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NEWS: DFS recruits arabic speaking talents, prepared to serve where the need is the most!

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by Impactpool

Published on: 19 July 2016
UN Peacekeeping is dedicated to assisting the Member States and the Secretary-General in their efforts to maintain international peace and security. With the help of UNjobfinder, the Department of Field Support (DFS) is now looking for mid-career Arabic speaking world class talent open to serve in field missions where the need is the most. Many professionals don't know, but DFS is also recruiting a large number of civilians every year for Peacekeeping Operations. This campaign targets civilian talent.

Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) is a department of the United Nations Secretariat which is charged with the planning, preparation, management and direction of UN peacekeeping operations. It has one of the most critical tasks of the UN family. It provides political and executive direction to UN Peacekeeping operations as well as special political missions around the world and maintains contact with the Security Council, troop and financial contributors, and parties to the conflict in the implementation of Security Council mandates.

Working as a civilian for UN Peacekeeping is a unique opportunity to serve the greater good at those places in the world where the needs are the most.

Who DFS is looking for?

In this campaign we are looking to support DPKO in finding Political Affairs and Civil Affairs Arabic speaking talents who combine a good working knowledge of spoken Arabic and high command over the English language and who are prepared to live and work under hard conditions. In fact as an applicant one must from time to time be prepared to live in camps/ tents/ barracks/ containers, have limited access to water and understand that the life at a mission is not a 9 am - 5 pm working environment.

This campaign is targeting mid-career level professionals in the areas of Political Affairs and Civil Affairs and the positions are at P3 and P4 level. Both P3 and P4 are mid-career grades on the UN professional employment scale. A P3 requires an advanced degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) and at least 5 years of professional experience. P4 requires an advanced degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) and at least 7 years of professional experience. For both levels, a first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of relevant experience can also be accepted.

While most applicants for such posts where Arabic is required are native speakers of Arabic, we strongly encourage non-native speakers with a good confidence level in spoken Arabic to apply. We are trying to widen the pool of talent while availing non-native speakers of the opportunity to live and work in regions where Arabic is a common daily language. This provides for an excellent opportunity to keep active you language skills while contributing to the common objective of keeping international peace and security. Qualified women candidates who have a good working knowledge of spoken Arabic are particularly encouraged to apply,

If you apply for a position at UN Peacekeeping please indicate that you found the opportunity at UNjobfinder in your application.

What makes my application succeed?

To succeed you should bring the recruiter's attention to hands-on work experience from challenging work environments like working in a hardship duty station or emergency location with your government or an NGO. The recruiter would quickly go through your work experience and look for;

  • any volunteer experience;
  • any hands-on hardship experience (previous/current work in crisis countries or locations);
  • any experience from working in Sudan, DRC, Somalia, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Mano River countries, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ebola or Tsunami affected regions.
  • any language combinations that would be an advantage - Arabic/English,  Arabic/French/English. Please note that good working knowledge of Arabic is a requirement for applying. If you have good working knowledge of Arabic, you need to indicate “Fluent” or “Confident” in at least two of the four areas (Read, Speak, Understand, Write) when building your application in Inspira. Fluency in English is also a requirement. If you are fluent in English, you need to indicate “Fluent” in all four areas;
  • any UN field mission experience;
  • any experience from other organizations that serves in similar contexts WFP, UNHCR, OCHA, UNDP, UNICEF, Save the Children, ICRC, IRC, NRC, DRC, IOM etc; or International contractors such as Halliburton, G4S, Capita;  
  • any professional UN Secretariat staff experience;
  • any experience as UN volunteer;
  • any other professional UN staff experience;
  • any experience serving at the same level (P3/P4) or only one level below;
  • any indication that you have qualified for other UN rosters, technical clearance, talent pipelines or talent pools.

In order to be rostered for a position, it is crucial that your application reflects the minimum requirements listed in the job opening.

When it comes to languages, we want to reach Arabic speaking talent, but also talent who have combination of English/Arabic or French/English/Arabic. We are sourcing broadly and not limited to countries you first and foremost associate as Arabic speaking countries. We are interested to find both native speakers, but also talent that studied and learned Arabic up to or beyond a working-knowledge level .

We are interested to reach out to talents from the African Horn (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia) and Arabic speaking talents of other African countries such as Tanzania, Uganda or Nigeria. We also aim at reaching talents from North African countries both speaking Arabic/English or Arabic/French with fluency in English.

We are also eager to reach out to talent from Europe, USA, Canada and Asia (Japan/China/Russia/Indonesia/Malaysia) that have large Arabic speaking communities in addition to an established tradition of teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language to a high standard in their higher education institutions.

Does my gender and Nationality matter?

It is no secret that DFS has struggled for many years to increase the number of female staff/ peacekeepers, so being an Arabic speaking woman with resilience to serve in any of the Peacekeeping missions can take your application very far. The first woman ever to be appointed Commander of a Peacekeeping Operation is Kristin Lund from Norway. She was appointed by the Secretary General in 2014 and leads UNFICYP.

Although the Secretariat applies strict quotas for other types of positions, UN Peacekeeping allows applicants from any UN member state that meets the minimum requirements stated in the job advertisement to apply.

UNjobfinder’s aim, in this campaign, is to support DFS to source talents and to build a diverse roster representing the whole world in terms of different nationalities, backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, religions, traditions, educations, languages and cultures. As long as you are able to communicate in Arabic up to a functional and higher level and are proficient in English, your application will be seriously considered.

Roster, multiple locations - what am I actually applying for?

DFS looks to build rosters for their Yemen, Libya and Syria start-up missions although you may be approached for positions in older missions such as Sudan and Iraq. In previous articles we have described what a roster is. But in brief words a roster is defined as a list of pre-assessed and endorsed candidates that can be hired for similar positions without a new competitive process. With this campaign, the strategy of DFS is to start the recruitment, assessment and preparation of talent, to be able to establish new mission and support already existing missions at faster speed. When applying you apply for a pool, and it is not decided upfront at what mission you eventually will be serving.

When to NOT apply?

This campaign is not focusing at getting as many applicants as possible, what we are aiming for is to supporting DFS to get as many highly qualified and experienced applicants as possible in the field of Civil affairs and political affairs to start with. We want you as an applicant to understand before applying that these are fairly challenging positions. You must be aware that you will be serving where you are the most needed. When you understand the context we encourage you to apply only if you meet the minimum requirements:

  • To apply you must have completed your Master’s degree (or a first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of relevant experience);
  • To apply for a P3, you must have completed 5 years professional work experience;
  • To apply for a P4, you must have completed 7 years professional work experience;
  • To apply you must speak, understand, read Arabic at a level that allows you to work in Arabic;
  • To have the appropriate combination of a degree and/or postgraduate degree  and the sufficient number of years of experience in a field such as political science, international relations, law/international law, humanitarian and/or development studies, governance, institutional reform, public policy, business administration, education, peace studies, or a related field.

If you as a reader meets the requirements and find this work as something that engage you, click this link to learn more about the opportunities.

Photo of Makarim Mohamed a qualified physician who decided to join the UNAMID in Mid-career as a National professional Officer. She left the comfort of working in a major hospital in the Sudanese capital Khartoum and go to Darfur to work with Internally Displaced people and other vulnerable populations as Community Outreach Officer” [Photo: UNAMID/Hamid AbdulSalam]

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