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  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Geneva
  • Grade: P-3, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Administrative support
  • Closing Date: 2019-02-28

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Executive Assistant

Geneva (Switzerland)

Before submitting an application, UNHCR staff members intending to apply to this Job Opening are requested to consult the Recruitment and Assignments Policy (RAP, UNHCR/HCP/2017/2 and the Recruitment and Assignments Administrative Instruction (RAAI), UNHCR/AI/2017/7 OF 15 August 2017.

Executive Assistant


Guidance will be given by the direct supervisor who could be the Director, Representative, IGO, as applicable. The Executive Assistant liaises with colleagues within the same office, at HQ, and in the field, on matters of non-routine significance in order to prepare documents for the supervisor and manage the flow of information.

Regular contacts with external parties, including UN office and International organizations, are made to provide the supervisor's contacts with background information on relevant topics prior to meetings, to respond queries on behalf of the supervisor at his/her  discretions and to obtain assistance of others on matters of relevant to the office.



- The Supervisor is provided support by managing the flow of information and communications, prioritizing and highlighting issues that need addressing.
-       Background documents for meetings are prepared in time.


- Manage the flow of information to the Supervisor, identify priority matters that need to be urgently addressed by the Supervisor and propose actions; analyze supporting documentation and summarize most relevant points for the supervisor; ensure that appropriate action is taken by responsible Section Heads on matters brought to the attention of the Supervisor.
- Follow-up on policies and instructions presented by the Supervisor. Keep the supervisor aware of developments in UNHCR's major world-wide operations and of policy issues related directly to UNHCR or to humanitarian issues under the broader UN system.
- Assist the Supervisor in the preparation of statements that represent UNHCR's overall policies and which highlight specific areas of concern. Propose and draft substantive correspondence for the Supervisor.
- Confer with Section Heads/ Directors to secure timely and authoritative information relevant to matters requiring action, decisions or the signature of the Supervisor.
- Ensure that the Supervisor is prepared for meetings and missions by drafting talking points, by researching relevant information; and by establishing contacts (within and outside UNHCR) on the subject matters to be discussed.
- Accompany the Supervisor to meetings and on missions in order to prepare notes on the discussions, ensure follow-up in matters raised, and support the Supervisor with any relevant input.
- Support the Supervisor in efforts to raise the profile of UNHCR and the agency's concerns within the context of the broader United Nations system. This includes ensuring that UNHCR is on the agenda of important meetings and events, and assisting the External Relations Officer with input from the Supervisor policies and activities.
- May assist the Supervisor in drafting regular information notes to the High Commissioner, that provide briefings on areas of concern to UNHCR and that propose areas where action by the Executive Office would further the objectives of the Office.
- Work with the Supervisor in developing, reviewing and proposing new policies and practices, or adaptations to existing ones.  Monitor development of this policies and practices.
- Coordinate drafts of position papers and other documents relevant to the activities of the Office.
- Ensure that high-level visitors are appropriately addressed, that they receive background information as necessary, and that protocol is respected.
-        Perform other tasks as required.  


- Prioritise tasks and organize work independently.
- Select and make pertinent abstracts and search for information.
- Have access to sensitive and confidential information.


- Undergraduate degree (equivalent of a BA/BS) in Political Science, International Relations or other related fields plus minimum 6 years of previous work experience relevant to the function. Graduate degree (equivalent of a Master's) plus 5 years or Doctorate degree (equivalent of a PhD) plus 4 years of previous relevant work experience may also be accepted.
- A proven ability to act with discretion and diplomacy is essential for this function.
- Excellent communication, drafting and editorial skills.
- Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.


- Good knowledge of the UNHCR operations in general.
-       Knowledge of additional UN languages.

This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR Executive Assistant positions. 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.¿ C001L3 - Accountability Level 3
C002L3 - Teamwork & Collaboration Level 3
C003L3 - Communication Level 3
C004L3 - Commitment to Continuous Learning Level 3
C005L3 - Client & Result Orientation Level 3
C006L3 - Organizational Awareness Level 3
M003L3 - Judgement and Decision Making Level 3
X001L3 - Analytical Thinking Level 3
X005L3 - Planning and Organizing Level 3
X006L3 - Policy Development & Research Level 3 <p>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.</p>
See below for this postion's Operational Context

For those people applying for High Risk Duty Stations, we strongly encourage them – before deciding to apply- to read the country specific security and welfare country profiles which can be found on the Intranet under Support Services - Duty of Care ( Ensuring staff are better informed is part of the increased attention UNHCR is paying to Duty of Care.


Staff after having applied to High Risk Duty Stations will have access to country specific information webinars with Field Safety Section (FSS) and Staff Welfare Section (SWS) colleagues and provided with a tool to test their psychological preparedness for serving in High Risk Duty Stations. Applicants who applied for a position in a High Risk country will receive, after the deadline for applications has expired, a joint invitation from the Staff Welfare Section (SWS) and the Field Safety Section (FSS) to participate in these webinars. During the Webinars, latest updates on security and well-being will be provided, and FSS and SWS will address questions raised by participants. Applicants are highly encouraged to benefit, when applicable, from all measures as they provide most up-to-date security and well-being information helpful to assess staff’s readiness to serve in a High Risk Duty Station. A Staff Welfare Officer will also be available, if and when required, to discuss with interested applicants the results of the psychological preparedness tool as well as readiness for assignment in High Risk Duty Stations.


- Undergraduate degree (equivalent of a BA/BS) in Accounting, Finance, Public or Business Administration, Economics or related field, OR university degree in another field combined with a professional qualification in accounting or finance (CPA/CIA or equivalent).
- Good knowledge of United Nations administrative, human resources and financial rules and procedures.
- Ability to act with discretion and diplomacy.
- Strong time management and planning skills.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Fluency in English including strong drafting and editing skills.

- Working knowledge of French or another UN official language.
- Knowledge of UN organizational structure and governance reporting requirements.
- Good understanding of innovative technologies and business process automation. 
- Persuasive and tactful, with strong interpersonal and listening skills; ability to work and communicate in a professional manner and with a professional demeanour. Reporting to the Controller, the post is located in the Office of the Controller within the Division of Financial and Administrative Management (DFAM). DFAM contributes to safeguarding the financial resources entrusted to UNHCR by maintaining and improving the financial and administrative systems, policies and procedures and promoting cost-effective and transparent use of these resources. The Office of the Controller has responsibility for the overall management of the Division.
The Executive Assistant supports the Controller, in liaising with colleagues within DFAM, at HQ and in the field on matters of non-routine significance in order to prepare documents and manage the flow of information to the Controller.
The incumbent must have demonstrated analytical skills and good management and communication skills. The incumbent should be able to work independently or with minimum guidance. He/she should possess excellent organizational, planning and coordination skills, and be able to work with senior colleagues in a professional manner to meet specific deadlines. He/she should be able to reflect long and complex deliberations on high-level issues into concise and understandable minutes.
Within delegated authority, and under the overall direction of the Controller, the incumbent will be responsible to lead/coordinate the Division¿s work in respect of programme planning, budgeting and reporting. The Executive Assistant also monitors and coordinates HR issues within the Division. The incumbent supervises one professional staff, the Associate Resource Management Officer (P2). Specifics to DFAM Executive Assistant:
On accountability:
- The Controller has sufficient executive support to ensure that DFAM plans and budgets are prepared in accordance with UNHCR planning and budgeting instructions and that programme implementation is reported upon in accordance with UNHCR reporting procedures.
- The Controller is supported on HR management within the Division. Specifics to DFAM Executive Assistant:
On Responsibility:
- Assist the Controller in the preparation of statements that represent UNHCR¿s overall policies and which highlight specific areas of concern.
- Take the lead in assisting the Controller and DFAM¿s SMT in compiling responses to multiple requests addressed to the Controller and Division, liaise with relevant Chiefs/Heads/Directors to secure timely and authoritative information relevant to matters requiring action, decisions or the signature of the Controller.
- Coordinate DFAM¿s work in planning, budgeting and reporting exercises. 
- Supervise the Assoc. Resource Mgt Officer of DFAM and monitor HR issues within the Division, including on recruitment, appointment, establishment of temporary contracts and other HR issues.

- Monitor and direct the day-to-day administrative operations of the Office of the Controller.
- Work with the Controller in developing, reviewing and proposing new policies and practices, or adaptations to existing ones at a corporate level related to financial and administrative management, accounting and internal control.  

On Authority:
- Ensure the Division¿s compliance with UNHCR's administrative, human resources and financial policies and procedures
- Act as focal point for coordination and monitoring of DFAM¿s resource management issues and make recommendations to the Controller. Suggest ways to use human and financial resources more effectively.
- Approve requisitions, non-PO vouchers, travel authorizations, travel claims etc. on behalf of the Controller.
- Act as DFAM focal point on issues relating to knowledge management and dissemination of information.
- Represent the Controller and Division in meetings and other working groups relating to financial, administrative and accounting matters as requested.

Please note that the closing date for vacancies in the Addendum 4 is Thursday 28 February 2019 (midnight Geneva time)

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
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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