Senior Program Officer, Political Prisoners Initiative
About Freedom House
Freedom House is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to create a world where all are free. We inform the world about threats to freedom, mobilize global action, and support democracy’s defenders, especially those working in closed authoritarian societies. We are founded on the core conviction that freedom flourishes in democratic nations where governments are accountable to their people; the rule of law prevails; and freedoms are guaranteed. Established 80 years ago to respond to the threats posed by fascism, we know there is no more powerful force for the development of human society than democracy. As the world experiences the 15th year of consecutive democratic decline, our work—and our partners carrying it out around the world—have never mattered more.
Our new initiative to free political prisoners focuses on raising awareness and obtaining the release of human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists who are being held as political prisoners because of their work to challenge authoritarianism.
Freedom House is seeking a new full-time Senior Program Officer to join a small, supportive, and dynamic team working to assess and combat the imprisonment of human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists around the world. The position will play a key role in supporting Freedom House’s work to free a small number of individual political prisoners annually. Responsibilities will include regular engagement with family members of jailed human rights defenders and at times political prisoners who have been recently released from detention, coordination with Freedom House’s advocacy and emergency assistance departments to fulfill prisoners’/families’ needs, and reporting on the progress of these individual cases to other Freedom House staff as needed, including the Research team with regards to its database and annual publications on this initiative. The Senior Program Officer will develop context-specific well-being support that addresses needs based on each individual political prisoner’s case and their family’s situation. The role will include working with victims of harassment, threat of imprisonment or bodily harm, prolonged effects of trauma, and/or financial hardship. A successful candidate will be empathetic and sensitive to the needs of the families/prisoners but also capable of managing expectations while finding solutions. The Senior Program Officer will report to the Director of the initiative.
- Provide support, guidance, and counsel to families of currently detained political prisoners (and where applicable, currently detained political prisoners to whom Freedom House has access, and formerly detained political prisoners who need assistance with rehabilitation post release).
- Form partnerships with a range of external actors including peer organizations, donors, partners, and grantees; identify and contract with consultants who can provide additional technical expertise to assist in family/prisoner needs (including legal counsel, media consultants, government officials’ support, medical health support, psychosocial support, financial advisors, etc.).
- Maintain an effective and collaborative working relationship with all FH units, and share and exchange information about the assigned program’s activities, approaches, and strategies.
- Effectively and professionally represent FH and its political prisoners initiative publicly in domestic and international venues.
- Build strong external alliances and networks and collaborative approaches with donors and the diplomatic community, partners and grantees, policy community, peer NGOs, think tanks, or other stakeholders.
- Assist with funding proposals, donor reports, and monitoring and evaluation of the project’s impact, where applicable
- Perform other related duties as assigned
- Minimum five years of professional experience, including project management oversight
- At least one year of experience overseas strongly preferred
- Expertise with psychosocial support and addressing secondary trauma; implementation of psychosocial support in an organizational context is strongly preferred.
- Experience with cross-cultural engagement
- Knowledge of and commitment to the cause of advancing human rights and democracy
- Understanding of international and regional legal frameworks on human rights and arbitrary detention, as well as political, social, and rights dynamics is strongly preferred
- Ability to use digitally secure means of communication and secure digital database
- Mastery of human rights principles and mechanisms
- Strong understanding of the connection between well-being, mental health, and resiliency within the context of human rights work
- Strong ability to communicate effectively in English, both verbally and in writing; ability to communicate effectively in a second relevant language (Arabic, Spanish, or French) strongly preferred
- Proven ability to clearly and succinctly communicate complex concepts verbally and in writing; ability to draft high quality documents of all types for external audiences is a MUST
- Ability to work independently and strong program management skills from design through implementation and strong ability to manage own time, multi-task, and meet tight deadlines
- Ability to collaborate with others and work as an effective team member in a collegial and positive manner
- Excellent inter-personal, diplomatic, and cross-cultural skills
- Excellent judgment in problem solving and decision-making
- Ability to maintain the highest degree of confidentiality regarding all aspects of work at all times
- Commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion in all aspects of work
- Diversity makes our team stronger. We actively seek a diverse applicant pool and encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply. Individuals with lived experience as migrants or asylum-seekers are encouraged to apply.
- Freedom House provides a strong benefits package, including a 10-percent employer match program for your 403(b) retirement account, commuter benefits, flexible summer hours, floating holidays, high employer contributions to medical, dental, and vision premiums, basic and voluntary life and AD&D insurance, short- and long-term disability, flexible spending account, and more.
- Salaries are commensurate with experience and based on pay grades that prioritize equity across the organization. Salary range is between $62,000 and $80,000/year, depending on experience.
- The role may require light domestic and international travel to participate in conferences, briefings, and workshops.
- Candidates must possess authorization to work in the United States or the European Union.
- Freedom House employees are currently working remotely with the option to come into the office in Washington, DC. Strong candidates who wish to work fully remote will also be considered.
- As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.
Freedom House is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate in its selection and employment practices. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, or protected veteran status, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, or other non-merit factors.
Directions to Apply
Please send us a resume (1-2 pages) and a cover letter (max. 1 page) describing your qualifications and interest in the position. Email your application materials to [email protected]. Applicants who fail to follow these directions will not be considered.
Cover letters should be responsive to the responsibilities and qualifications presented in the job description. Cover letters that highlight a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging will be well received.
Applications will be accepted until April 24, 2022. Interviews will begin in May. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.