Note: This is one of two Program Officer positions for which the Latin America Program is currently recruiting.
The Open Society Foundations' Latin America Program seeks a full-time Program Officer for work throughout Latin America, with a strong focus on Mexico, and on human rights, homicide reduction, citizen security, and drug policy. The position will spend an initial period of time in Open Society's New York or Washington DC office for training, with later relocation to Mexico City.
The Latin America Program addresses rights and governance issues in Latin America primarily through grant making, network-building, and together with partners, the development of specific initiatives. We focus on supporting Latin American efforts to reform democratic institutions in ways that are more open and responsive to citizens, defending minority rights, and reducing homicides in a region that suffers high levels of violence. We are committed to advancing government accountability and transparency, public access to information, citizen security, human rights, and drug policy reform, primarily through grant making to civil society actors in these fields. Within the broader network of the Open Society Foundations, the Latin America Program seeks to provide added value through sharing its understanding of political context, facilitating contacts, brokering relationships, and identifying strategic opportunities in the region.
Program officers are responsible for implementing, monitoring and helping to develop and evaluate program strategy; carrying out all stages of relevant grant making; strengthening connections between the Latin America Program and the broader priorities of Open Society; developing relationships with state and non-state actors within particular assigned countries or sub-regions, and facilitating effective and coordinated engagement of Open Society's programs in the region.
Under the strategic direction of the Latin America Program's senior program manager for human rights, citizen security and justice, the program officer will:
be responsible for a grant making portfolio that provides support to the human rights field and toward the defense of the rights of democratic minorities throughout Latin America
serve as part of a small team working with local and national-level actors throughout Latin America to help design and fund initiatives that contribute to reducing high levels of homicide, and to making homicide reduction a public policy priority
play a lead role for the Latin America Program in Mexico, developing and sharing analysis of political context, building relationships with relevant state and civil society actors, and identifying strategic opportunities relevant for Open Society
Additional essential responsibilities include the following:
analyze and assess institutional strengths and limitations of grantee and prospective grantee organizations
provide relevant analysis and feedback to grantees in order to develop and finalize grant proposals
review grant proposals and write grant recommendations as part of the grant approval process
monitor grants and maintain regular contact with grantees, contractors and other stakeholders, including through regular site visits to assess grantee capacity and the progress of grants
prepare and participate in assessments and evaluation of the effectiveness of program strategies, including reviews of program portfolios
analyze financial and budget information, including the review and assessment of narrative and financial information of grantees
assist in the planning and development and monitoring of annual budget
in coordination with the Regional Director and Senior Program Managers, occasionally engage in direct advocacy, or provide strategic support and feedback to grantees and allies involved in advocacy
work with the Regional Director, Senior Program Managers and Regional Manager to ensure close collaboration with other Open Society programs and to identify opportunities for complementary programming
in coordination with the Regional Director and Senior Program Managers, write occasional blog posts, op-eds, or position papers that offer perspectives or recommendations on issues relevant to Open Society's strategy in Latin America
encourage collaboration and strategic alliances among organizations and fields with related goals, constituencies, and interests, cultivating and maintaining institutional relationships with grantees and other allies, and participating in program-related meetings;
facilitate effective and coordinated engagement of Open Society programs for assigned geographic priority countries
practice a culture of learning and continual improvement, contributing to peer learning, reflection, evaluation and assessment of results
join or lead ad hoc working groups assembled to address specific issues, including responding to unforeseen opportunities or challenges
interact with Open Society's operational departments and manage internal processes to achieve program goals and to advance organizational objectives
frequent travel required
bachelor's degree (B.A.) from a four-year college or university and approximately ten years of progressively responsible experience working in a relevant field; or equivalent combination of education, experience and accomplishment. Advanced degree in a relevant discipline strongly preferred
broad knowledge of issues, actors and dynamics related to human rights, homicide reduction, citizen security, and drug policy
substantial prior work within a civil society organization or government institution in Latin America with significant work experience in Mexico
fluency in Spanish, with excellent written and spoken English. Portuguese proficiency is a plus
commitment to open society values of human rights, transparency and accountability, and democratic governance
experience in grant making or advocacy, or demonstrated project management experience, including managing consultants and project budgets, is a plus
high emotional intelligence, humility and empathy; the ability to relate to people across cultures; and excellent inter-personal skills, with the diplomatic demeanor and political astuteness necessary to represent a global organization
strong organizational, analytical and critical thinking skills
The Open Society Foundations are strengthened profoundly by the diversity of our network and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and more. We actively seek and welcome applications from people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, women, LGBTI persons, and persons with disabilities.