Near East Foundation (NEF)
Title: Director, Syria
Unit: Near East Foundation, Syria program
Reports to: Regional Director
Travel: up to 30%
Mobility: Preferred candidate will have ability to travel within Northern Syria and to Europe, Turkey, Erbil, and Jordan.
Expat/TCN Position: This position is open to Expatriates and Third Country Nationals.
The Near East Foundation (NEF) is seeking candidates for a Director to be based in Al Hasakah in North East Syria. NEF is a non-profit international development organization that has supported livelihoods recovery and community-based economic development in the Middle East, Africa, and Caucasus since 1915. NEF draws on local teams, experience, and partnerships in these regions to create community-led solutions to improve livelihoods and local governance among conflict and crisis-affected groups, while maintaining neutrality and ensuring inclusiveness in our approach. Working through a network of country offices and local partners, NEF currently has operations in ten countries: Armenia, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Mali, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, South Sudan, and Syria. Our programs are organized around three pillars: Inclusive Economic Development, Climate-resilient Development, and Stabilization and Peacebuilding.
The Near East Foundation (NEF) Syria program is seeking a creative, dynamic, and compassionate leader to join its team as the first Director based in Syria. The Director is a member of the Near East Foundation leadership team, reporting to the Regional Director (RD). NEF has been operating in northern Syria continuously since 2018. With the appointment of the new Director, NEF is investing in strong local leadership, administration, operations oversight, and management across all facets of the program and operations, while leveraging regional and global capacities to deliver impactful programming. In addition, the Director will hold overall accountability for effectively managing, implementing, and reporting on NEF projects in northern Syria, as well as taking on external relations duties.
This unique opportunity extends beyond the typical Director role. You’ll be joining the NEF Syria program as it is poised for significant growth. You will collaborate closely with the RD to strengthen and grow NEF’s innovative programs in Syria, including expanding and diversifying its funding structure.
The Director will be responsible for the day-to-day oversight of NEF Syria program teams, working with an exceptionally talented, dedicated, and committed team of national staff to support their success. The Director will work in close collaboration with country, regional and global HQ teams.
Leadership and Representation
- Strengthen local leadership, administration, operations oversight, and management of the project activities.
- Build and foster positive relationships with relevant local stakeholders; represent NEF in relevant local groups, forums, and relevant interagency platforms.
- With the RD, actively engage with regional and in-country donors and the humanitarian and development community to ensure that NEF is strongly represented as required.
- Remain abreast of ongoing humanitarian, development, and funding trends and actively collaborate with the team to analyze the impact on program growth opportunities.
- In partnership with the RD, lead integrated teams and coordination meetings to drive cross-departmental collaboration and the effective and efficient management of partnerships.
- Actively liaise with NEF program teams, locally and globally, to share best practices and explore cross-border opportunities for greater regional impact for those we serve.
Strategic Direction, Program Quality and Growth
- Manage and provide strategic guidance on adaptive management and project(s) changes including realignment of activities, budgets, and extensions when required.
- Manage and provide strategic guidance to capture program/project-related knowledge products.
- Manage and provide strategic guidance to the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) team to ensure programming is evidence and needs-based, and of high quality and impact.
- Identify funding opportunities; lead the development of competitive, cost-effective, and responsive proposals that meet internal standards.
Staff Performance Management, Learning and Development
- Strengthen and further build a local team across project management, finance, procurement, monitoring, evaluation and Learning (MEL), and specific program technical functions.
- Coach, train, supervise, and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting quarterly performance objectives, and providing continually constructive performance feedback.
- Maintain open and professional relations with team members, promoting a strong team spirit rooted in productive communications, collaboration, respect, transparency, and trust.
- In partnership with the RD and SMT, work with HR staff to identify and implement recruitment and retention strategies and strengthen country-level policies, procedures, and practices.
- Model healthy work-life balance practices. Promote and monitor staff care, well-being, and self-care and work closely with the RD and SMT to respond to identified staff care needs.
Grant Monitoring & Partner Management
- Oversee the timely and quality completion of program technical and financial deliverables in accordance with funding agreements and internal requirements.
- In partnership with the internal support units, strengthen, develop, adapt, and implement appropriate systems, tools and policies that enhance program effectiveness and quality.
- Lead and facilitate collaborative grants management and development processes, involving key internal stakeholders throughout the opportunity lifecycle. Promote cross-departmental collaboration and shared ownership of each opportunity.
- Oversee project risk management, collaborating with the RD and global office on preventive measures and shared security responsibility for grants and partnerships.
Key Working Relationships:
Position Reports to: Regional Director
Key Internal Contacts:
- Country Program: Senior Management Team members, program staff
- Global NEF: Executive Team, Business Development, Finance, Grants and Contracts, Human Resources, Program Quality and Technical Units, Strategy, Communications
Key External Contacts:
- Public and private donor agencies
- Private sector
- International and national NGOs
- UN agencies
- Partner organizations
- Foreign governments and relevant local authorities and stakeholders
- Bachelor’s degree required. A master’s university degree in international development or other relevant field is an advantage.
- 8 years of progressively responsible professional experience managing complex multi-sectoral humanitarian and development programming.
- Previous experience in emergency, conflict, post-conflict, and transitional settings required.
- Experience working on programs in Syria. Experience working in Syria is an advantage.
Demonstrated Technical Skills:
- Demonstrated ability to develop multi-sectoral programs, including food security and livelihoods, protection, gender, and youth. Direct experience in innovative program design and delivery in complex settings in agriculture and climate change, including green technology.
- Micro-finance with a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation for small and medium business enterprises (SMEs); and women and youth empowerment.
- Successful leadership experience managing a multi-disciplinary team and cross-cultural dynamics.
- Understanding of highly sophisticated MEL systems.
- Demonstrated ability for rapid, accurate analysis of complex issues, strong decision-making, and translation of programmatic priorities into operational strategies.
- Ability to respond to multiple priorities promptly, producing high-quality outcomes in coordination with their team, supporting a learning-by-doing approach that deepens the capacity of team members and their professional growth.
- Experience with USAID, EU, and corporate and foundation donors.
Demonstrated Managerial/Leadership Competencies:
- Demonstrated compassionate leadership committed to staff mentoring, coaching, and development as core to sustainability, continuously working to strengthen the capacity of Syria teams for program excellence and high impact over the long term.
- Diplomatic but direct with an ability to negotiate effectively and win over the toughest critics to achieve the best possible outcomes for those we serve.
- Verbal and written skills in English, with the ability to express ideas and concepts clearly and persuasively with senior internal and external stakeholders.
- Proven track record with program strategy development and expanding and diversifying funding and growing programs both in geographical reach and program sectors.
- English and Arabic are required.
- Travel: up to 30%
- Preferred candidate will have ability to travel within Northern Syria and to Europe, Turkey, Erbil, and Jordan.
NEF will accept a rolling application until the position is filled. Review of application will begin on February 6, 2024. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
Please apply by submitting the following documents in the English language:
- Cover letter outlining relevant experience and skills based on the requirements outlined above
- Curriculum Vitae
- List of three references (including one from current, or most recent, employer)
Please note only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Near East Foundation by visiting the NEF website at www.neareast.org
The Near East Foundation promotes Equal Employment Opportunities for all applicants seeking employment and NEF employees.
Any Employment with the Near East Foundation will be subject to the following checks prior to start date:
- A satisfactory Restricted Party Screening.
- Receipt of satisfactory references.
- Workplace Verification Check.