Director of International Advocacy

American Jewish World Service
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
  • Posted
    Apr 30

Position description

Inspired by the Jewish commitment to justice, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. AJWS promotes civil and political rights; advances sexual health and rights; defends land, water and climate justice; and aids communities in the aftermath of disasters. AJWS pursues lasting change by supporting grassroots and global human rights organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and by mobilizing supporters in the U.S. to advocate for global justice. Working together, the AJWS community strives to build a more just and equitable world.


Founded in 1985, AJWS is the first and only American Jewish organization dedicated solely to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease in the developing world. Since its founding, AJWS has supported more than a thousand grassroots social change organizations and has granted $360 million to support human rights. Today AJWS has a budget of more than $50M. There are over 100 U.S.-based employees located in five offices (New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.), and over 25 country representatives in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. The organization has more than 190,000 supporters across the U.S. and around the world. 



AJWS’s International Advocacy department works to influence international policy institutions -- including the United Nations and other multilateral institutions -- and international funding organizations, including donor governments, private and public philanthropy. It is part of a broader advocacy team, which also includes three staff working to influence the US government’s foreign policy, based in Washington, D.C. The International Advocacy department undertakes advocacy towards international institutions that focuses on AJWS’s current priority issues, which are: 

  • Sexual Health and Rights;
  • Natural Resource Rights and Climate Justice; 
  • Civil and Political Rights; and 
  • Humanitarian and Disaster Response. 


The International Advocacy Director will be responsible for identifying and shaping AJWS’s advocacy opportunities and strategies (including by drawing on the priorities of AJWS’s grantees and grantmaking strategies); monitoring the international policy and funding environment for human rights and development; and maintaining strong relationships with actors in key policy and funding institutions, networks and coalitions. 

The ideal candidate will be highly strategic, hold a record of success in international advocacy and demonstrated leadership abilities including the capacity to collaborate with AJWS colleagues and manage staff toward ambitious, measureable goals; and work within and across advocacy coalitions and networks. S/he must be passionate about and committed to promoting AJWS’s mission and vision, including by ensuring that the organization’s international advocacy is successfully integrated with its grantmaking and research work. S/he must demonstrate the ability to motivate, excite and inspire staff. S/he will be quick, entrepreneurial and flexible, with the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and opportunities. 

Responsibilities include but are not limited to: 

·        Continuous development, building and implementation of an international advocacy strategy; 

·        Joint and collaborative leadership of advocacy team’s direction and attainment of strategic goals, together with AJWS’s Director of Government Affairs;

·        Develop, lead and maintain at least one issue-specific advocacy portfolio; 

·        Cultivate and maintain relationships with relevant NGO, peer-funder and funder network colleagues as well as staff in leading donor institutions and multilateral policy institutions;

·        Provide high-level strategic guidance, advocacy content, and policy analysis to AJWS leadership, colleagues and select external stakeholders;

·        Build capacity and knowledge of advocacy skills of AJWS staff, and provide practical information and guidance on how they and their grantees can best capitalize on advocacy opportunities and policy bodies to achieve their goals; 

  • Serve as a spokesperson and educator internally and externally, representing AJWS through public speaking, media interviews and writing in a broad range of venues;

·        Work closely with staff in the Programs Division to facilitate opportunities for AJWS’s grantees as well as our network of religious leaders to leverage AJWS’s political relationships and to collaborate on AJWS’s policy agenda;

·        Partner with staff in the Communications Division to develop and implement ongoing advocacy communications strategies to support AJWS’s policy change agenda; 

·        Partner with staff in the Development Division to cultivate institutional and individual major donors in support of AJWS’s international advocacy work; 

  • Oversee international advocacy’s role in annual priority-setting, learning, monitoring and evaluation processes, and organizational budget development at the department and division level; 
  • Build annual budget for International Advocacy and effectively manage spending of both restricted and unrestricted funding;
  • As a member of the Programs Leadership Team, provide strategic advice and support the overall management of AJWS’s Programs Division.


  • At least 15 years of public policy and/or advocacy work required, including experience in successfully directing advocacy campaigns at the international level;
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree in public policy, public administration, international relations, international law or related field or commensurate professional experience strongly preferred; 
  • Proven excellence as a manager of high-performing teams;
  • Strong political instincts with experience working on international humans rights or development and influencing international policy and/or funding institutions with demonstrated ability to move the needle on policy issues; 
  • Capacity to implement a range of advocacy tools, including direct engagement with diplomatic staff and grantmakers, and coalition building;
  • Demonstrated understanding of the relationship between advocacy, grantmaking and research;
  • Excellent analytical, verbal and written communication skills required, along with excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to represent AJWS with skill, knowledge and confidence;
  • Familiarity with the American Jewish communal/political landscape;
  • Outstanding organizational management skills, including supervising and developing staff, working effectively and closely with colleagues in other locations and managing multiple tasks simultaneously;
  • Demonstrated experience with budget development and management;
  • Experience living and/or working in the global south a plus;
  • Capacity to travel to the Washington D.C office at least three times per year and to other major international capitals at least once per year; 
  • Commitment to AJWS’s mission and values, and the pursuit of global justice; and
  • Spanish/French language abilities a plus. 

Application instructions

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