Program Officer - Open Source Democracy

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    Berlin, Germany
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
  • Posted
    Jun 11

Position description

Program Officer - Open Source Democracy. Berlin. Posting Date: 06/10/2019. Deadline: 06/30/2019

The Regional Program for Europe (OSIFE) is part of the Open Society Foundations (OSF). OSF is a global network of foundations committed to local knowledge and national expertise, and including national foundations, regional foundations, and other geographic programs operating in more than one hundred countries. OSIFE works at national, local and pan-European level to support European progress towards open society goals though grant making, convening, advocacy and research mainly, and supports OSF's foundations and thematic programs to achieve their Europe-focused strategies.

Job Profile

OSIFE works at national, local and pan-European level to support European progress towards open society goals mainly through grant making, convening, advocacy and research, and supports OSF's foundations and thematic programs to achieve their Europe-focused strategies. OSIFE is seeking a Program Officer to manage a grant-making portfolio on fostering democratic innovation which supports the development of new and inclusive models of citizen participation in public decision making across Europe.

Responsibilities for the role may include the following:

  • Responsible for all grant-making activities relating to the portfolio. Operates with considerable autonomy and makes decisions related to authorizing/declining grants within an approved work plan and budget reflective of own field experience/expertise.
  • Builds collaborative relationships within and outside OSF (e.g. with grantees, partners, experts in the field, etc.) that advance social change efforts within this area and specifically works to:
    • Identify local and trans-local organizational, groups, networks and movements that forward new models of citizens participation in institutional decision-making processes
    • Ensure that the organizations, initiatives and models we support in this field are inclusive and that they seek out ways to bring in excluded and disenfranchised communities
    • Develop collaboration with other programs within OSF, especially in Europe, while supporting grantees and partners in communication and advocacy aspects
  • Guides the work of program and/or administrative staff in support of grant-making or other program activities.
  • Responsible for strengthening connections between OSF's geographic and thematic programs within this particular area, while identifying opportunities where a shared approach might have the potential to create a broader impact
  • Contributes to the development of overall program strategy and other cross-cutting initiatives or processes at OSIFE and OSF in general

Candidate Profile

  • 7 -10 years of progressively responsible experience, generally in an organization other than a foundation, relevant to the duties of this role
  • Substantive knowledge of different types of participatory democracy, including deliberative democracy, particularly in terms of their implementation in practice
  • Familiarity with key actors in participatory democracy in Europe
  • Understanding of the crisis of representative democracy in Europe
  • Experience with grant-making and advocacy
  • Is able to articulate a deep understanding of and vision for change based on experience and/or knowledge and is able to use that understanding to develop and implement a strategy for achieving the vision
  • Demonstrated success in advancing social change strategies, including planning and implementing modifications in response to an evolving situation
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the implications of the power differential inherent in the funder-grantee relationship and has demonstrated the ability and the willingness to handle such relationships properly and respectfully
  • Comprehensive understanding of the structure and workings of both formal and informal organizations (NGO/non-profit organizations), networks, and movements within varied contexts and as appropriate to the program
  • Ability to exercise measured and appropriate judgment, rooted in analysis and often under circumstances in which insufficient information is available and/or the circumstances are highly volatile
  • Mastery of analytical approaches and options, and ability to make sound informed judgments
  • Sound project management skills, including the ability to direct others to effectively gather evidence and research to inform decisions or judgments
  • Ability to build collaborative relationships - in OSF, peer foundations, and with grant seekers and grantees, and others in the field - to further programmatic goals
  • Comprehensive and specialized knowledge in the field of democratic innovation, participatory and deliberative democracy, including familiarity with current issues
  • Ability to exercise effective and inclusive leadership in cross-cultural settings
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English


Competitive rates of pay apply.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable adjustments so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.




follow us on Twitter