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Head of EU Policy and Advocacy

Brussels (Belgium)

  • Organization: IRC - International Rescue Committee
  • Location: Brussels (Belgium)
  • Grade: Senior - Internationally recruited position - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
    • Managerial positions
    • Political Affairs
    • Communication and Public Information
  • Closing Date:

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Requisition ID: req5285

Job Title: Head of EU Policy and Advocacy

Sector: Advocacy & Government Affairs

Employment Category: Regular

Employment Type: Full-Time

Salary: Competitive

Location: Brussels

Job Description


Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed unparalleled expertise in responding to emergencies and helping uprooted communities to rebuild. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.

The International Rescue Committee Europe is part of the IRC global network which has its headquarters in New York, London and Berlin. The IRC is on the ground in some 40 countries providing emergency relief, relocating refugees and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster. Through over 20 regional offices in cities across the United States the IRC also helps refugees resettle in the US and become self-sufficient.

The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The IRC is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable.

IRC in Europe

Europe is one of the fastest growing regions for the IRC and currently consists of offices in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. In addition, the IRC has a partnership with Stichting Vluchteling (SV) in the Netherlands. IRC runs a number of country programmes in the Europe and North Africa region with IRC offices in Italy, Greece, Serbia, Libya and Tunisia.


The European Policy and Advocacy Team, headed by the Director of Policy & Advocacy, consists of 13 staff based across the UK, Belgium and Germany.

The core purpose of the Policy and Advocacy Department is to increase the IRC’s influence and profile, developing the IRC as a thought leader in Europe that can drive transformational policy change in the humanitarian sector. We aim to improve outcomes for people living in, and displaced by, conflict and crisis. The team works closely with IRC’s global team of policy analysts and advocates based in Washington DC, New York, Geneva, Amman and in other priority countries and regions.

Purpose of the role

IRC has developed a Europe Strategy to complement the five year IRC Global Strategy.Increasing IRC’s profile and advocacy impact with policy-makers in the European institutions and selected European member states is key to meeting our goal of becoming recognized as a thought-leader in Europe. The Head of EU Policy and Advocacy develops and leads implementation of this strategy vis à vis the EU institutions; builds on and delivers the EU-related objectives of the teams’ various workstreams, and ensures that we maximize the EU’s influence in international fora to advance our priorities. The role ensures provision of advice and/ or support to IRC affiliates and field offices on EU policies and their implications; and is responsible for leading and managing the Policy and Advocacy team in Brussels.

Scope and Authority


  •  Lead on IRC’s policy and advocacy strategy development and implementation for the entities of, and related to, the EU
  •  Act as the global focal point for IRC influencing in Brussels
  • Represent IRC at meetings with senior European advocacy targets
  • Brief senior IRC colleagues on relevant issues relating to the EU

Key Working Relationships

  •  Reports to the Director of Policy and Advocacy, Europe
  •  Line manages the Policy and Advocacy roles and interns based in Brussels; matrix manages the Communications Officer, Brussels, jointly with the Communications team
  •  Close coordination with the Heads of Policy and Advocacy based in London, and other members of the Policy and Advocacy team across Europe
  • Close co-ordination with Policy and Advocacy colleagues in Washington DC and New York, and with IRC Communications, Fundraising and Donor relations colleagues in London
  • Close collaboration with IRC country offices leading our response in a number of countries

Key Accountabilities

Leadership and management (20%)

  •  Play a key role in achieving IRC’s strategic aim to be a thought leader in Europe, including through developing and implementing a strategy to further increase IRC’s profile and influence with key EU targets
  • Lead the Policy and Advocacy team in the Brussels office, including ensuring a high-performing culture in the Policy Team, developing its vision and its plan, maintaining an empowering and inclusive environment, setting clear objectives with all direct reports,  providing strong support and supervision against ambitious deliverables; carrying out annual appraisals and mid-year reviews
  •  Undertake any other duties as requested by the Director of Policy and Advocacy.

Policy and advocacy (50%)

  • Ensure IRC’s policy and advocacy work in Brussels delivers maximum impact through the implementation of strategies to deliver policy change on our priority workstreams, working closely with the Heads of Policy and Advocacy based in London. This includes setting ambitious objectives, building new relationships with senior stakeholders and advocacy targets in EU and other appropriate institutions – and providing clear evidence of influencing them
  • Lead two of Europe P+A’s priority workstreams
  •  Plan and oversee events as part of the above, including with think-tanks, other NGOs and partners
  • Identify needs and opportunities to produce public-facing policy products on priority issues, and ensure that these are met. This will include drafting impactful reports and briefings
  • Ensure that colleagues, including those involved in communications, are kept informed of up-to-date policy messages and advocacy asks
  • Keep track of relevant EU developments, particularly in the areas of migration, humanitarian, foreign affairs and development assistance policy, and ensure that these are communicated to colleagues across the organisation as appropriate
  •  Act as internal reference on EU policies and procedures to IRC staff worldwide

Networking, representation and profile raising (30%)

  •  Identify, create and act upon opportunities to raise awareness of IRC’s work, brand and profile as a European thought leader on humanitarian issues
  •  Develop and maintain strong networks with key influencers in European institutions and Brussels-based representatives of international organisations
  • Liaise with European networks and NGO offices, including VOICE, ECRE and Crisis Action, represent IRC’s positions and identify opportunities for close collaboration
  • Lead co-ordination and joint policy and advocacy initiatives with other NGOs as appropriate
  •  Work with communications colleagues to raise IRC’s media profile, including through blogs and op-eds
  • Represent IRC as senior level meetings and events across a wide range of issues



Skills, Knowledge and Qualifications:

  • Relevant Masters degree or equivalent qualifications/ experience
  • Ability to think strategically, and translate this into plans for action and then results
  • Proven political judgment, and detailed knowledge of the workings of EU institutions and current EU debates
  • Excellent understanding of refugee issues, humanitarian aid and development, and knowledge of relevant policy issues and debates and relevant institutions, including amongst key donors and the UN
  • Commitment to organizational gender equality and an ability to articulate this externally
  • Deep understanding of politics and a consistent record of making significant change happen through policy, advocacy, campaigning and communications work on difficult issues, including experience of working with or advocating to politicians, government and institutional targets
  • Highly strategic thinking, and significant experience in developing and driving effective advocacy strategies
  • Excellent ability to communicate effectively in English, both verbally and in writing, including public speaking and working with the media (both writing and broadcast interviews)
  • Excellent analytical skills, first-class attention to detail, strong organizational and time management skills
  • Comfort and effectiveness with delivering and operating in a fast-moving, and highly matrixed international environment
  • Excellent negotiating skills, and the ability to communicate effectively with internal and external stakeholders
  • The ability to travel, to work to tight deadlines, and on own initiative
  • Commitment to IRC-UK’s vision, mission and values


  •  Significant experience of working with senior contacts either in EU institutions, the European Parliament or in a relevant public affairs role
  • Experience of working in or with NGOs
  • Proven experience of developing and implementing successful influencing strategies – including in working closely with communications colleagues to shape opinion
  • Experience of leading a team, motivating and line managing staff to deliver results and successfully managing budgets
  • Experience of working as part of an interdependent team, ideally internationally, and of quickly forming effective working relationships to deliver results
  • Experience of building effective coalitions between NGOs or other externally-facing organisations
  • Experience of convening cross-organisational teams around shared goals across different countries and forming effective working relationships to deliver results
  • Experience of representing an organization at a senior level in external networks, forums and events


  • Experience of working in conflict/post-conflict development or humanitarian relief or related field
  • Particular expertise and experience on the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Knowledge of the international NGO sector
  • Additional language(s), preferably German and/or French

The deadline for this role is 9am on 21st June 2019.

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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