Syria Program Officer

Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution
  • Location
    Arlington, Virginia
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Early Career
  • Posted
    Nov 29

Position description

The Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution (CRDC) is the flagship center for conflict resolution practice at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR). CRDC engages emerging indigenous and global peacemakers, mobilizes support, and creates linkages between citizen diplomats, students, business people, and policy makers. CRDC operates conflict resolution and educational projects in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Turkey, Jordan, and the United States, and has also led interventions in conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Iran, Canada, and Indonesia.

About the Syria Program

The Syria Program at George Mason University's CRDC is staffed with academics, policy specialists, and aid practitioners dedicated to improving the prospect for lasting peace in Syria while alleviating human suffering as the conflict unfolds. This is achieved through the program’s extensive local ties and credibility on the ground fostered through more than a decade of engagement inside Syria. The mission of the Syria Program is to generate incremental steps of positive change within the Syrian context that serve as the basis for new possibilities by way of peacebuilding, diplomacy, and humanitarian response. This mission is fulfilled by intricately interweaving programs on the ground, dialogue events and outreach, and research/publications. From 2018 to 2020, the Syria Program will be implementing a project entitled Preparing Syria’s Women for Interfaith Governance. The Syria Program Officer will play an essential role in managing this project.

About the Position

This is a part-time position at a minimum of 20 hours per week reporting directly to the project director. Core hours for this position will be 12pm - 3pm daily (for example, a work schedule of 10am - 3pm or 12pm - 5pm would be permissible). The program officer’s work schedule will be developed with and subject to approval by the project director. The position requires a 20-month commitment through the duration of the project and will be dependent upon successful performance during a 90-day probationary period. Mandatory vetting must be completed for all personnel employed through the project. Only individuals authorized to work in the United States through September 2020 will be considered for this position.

The position is based at CRDC’s offices on George Mason University’s campus in Arlington, Virginia, but may require occasional work on the main GMU campus in Fairfax, Virginia (accessible by metro and university shuttle). The program officer will travel annually with the rest of the CRDC team to Gaziantep, Turkey, and Amman, Jordan, for conferences with project participants.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Have a flexible schedule and hours and be willing to be on call to support project activities in different time zones
  • Communicate effectively with other CRDC team members and embrace a team-oriented approach
  • Pay great attention to fine details
  • Take pride in a clean, organized office and high-quality work

Project Management

  • Assistant manage the Preparing Syria's Women for Interfaith Governance project under the supervision of the project director
  • Track milestones for various program components
  • Draft and edit all program-related literature, including concept notes, project proposals, and quarterly narrative and budgetary reports
  • Monitor and report on project spending; manage invoices; and coordinate with multiple departments at GMU's main campus to ensure smooth financial operations
  • Provide direct support to the project director, and administrative, procurement, and financial support to the project, including the day-to-day organizational duties necessary to run the program
  • Remotely support the subgrantee organization in implementing the project on the ground in Turkey, Jordan, and Syria
  • Be aggressive in pursuit of goals and deadlines and skilled at navigating the departmental bureaucracy of a large public university
  • Work collaboratively with the project assistant on all aspects of the project

Travel Management for Project Staff

  • Arrange complex travel schedules and make reservations
  • Coordinate details including travel authorizations, correspondence with guests and speakers, invitations, background papers, etc.
  • Book flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, etc., under supervision of the project director
  • Create a travel itinerary and ensure staff have all applicable documentation for travel, hotel, etc.
  • Enter all information regarding travel and appointments during trips into the calendar, including locations of meetings and travel details between meetings
  • Proactively ascertain what documents, materials and prep will be needed for each trip and meeting
  • Initiate expense reimbursements in a timely manner following each trip
  • Track and report on travel expenses in GMU travel management system and project budget reports

Executive Support

  • Manage incoming and outgoing calls, messages, emails, social media, and other correspondence
  • Provide professional staffing support including filing, meeting preparation, briefings, etc.
  • Ensure colleagues and clients have appropriate access and are able to get what they need, even while CRDC staff are traveling
  • Prioritize and manage multiple projects simultaneously
  • Communicate and coordinate effectively with team members at CRDC, S-CAR, other university departments, and program sponsor organization

Calendar Management

  • Schedule and confirm all appointments, meetings, and calls with attendees
  • Manage changes, alterations, and unanticipated priorities that impact the schedule
  • Review calendar 1-2 weeks in advance to determine what meetings/appointments need preparation
  • Provide contact information, directions, and locations of meetings in the calendared appointment


The ideal candidate for the Syria Program Officer position will have the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree with high academic achievement
  • Demonstrated interest in related subject areas, such as international affairs, Middle East studies, Arabic, humanitarian work, and conflict resolution/peacebuilding
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Fluency in English required; special consideration will be given to applicants who demonstrate fluency in Arabic
  • Excellent computer skills, including Microsoft Office (particularly Excel), Dropbox, Google Drive, and social media platforms
  • Strong organizational and planning skills and high attention to detail; experience with program management/event coordination preferred
  • Ability to work effectively on a team and manage multiple projects; strong sense of self-initiative

Application instructions

You will be asked to submit your one page resume, one page letter of interest, and contact information only for two references in a single PDF document. The title of the document should be your first and last names. Your ability to follow these instructions will be considered a test of your suitability for the position. Applications that do not follow these instructions will be discarded without review.

NO phone calls. NO emails. We anticipate a high volume of applications and will not be able to respond individually to emails except for successful candidates who are invited to interview.

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