Worldwide, over 70 million people are fleeing conflict and crisis, including 26 million refugees. Yet over the last two years, global resettlement of refugees has dropped more than 50 percent. In an astounding break from historic norms and bipartisan tradition, for the past three years the U.S. has set refugee admissions goals well below the historic average goal of 95,000 refugees. The U.S. is also rapidly reversing protections for asylum seekers, including children and families fleeing violence in Central America. The dramatic drop in refugee admissions and attacks on protection safeguards pose existential threats to lifesaving protection pathways for some of the worlds most vulnerable. All other resettlement states combined cannot compensate for a plummet in the historic admissions record of the U.S. Meanwhile, major refugee-hosting countries increasingly question why they should continue to support large refugee populations when the U.S. fails to do its fair share.
Over the last two years, in response to a shifting public narrative, a regressive policy approach to resettlement and asylum safeguards, and threats to programming at both federal and state levels, the IRC has been implementing major strategic shifts in our advocacy to build up a sustained constituency for refugees and asylum seekers through strengthened grassroots advocacy and public mobilization, alongside our deep history of engagement with policymakers in the executive and legislative branches. The Senior Director will lead the implementation of a multifaceted strategy to defend against existential attacks on refugee admissions and asylum policies at the federal and state levels in the short-term, and lay strong foundations for rebuilding bipartisan support at the national, state and local level for refugee resettlement and asylum safeguards in the medium- and long-term. As part of these core responsibilities, the Senior Director will work with partners across the IRC to support organization-wide commitment to a set of One-IRC policies and voice on the erosion of protection pathways for the most vulnerable taking place globally.
Lead the development and implementation of an ambitious IRC-wide advocacy strategy on U.S. refugee admissions and asylum safeguards, including:
- Set the strategy to protect U.S. refugee resettlement and asylum safeguards through specific and tailored Congressional, Administration, public mobilization and state/local advocacy strategies in close collaboration with the VP of Global Policy and Advocacy, the U.S. Programs Policy and Advocacy team, and programmatic leadership. Leverage unique IRC assets across the organization to inform and advance the strategy.
- Provide strategic leadership for an IRC-wide approach on global protection safeguards and IRC’s response to attacks on protection pathways for vulnerable populations, with a particular focus on Central American populations
- Set the strategic direction and oversee implementation of IRC’s public mobilization efforts around resettlement, asylum and integration issues, including grasstops and grassroots mobilization, coalition partnerships and digital advocacy, including through effective staff management
- Set the strategic direction and oversee implementation of Congressional, Administration and state-level strategies, including through effective staff management
- Represent the IRC through direct engagement with key Administration officials and members of Congress, at key fora and with the media
- In partnership with communications colleagues, oversee the advocacy team’s implementation of strategic communications campaigns, and oversee the development of policy content for communications
- Cultivate strategic influencers and build strong partnerships with coalitions, peer organizations and corporate partners to amplify advocacy
- Routinely communicate and collaborate with high level internal stakeholders to generate alignment around strategic approach, and identify opportunities to leverage IRC partners, including the Resettlement, Asylum and Integration team, Communications and Revenue and Development teams
- Effectively and routinely measure and communicate progress toward strategy outcomes to senior leadership
- Graduate degree in relevant field such as Public Policy, Law or International Relations, or equivalent qualifications/experience in a relevant field
- Ten or more years’ experience working at high levels with government officials in the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. Government
- Proven experience developing and implementing successful influencing strategies
- Experience working on complex humanitarian and/or foreign policy issues in the area of refugee and asylum policy
- Experience supervising staff and working as part of an interdependent team, and forming effective working relationships to deliver results
Demonstrated Skills and Competencies:
- Proven political judgment, strategic decision-making and detailed knowledge of the workings of the U.S. Administration and the U.S. Congress
- Strong understanding of the U.S. resettlement program and U.S. asylum policy Sound knowledge of global policy issues related to international refugee law and asylum policy and practice
- Ability to communicate effectively with internal and external stakeholders
- Excellent writing skills and the ability to translate complex material and data into coherent narratives
- Strong management and relationship-building skills
- Strong public speaking, presentation and networking skills
- Ability to travel and to work on tight deadlines
- Initiative and ability to work independently on fast-paced issues
- Commitment to the IRC’s vision, missions and values
Language Skills: No language requirement.
Working Environment: Standard office work environment. Up to 10% travel.