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Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs (Programmes)







UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions. UNRWA seeks the services of a seasoned and innovative professional, highly motivated to provide skilled leadership in the position of:  


Deputy Director of UNRWA Affairs (Programmes)


Vacancy Announcement Number




Deadline for Applications

8 August 2016

(23 July 2016 for internal applicants)

Duty Station



UNRWA encourages applications from qualified women and welcomes applications from qualified candidates with disabilities.



UNRWA Field Offices generally have two Deputy Directors reporting directly to the Field Director. The Deputies will each manage a substantive portfolio of programme or organizational support responsibilities. A programme portfolio will typically involve management and oversight of the Agency’s education, health, relief & social services and microfinance programmes at Field level, as well as projects. The organizational support portfolio will require management and oversight of finance, human resources, procurement, logistics, engineering, IT, security. Depending on field specificity, the Field Director may split the portfolios in varying configurations to meet field needs. Currently, UNRWA seeks to fill the Deputy Director post responsible for programmes.


The Deputy Director will contribute to the Field’s strategic and operational plans and budgets, guide and direct specialist staff, respond to emerging needs, manage staff performance and ensure optimal use of resources. Deputy Directors will liaise with external interlocutors including UN country teams, host government representatives, the refugee community and others.


Deputy Field Directors may be assigned as Officer-in-Charge or Acting Field Director during the absence of the Field Director and, as such, assume full responsibility and accountability for the management of the Field. In accordance with the established Agency policy and procedures, the incumbent will:


Primary Duties and Responsibilities

·        Be responsible for the management of the Field programmes (education, health, relief and social services, microfinance and is the principal adviser to the Field Director on these functions;

·        In close collaboration with other senior staff in the Field, ensure the development, preparation, coordination and monitoring of relevant strategic planning documents such as the Field’s Strategic Response Plan, Biennium Budget and the Mid-Term Strategy, ensuring an integrated approach to the management of programmes and exercising decision-making authority over human and financial resources and capital assets of the Field, in line with UNRWA regulatory framework and SPARE principle (strategy, policy, accountability, results and envelopes);

·        Provide support and advice to the Field Director in implementing the Agency plans for comprehensive programme and management reform; lead the implementation of pertinent reform initiatives in his/her programme or organizational cluster; coordinate the work of cross-functional teams to achieve field-wide outcomes and promote integration of cross-cutting issues into the field programme or support service framework;

·        Provide guidance and support to senior programme and/or administrative staff; mentor and evaluate for staff development purposes, as necessary;

·        Liaise with government and local authorities to ensure their cooperation in facilitating the Agency’s operations; assist the Field Office Director in managing and promoting inter-agency and donor relations;

·        As assigned, act for the Director of UNRWA Affairs, Syria during his/her absence, with full responsibility for the Field operation, and reporting to the Commissioner-General USG and/or Deputy Commissioner-General, ASG;

·        Where applicable, act as the Field security focal point and liaise with the Agency’s Chief Security Adviser and the Department of Safety and Security in the Field, where available;

·        Undertake relieving assignments and perform other related duties as may be required by the Field Director.


Professional Knowledge and Experience

·        Advanced university degree from an accredited educational institution in political science, social science, public or business administration, or international relations supplemented by studies in management (where required);

·        At least 10 years of experience in programme management including at least six years managing large-scale, multi-sector programmes in a large governmental or international organization, working at international level outside one’s home country;

·        Significant experience in managing large teams;

·        Excellent command of written and spoken English.



·        Professionalism: Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations;

·        Leadership:  Strong managerial/leadership skills; demonstrated flexibility in leadership by performing and/or overseeing the analysis of complex human resources, financial,  administrative or management policy and programme issues; proven record of building and managing teams and creating an enabling environment, including the ability to effectively lead, supervise, mentor, develop and evaluate staff and design training/skills enhancement initiatives to ensure effective transfer of knowledge/skills; tact in negotiating skills; good judgment and decision-making skills; demonstrated ability to provide leadership and commitment to the goal of achieving gender balance in staffing;

·        Planning and Organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently;

·        Managing performance: Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority; makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills; monitors progress against milestones and deadlines; regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff; encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative; actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff; appraises performance fairly;

·        Vision: Identifies strategic issues, opportunities and risks; clearly communicates links between the Organization’s strategy and the work unit’s goals; generates and communicates broad and compelling organizational direction, inspiring others to pursue that same direction; conveys enthusiasm about future possibilities;

·        Communications:  Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed;

·        Technology Awareness:  Keeps abreast of available technology; understands applicability and limitations of technology to the work of the office; actively seeks to apply technology to appropriate tasks; shows willingness to learn new technology;

·        Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts; joint responsibility for team shortcomings.


Desirable Qualifications

·        Knowledge of activities of UNRWA operations and services;

·        Knowledge of  Middle Eastern geo-political realities and its socio-cultural implications;

·        Experience with United Nations administration/financial policies and practices;

·        Working knowledge of Arabic.



When the minimum requirements are not fully met, the Human Resources Department may substitute part of the unmet requirements under UNRWA’s equivalency determination guidelines with a combination of relevant academic qualification, additional professional training and/or progressive relevant work experience. Note: Work experience alone or formal qualifications with no relevant work experience are not considered sufficient for an equivalency determination.


Additional Information

The incumbent will be required to travel frequently throughout the Agency’s area of operations in the Middle East.


Conditions of Service 

UNRWA offers an attractive compensation package including annual salary starting at $88,898 net tax free with dependants or $82,586 single, plus post adjustment of 37.9% (subject to change without notice). Other benefits, subject to eligibility, include education grant, dependency allowance, home leave, pension fund, health insurance and 6 weeks annual leave. Syria is currently a non-family duty station. Staff members based in Syria are entitled to additional benefits, subject to eligibility, including Additional Hardship Allowance, danger pay and R&R leave, currently every 4 weeks (according to the UN classification of the duty station) but subject to change without notice. Initial contract is for two years, with the possibility of further extensions subject to the availability of funds, satisfactory performance and the continuing need for the post.


Please note that conditions of service may be subject to change as of 1 July 2016 in accordance with standards set by the International Civil Service Commission or determined by the General Assembly, subject to detailed regulations, rules and administrative issuances as may be promulgated by UNRWA and any amendments made thereto from time to time.


How to Apply

To start the application process, applicants are required to register at by creating a personal profile and completing UNRWA Personal History Form. Please note that UNRWA only accepts degrees from accredited educational institutions. Only applications received through will be considered. Due to the large number of applications received for UNRWA vacancies, only applicants short-listed for interview will be contacted.


The United Nations does not charge fees at any stage of the recruitment process (application, testing, interviewing, etc). The United Nations does not concern itself with information related to bank accounts.


General Information


UNRWA is a United Nations organization whose staff are expected to uphold the highest standards of integrity, neutrality and impartiality. This includes respect for and commitment to human rights, diversity, and non-violent means of dealing with all kinds of conflict. UNRWA staff are expected to uphold these values at all times, both at work and outside. Only persons who fully and unconditionally commit to these values should consider applying for UNRWA jobs. UNRWA is a non-smoking work environment.


The statutory retirement age for staff entering or re-entering service in the UN Common System after 1 January 1990 is 62 and 65 after 1 January 2014. For external applicants, only those who are expected to complete a term of appointment will normally be considered.


The Agency reserves the right not to make an appointment, to make an appointment at a lower grade, or to make an appointment with a modified job description.


On appointment, all individuals will be asked to sign a self attestation, confirming that they have not committed, been convicted of, or prosecuted for, any criminal offence and that they have not been involved, by act or omission, in the commission of any violation of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.


Date of issue: 10 July 2016 / CF

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNRWA - United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees
  • Location: Damascus
  • Grade: P-5, International Professional - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Management, Administration and Finance
  • Closing Date: 2016-08-08

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