Director - Africa West Asia Region

Country: Ethiopia
Organization: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
Closing date: 2 May 2021

International IDEA advances sustainable democracy worldwide, by supporting the building, strengthening, and safeguarding of democratic institutions and processes at all levels.

Committed to the principles and practices of democracy, the Director AWA Region has the strategic and operational responsibility for delivering International IDEA's mission to advance sustainable democracy by developing comparative knowledge and providing technical assistance to democratic reform processes in Africa and West Asia. Leading diverse and talented country and regional teams, s/he provides strategic direction and oversees the development, implementation and follow-up of high-quality democracy development programmes in the region. As the region is undergoing a rapid transformation, the Director AWA region works to ensure a sustainable growth process of the programme portfolio, including where to engage and establish a deeper geographic/ thematic presence of International IDEA.

As a member of International IDEA’s Senior Management and a member of the Management Committee, the Director AWA Region will be involved in a range of strategic decision-making processes, actively contributing to the overall management of the organization. In particular, the Director AWA region is expected to provide guidance and direction in the development and implementation of programmes and initiatives in Africa and West Asia, taking into account current commitments, future opportunities and budget realities.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provides strategic leadership in the development, implementation, and management of International IDEA’s activities in the AWA Region;
  • Directs and manages the Africa and West Asia programme being ultimately responsible for the delivery of outputs for the programme, including the successful implementation of International IDEA’s Work Plan and Budget; Ensures that the level of execution of projects meets or exceeds donor expectations;
  • Raises funds and resources for Africa and West Asia programme, particularly for knowledge products, in line with the Institute’s strategy and mission;
  • Influences and promotes cross-regional exchange of knowledge and collaboration; Synthesizes knowledge emerging from the development and implementation of technical assistance programmes with knowledge development within the Institute;
  • Ensures integration between International IDEA’s work in Africa and West Asia and all other International IDEA programmes;
  • Provides substantive leadership, quality control and guidance to the different AWA teams, ensuring excellence in programme delivery and impact and relevance to Member States, donors and boundary partners;
  • Represents International IDEA towards Member States and other boundary partners in the region, in line with the direction set by the Secretary-General and within the framework established by International IDEA’s Statutes and policies; Acts as a competent and persuasive voice for International IDEA’s public profile;
  • Maintains and develops relevant professional contacts and networks with those active in the field of political reform and democracy assistance in Africa and West Asia, including the African Union and other regional organizations, democracy-building practitioners, policymakers, academics and the international community;
  • Together with the African Union (AU) and Regional Economic Communities proactively develops a preventive diplomacy agenda around elections and constitution building processes on the continent;
  • Contributes to the management of International IDEA programming, and future development of International IDEA, by providing strategic guidance and solution-focused approaches to how the organization manages its operation.

General Profile

  • Excellent project and programme management skills; Is accountable for the performance and results of projects within the Region;
  • Recognised as an expert within a field relevant to the position; Combines in-depth and/or breadth of expertise in own discipline and broad knowledge of other disciplines related to political institutions, electoral processes, constitution-building processes, conflict prevention, political participation, democracy assessment and gender issues as well as regional expertise (AWA); Deep understanding of political processes, general theory and practice of democracy;
  • Solid knowledge of development co-operation and key challenges in the area of democracy assistance; good understanding of various bilateral and multilateral donor policies and programming procedures;
  • Proven track record of high-level political engagement with multilateral organizations (AU, ECOWAS, EU etc.), national governments and key political actors, as well as International IDEA Member States and donors in the region;
  • Is expected to travel globally to any geographical area involved in his/her projects;
  • Solves complex problems that have a broad impact on the organization;
  • Acts in accordance with International IDEA’ s core values: Respect, Integrity and Professionalism;
  • Integrates a gender and diversity perspective in all activities.

Reporting Line

  • Secretary-General.

Programmatic Knowledge

  • Has in-depth knowledge and extensive work experience in a discipline relevant to International IDEA, combined with a broad knowledge of related disciplines within the role, in order to approach activities in a holistic manner. Has the intellectual leadership to integrate innovation into her/his field of expertise;

Operational Knowledge, skills and experience

  • Has a broad and comprehensive understanding of democratic theories and practices relevant for programmes in the AWA region;
  • Has substantive field experience from one or several countries in the AWA region;
  • Is active in the search of suitable donors and partners, identification of opportunities for initiation of new projects, and all other activities related to resource mobilization and partnership building;
  • Illustrates integrity, a collaborative spirit, a sense of achievement, and an understanding of risk management.


  • Leads through subordinate managers (direct and indirect); Executes functional operational plans and contributes to the development of functional strategy;
  • Acts as a role model and resource for colleagues.

Problem Solving

  • Directs the resolution of highly complex or unusual operational problems applying advanced analytical thought and judgment.


  • Proven track record of designing, implementing and measuring projects that lead to positive impact and tangible results.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

  • Fluency in written and oral English is required; Additional knowledge in one other widely spoken language in Africa and West Asia is desirable;
  • Negotiates and influences the opinions of others within the unit and in external organizations; exercises sensitivity to the audience;
  • Leads and promotes effective communication of operational services provision to external and internal stakeholders;
  • Represents International IDEA effectively in all professional circles.

Education and Experience

  • Post-graduate qualification in political science, law, economics, international relations or similar relevant subject;
  • Minimum fifteen (15) years’ of varied professional experience related to democracy and operations management, preferably in various organizations such as governmental, non-governmental, national, transnational etc.;
  • Minimum six (6) years’ experience at a senior management level in an organization with a record of success in human resources and financial management linking service delivery to strategic objectives;
  • Proven record of strong managerial skills - minimum of ten (10) years - including motivating, leading and developing teams;
  • Proven experience of project cycle management - minimum of seven (7) years - including planning and implementation of work plans and budgets;
  • Excellent diplomatic and networking skills and a deep understanding of political processes; Experience of high-level representation on behalf of organizations and with donors, member states and partners;
  • Proven track record of achieving results in a corporate or a non-profit environment, with demonstrated success in developing policies, procedures and processes and building systems and tools to support a growth-oriented organization.

Terms of Contract:

  • International post
  • Three (3) year fixed term appointment
  • Competitive salary plus benefits

How to apply:

Applying for this position:

  • Applications should be submitted no later than 23:59 (CET) 02 May 2021. Please note that all applications must be made in English.
  • You may apply directly by pressing the Send Application button here.

International IDEA is an equal opportunity employer which seeks to further diversify its staff in terms of gender, culture and nationality.


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