Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

The Senior External Relations Officer normally reports to the Representative or Deputy Representative. The incumbent has direct supervisory responsibility for External Relations staff. External contacts are predominantly with partners, media, government, embassies and other international organizations in the country on matters of importance to the organization. All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR¿s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.


– Stay abreast of the challenges posed by the political context, the UN and humanitarian reform, and institutional developments in the area of forced displacement and humanitarian operations.

– Through a consultative process with UNHCR colleagues (Programme, Protection, etc.) with external actors and partners, develop and implement protection and assistance strategy, with clearly articulated objectives, timelines and outputs.

– Implement a communications strategy that generates support for UNHCR¿s operations from external partners (e.g. the general public, governments, partners, the media, academia and persons of concern).

– Articulate all issues pertaining to the needs of the populations of concern and the strategies in place to respond to their needs. – Ensure that the UNHCR priorities are given adequate weight in the documentation of the UN Country Team.

– Maintain a close dialogue with and provide accurate information to donors by organizing regular briefings, bilateral meetings and donor missions. Prepare reports as appropriate.

– In accordance with the operational context and in close cooperation with headquarters, access new and non-traditional funding sources, as appropriate, including private sector and humanitarian pooled/basket funds (e.g. Central Emergency Response Fund, Human Security Fund).

– Through a consultative process with headquarters, disseminate information on UNHCR¿s global funding situation and mobilize additional funds to implement special projects aimed at enhancing the quality of protection for persons of concern in the country operation.

– Participate in inter-agency cooperation and communication strategies, initiatives and tools. – Support senior management in representing UNHCR in the UN Country Team and other UN coordination fora. – Support, and participate in, local UN integrated missions, Inter-Agency Standing Committee, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Cluster communication strategies and initiatives.

– Manage the information flow within the country operations by identifying priority matters, securing, analyzing and disseminating documentation and information to support country operations and corporate communication processes and priorities.

– Consolidate information on UNHCR¿s country operations and identify appropriate messages for campaigns and appeals. – Coordinate the drafting of, and/or draft, situation reports, briefing notes, background material, talking points, fact sheets, press releases and articles.

– Develop targeted communications strategies and media packages for situations and/or activities that require focused attention.

– Identify and target major events and initiatives (e.g. commercial, cultural, political and sports) to promote the work of UNHCR. – Manage media relations by, inter alia, responding to direct queries, publishing press releases and organizing regular briefings and visits to country operations.

– Approve fund-raising messages.

– Approve any relevant expenditure for the implementation of fund-raising activities. – Decide which donors to approach and which operations or activities to prioritize for special fundraising appeals.

– Approve the communications strategy. – Approve budgets and expenditures for communications activities.

– Clear external relations/communication products and tools. – Represent UNHCR fund-raising and communication priorities in inter-agency initiatives and fora.

– Perform other related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications

Education & Professional Work Experience Years of Experience / Degree Level For P4/NOD – 9 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 8 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 7 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree

Field(s) of Education Political Sciences; Social Sciences; International Relations; Journalism; or other relevant field. (Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential) Certificates and/or Licenses Not specified

Relevant Job Experience


Experience in humanitarian operations in a field environment.

Excellent knowledge of local institution, politics and culture.


Good knowledge of UNHCR operations both at Headquarters and in the Field. Fund-raising and programming/programme management experience.

Experience of working with social media.

Functional Skills

IT-Web Content Management IT-Computer Literacy ER-Inter-Agency External Relations ER-Inter-Agency Leadership/Coordination CO-Drafting and Documentation (Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential) Language Requirements For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English. For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language. For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English. All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination and abuse of power. As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise. This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR jobs with this job title and grade level. The Operational Context may contain additional essential and/or desirable qualifications relating to the specific operation and/or position. Any such requirements are incorporated by reference in this Job Description and will be considered for the screening, shortlisting and selection of candidates.

Desired Candidate Profile

As per the Operational Context, candidate with strong communication skills and team building would be desired. US Citizenship is required for this National Professional Officer position.

Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level):


Desired languages


Operational context

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:

Nature of Position:

The primary function of the External Relations (ER) Unit of the Multi-Country Office in Washington is to maintain and enhance U.S. political and financial support for UNHCR’s global operations and promote UNHCR¿s US protection agenda with the US government. The Unit maintains regular contact with the State Department principally through the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), the Department of Homeland Security, the White House, and other Executive Branch entities, in order to share information, address concerns, and provide technical support and other assistance. The Unit educates and informs US Congressional offices of the needs of persons of concern worldwide (with the goal of ensuring robust funding for refugee and humanitarian assistance) and works closely with civil society actors including U.S.-based NGOs that are key advocacy partners for UNHCR. The Unit organizes numerous missions to Washington by senior UNHCR officials from HQ and the field, including the High Commissioner, Deputy High Commissioner, senior leadership and country representatives from key operations. The Unit also organizes and leads delegations to UNHCR field operations for congressional and executive branch staff, as well as for U.S. foreign policy and national security experts.

The Senior External Relations Officer is the head of the7 person unit and has the primary responsibility of developing and coordinating the ER functions of the Multi-Country Office. Along with the Representative and Deputy Representative, the head of the unit advocates on behalf of UNHCR’s global operations and protection mandate through contacts with multiple high-level interlocutors. Given that the United States is the largest donor to UNHCR’s programs, the ER Unit is regularly called upon for information by not only Government agencies but also by the larger civil society in Washington. The unit monitors and analyzes political and other developments in the United States that could affect UNHCR’s relations with the U.S. Government. The Senior External Relations Officer also works closely with Headquarters, Heads of the U.S. Protection & Solutions Unit and the Outreach & Strategic Communications Unit, to ensure consistency of message and to coordinate advocacy efforts with respect to global, regional, and domestic refugee protection and assistance.

Living and Working Conditions:

Multi-Country Washington is an H duty station. There are no particular security considerations in the USA or the Caribbean in general, and the living

conditions in Washington D.C. are comfortable and safe. The post requires occasional mission travel to field locations. Current operational circumstances might require frequently long working hours. There is a need for security awareness, especially about criminality, when traveling to

certain locations. MCOW is under the purview of a Regional Staff Safety Officer based in Panama.

Additional Qualifications


CO-Drafting and Documentation, ER-Inter-Agency External Relations, ER-Inter-Agency Leadership/Coordination, IT-Computer Literacy, IT-Web Content Management


BA: International Relations (Required), BA: Journalism (Required), BA: Political Science (Required), BA: Social Science (Required)


Work Experience


Accountability, Analytical thinking, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Judgement & decision making, Leadership, Managing performance, Organizational awareness, Political awareness, Strategic planning & visions, Teamwork & collaboration

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Additional Information

Functional clearance

This position doesn’t require a functional clearance

How to apply

For a full job description and to apply, interested candidates are requested to visit

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

Closing date of receipt of applications: 20 March 2023 (midnight Geneva time)