships, think tanks, and women’s rights. In addition to making grants to organizations and individuals, the Open Society Foundations engage in policy advocacy, legal advocacy and litigation, program-related investing, and public communications, as well as providing direct assistance to governments. Most programs and foundations in the network are governed or advised by their own boards.

The Open Society Foundations are the global philanthropies of George Soros, who, as chairman, plays an active role in the work of the foundations.

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