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Senior Program Officer- GDPp

Open Society Foundations
Location: Budapest or London
Last Date: September 15, 2011
Email:  (Reference:

Senior Program Officer- GDPp
Open Society Foundations

Location: Budapest or London

Job description:

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve this mission, the Foundations seek to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, the Open Society Foundations implement a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, we build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. The Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.

Investor and philanthropist George Soros established the Open Society Foundations, starting in 1984, to help countries make the transition from communism. Our activities have grown to encompass the United States and more than 70 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Each Foundation relies on the expertise of boards composed of eminent citizens who determine individual agendas based on local priorities.


Launched in 2008, the Global Drug Policy program (GDPp) aims to shift the paradigm of drug policies around the world from today’s punitive approach to one rooted in public health and human rights. Broadly speaking, such reform would reduce reliance on criminal justice systems to address problems associated with drugs or drug use, ideally limiting criminal sanctions solely to those offenses involving harm to others and eliminating criminal penalties for mere drug possession; ensure that penalties for crimes associated with drugs or drug use are proportional; provide appropriate care for those seeking treatment for drug dependence; and take into account the livelihoods of those implicated in illicit crop production.

GDPp is a grant-making program that supports organizations worldwide in advocating for rational, evidence-based policies at the national, regional, and international level.

The Senior Program Officer will be involved with grant-giving and reports to the Program Director. This post is based in Budapest, Hungary or London, UK. In latter case the person will be required to spend one week per month at the Budapest office.


The following list of responsibilities is not exhaustive and the post holder may be asked to undertake other duties from time to time as requested by the Program Director.

• Manages GDPp’s grant-making activities. Maintains active correspondence with grantees, reviews grant applications and reports. Conducts on-site interviews and monitoring visits when necessary;
• Supervises initiation of grant contracts and oversees staff liaising with the Office and Finance Coordinator to complete them;
• Develops and oversees calls for proposals and/or grant competitions;
• Oversees the work of program staff and consultants;
• Represents GDPp at meetings within the Open Society Foundations and outside at conferences and other relevant meetings or events;
• Participates in the process of developing the program strategy and budget, and other program documents;
• Liaises with Open Society Foundations programs, National Foundations and other partners and donors with missions congruent to that of GDPp;
• Develops and maintains relationships with key figures in drug policy and other related areas;
• Identifies advocacy opportunities to promote the need for evidence-based drug policy reform.

START DATE: January 2012.

Candidate requirements:


• Minimum of 7 years relevant work experience in grant-giving and/or management;
• Significant experience in staff supervision;
• Graduate degree in public policy, human rights, or other relevant field;
• Native or near native skills in oral and written English. Other languages are a plus;
• Excellent analytical and organizational skills;
• Ability to think and plan strategically;
• Ability to work as a team member and independently, with high level of self-motivation;
• Ability to effectively manage several projects simultaneously in a fast-paced working environment;
• Ability to listen and communicate clearly and effectively with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds;
• Willingness to travel internationally on a frequent basis;
• Demonstrated interest in public policy, drug policy, and/or human rights issues;
• Excellent computer skills.


• Knowledge of key international drug policy issues;
• Experience in the drug policy/public policy/human rights field.

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Additional comments:

TO APPLY: Please send curriculum vitae, cover letter, salary requirements, three reference contacts, your desired location to work (Budapest or London) and a maximum 2 page writing sample in English on opportunities in advocating for drug policy reform at the international level to applications at indicating “Senior Program Officer - GDPp” in the subject line.

Application deadline: September 15, 2011

For more information about the Open Society Global Drug Policy program, please see

The Open Society Foundations are an Equal Opportunity Employer which supports diversity and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation.


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