Senior Director, Refugee Resettlement and Asylum Policy and Advocacy

  • Senior-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 17 July 2018

Job Description

Requisition ID: req1483

Job Title: Senior Director, Refugee Resettlement and Asylum Policy and Advocacy

Sector: Advocacy & Government Affairs

Employment Category: Regular

Employment Type: Full-Time

Location: USA-Washington

Job Description

Background/IRC Summary:
Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed unparalleled expertise in responding to emergencies and helping uprooted communities to rebuild. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from conflict and crises. The IRC is on the ground in more than 40 countries, providing emergency relief, relocating refugees and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster. Through 29 offices in cities across the United States, the IRC also helps refugees and other immigrants resettle in the U.S. and become self-sufficient. The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The Policy & Advocacy Department is a dynamic team whose core purpose is to drive transformational change in the humanitarian sector; and to defend and promote core humanitarian policies, protections, and assistance for the most vulnerable; which are under attack worldwide. The Policy and Advocacy team in Washington leads efforts on the IRC’s strategy to influence global protection and resettlement policy, and US asylum and resettlement policy specifically.

Job Overview/Summary:
Worldwide, over 65 million people are fleeing conflict and crisis, including 22.5 million refugees. Yet in the last year alone, there has been a 60% decline in global resettlement slots offered to refugees. In an astounding break from historic norms, the U.S. is on track to resettle fewer than 22,000 in FY18. At the same time, the U.S. is rapidly reversing protections for asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants, including children and families fleeing violence in Central America. The dramatic drop in refugee admissions and attacks on protection safeguards pose existential threats to lifesaving protection pathways for some of the world’s most vulnerable and to a resettlement program that has been a global gold standard. All other resettlement states combined cannot compensate for a plummet in the historic admissions record of the U.S. On the contrary, the American retreat from resettlement and asylum safeguards has weakened the resolve of other states to admit refugees and asylum seekers themselves. The domino effect extends to low- and middle-income host governments who host the vast majority of refugees, now questioning their humanitarian obligations as wealthy nations renege on theirs. After decades of leading globally in resettlement and humanitarian diplomacy, the U.S. is now leading the global retreat.

Over the last two years, in response to a shifting public narrative and policy approach to resettlement and asylum safeguards and threats at both federal and state levels, the IRC has been implementing major strategic shifts in our advocacy to build up a sustained constituency for refugees and asylum protections through strengthened grassroots advocacy and public mobilization, alongside our deep history of engagement with policymakers in the executive and legislative branches. The Senior Director will lead the implementation of a multifaceted strategy to defend against existential attacks on refugee admissions and asylum policies at the federal and state levels in the short-term, and lay strong foundations for rebuilding bipartisan support at the national, state and local level for refugee resettlement and asylum safeguards in the medium- and long-term. Alongside these core responsibilities, the Senior Director will work with partners across the IRC to ensure one-IRC policies and voice on the erosion of protection pathways for the most vulnerable taking place globally.

Major Responsibilities:

Lead the development and implementation of an ambitious IRC-wide advocacy strategy on U.S. refugee admissions and asylum safeguards, including:
* Set the strategic direction of Congressional, Administration, and State/local advocacy strategies to protect and support refugee admissions and integration, in close collaboration with the VP of Global Policy and Advocacy, the U.S. Programs Policy and Advocacy team, U.S. Programs senior leadership, and the Senior Adviser for Legislative and Governmental Affairs
* Provide overall strategic leadership for an IRC-wide approach on global protection safeguards and IRC’s response to attacks on protection pathways for vulnerable populations, with a particular focus on Central American populations, in close collaboration with the VP of Global Policy and Advocacy, the U.S. Programs Policy and Advocacy team, U.S. Programs senior leadership, International Programs operational leadership in Central America, and the Senior Adviser for Legislative and Governmental Affairs
* Lead the development of IRC-wide messaging and provide guidance to influencing strategies on global protection, asylum safeguards and mixed migration
* Set the strategic direction and oversee implementation of IRC’s public mobilization efforts, including grassroots mobilization, coalition partnerships, and digital advocacy
* Oversee implementation of related strategies, including engagement with Congress and the Administration, coalition partnerships, growing grassroots advocacy and public mobilization efforts, oversight of P&A staff building the capacity of field teams, and collaboration with US Programs partners
* In partnership with communications colleagues, set the strategic direction of and oversee the advocacy team’s implementation of strategic communications campaigns, and oversee the development of policy content for communications
* Set the direction and parameters, and oversee the production and content development for routine external policy briefs, strategic reports, and briefing materials, including for IRC leadership
* Represent the IRC through direct engagement with key Administration officials and Members of Congress
* Cultivate strategic influencers and build strong partnerships with coalitions and peer organizations to amplify advocacy
* Represent the IRC at key fora, including media outlets, on resettlement and protection issues
* Routinely communicate and collaborate with high level internal stakeholders to generate alignment around strategic approach, and identify opportunities to leverage IRC partners, including US Programs, Communications and Revenue
* Effectively and routinely measure and communicate progress toward strategy outcomes to senior leadership

Key Working Relationships:
Position Reports to: Vice President, Policy and Advocacy
Position directly supervises: Associate Director (US Programs); Policy and Advocacy Officer (Global Protection and Resettlement); Associate Director (Campaigns)

Other Internal and/or external contacts:

* Vice President, US Programs
* Global Policy and Advocacy team colleagues
* US Programs HQ and field teams
* USP Communications team
* IPD and Emergency team
* IRC Europe team

* US Administration (White House, DOS, DHS, HHS, OMB)
* NGO and think-tank partners
* US Congress (members and staffers)
* Elite influencers and associations
* UNHCR and other relevant multilateral stakeholder institutions
* Media

Job Requirements:

* Graduate degree in relevant field such as Public Policy, Law or International Relations, or equivalent qualifications/experience in a relevant field

Work Experience:
* Ten or more years’ experience working at high levels with government officials in the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. Government
* Experience working on complex humanitarian and/or foreign policy issues in the area of refugee resettlement and protection
* Proven experience developing and implementing successful influencing strategies
* Experience supervising staff and working as part of an interdependent team, and of quickly forming effective working relationships to deliver results

Demonstrated Skills and Competencies:
* Proven political judgment, and detailed knowledge of the workings of the U.S. Administration and the U.S. Congress
* Strong understanding of the U.S. resettlement program within the wider context of the U.S. domestic asylum and refugee protection asylum system
* Sound knowledge of global policy issues related to international refugee law and asylum policy and practice
* Excellent writing skills and the ability to translate complex material and data into coherent narratives
* Ability to communicate effectively with internal and external stakeholders
* Strong public speaking, presentation and networking skills
* Ability to travel and to work on tight deadlines
* Initiative and ability to work independently on fast-paced issues
* Commitment to the IRC’s vision, missions and values

Language Skills: No language requirement.

Working Environment: Standard office work environment. Up to 10% travel.

About the Organization

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in over 40 countries and 27 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure.

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