Senior Adviser, Legislative and Governmental Affairs
Background: Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed unparalleled expertise in responding to emergencies and helping uprooted communities to rebuild. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.
The IRC is on the ground in more than 40 countries, providing emergency relief, relocating refugees and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster. Through 28 offices in cities across the United States, the IRC also helps refugees and other immigrants resettle in the U.S. and become self-sufficient. The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The IRC is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable.
The Policy & Advocacy Department is a dynamic team whose mission is to use IRC's field knowledge, role as expert witness, evidence and solutions to shift the agenda and decisions of policy makers for the benefit of our clients. The Policy & Advocacy team seeks to develop the IRC as a thought leader, and drive transformational change in the humanitarian sector. Specifically, they work to achieve improvements in aid effectiveness through evidence-based solutions; speak out on challenges facing the people we seek to assist; and to promote solutions for protracted displacement.
Job Overview: The Senior Adviser for Legislative and Governmental Affairs will serving as a strategic adviser within the Policy and Advocacy team in Washington, DC and will also interface directly with policy makers as an advocate. The Senior Adviser will design and lead the team in the implementation of a range of advocacy efforts on foreign humanitarian assistance and humanitarian sector reform aimed at Members of Congress and their staff, as well as key decision-makers within the Administration, while at the same time working closely with the U.S. programs advocacy team to ensure alignment and synergy with the IRC's legislative and administrative engagement strategy on U.S. refugee resettlement issues. Working closely with the Vice President and three Senior Directors overseeing the international and U.S. programs advocacy portfolios, as well as with the Associate Director leading on legislative advocacy on U.S. resettlement, the Senior Adviser for Legislative and Governmental Affairs will lead development of a robust strategic engagement and influencing strategy, enabling the IRC to position itself as a thought leader and strengthen its impact to achieve outcomes on behalf of the populations that we serve. This will be done by maintaining and further cultivating a strong presence on Capitol Hill, and with foreign affairs, defense and national security agencies of the USG. The Senior Adviser will help to shape IRC policy development and influencing strategies based on an expert knowledge of the political landscape in Congress and within relevant USG agencies.
- Develop an overarching legislative and administrative engagement strategy for IRC, with the input of key staff on the Policy and Advocacy team, ensuring a coherent team-wide approach to engaging policy makers in Congress and the Administration.
- Identify strategic entry points with key decision makers and influencers in Congress and within the USG on foreign humanitarian aid and sector reform, and proactively build strong relationships with relevant committee staff, Congressional offices and USG officials and staff
- Advise other members of the Policy and Advocacy team on strategic engagement and influencing strategies with decision makers and staff on foreign humanitarian aid and sector reform; support/lead the team's direct engagement with targets to represent IRC policy positions through letters, messages, calls, testimony and visits; and provide context analysis, monitor and report back on policy and legislative developments on priority issues
- In particular, lead strategy development and execution of IRC efforts to protect the foreign aid budget, with focus on the US humanitarian accounts. To do so, develop relationships with Congressional committees and offices critical to the annual appropriations process and relevant government agencies involved in foreign assistance budget formulation including USAID, the Department of State and the Office of Management and Budget
- Work closely with the US programs advocacy team to identify joint opportunities and ensure coordination, alignment and synergies between the foreign humanitarian assistance portfolio and the US refugee resettlement portfolio.
- Collaborate with internal IRC partner departments to promote alignment between the IRC's legislative strategy on foreign aid and the work of other parts of the organization (e.g. global communications, revenue campaigns, etc.)
Represent the IRC at policy-related meetings, hearings and fora with key policymakers and influencers pertaining to foreign humanitarian assistance, and serve as IRC focal point for various foreign aid-related coalitions including InterAction, the US Global Leadership Campaign, and the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network.
Develop a grasstops strategy to influence foreign humanitarian assistance policy, including initiating and facilitating meetings for IRC leadership and board members with legislators and members of the Administration.
Key Working Relationships:
Position reports to: Vice President, Policy and Advocacy
Position directly supervises: NA
Internal contacts: Policy and Advocacy colleagues; Communications and Revenue departments; Technical Unit leads; International Programs leads; President's Office
External contacts: Members of Congress and their staff; officials and staff in relevant USG departments (Department of State, USAID, Department of Defense, among others); White House staff; relevant non-governmental coalitions.
- Graduate degree in relevant field such as Public Policy, Law or International Relations
- At least ten to twelve years experience (at least six in a management, leadership or senior advisory capacity), including proven experience in administrative advocacy and legislative strategy work on complex humanitarian and/or foreign policy issues
- Demonstrated experience successfully managing high-level relationships across branches of government and between sectors, and implementing impactful influencing strategies across the political spectrum
Demonstrated skills and competencies:
- Extensive knowledge of the US legislative process and experience advancing legislation
- Deep familiarity with leveraging points throughout US government that can be targeted to achieve policy objectives.
- Knowledge of the international humanitarian relief and development sector highly preferred
- Ability to think strategically, synthesize complex information and develop innovative policy approaches
- Strong communication skills with a demonstrated ability to communicate successfully with policy makers who have varying levels of knowledge of international relief and development issues
- Excellent writing skills and the ability to translate complex material and data into coherent narratives that resonate with policy makers and staff across the political spectrum
- Ability to travel
- Initiative and ability to work independently on fast-paced issues, juggle competing demands, and work on tight deadlines
Working Environment: Standard office work environment. Up to 10% travel required.
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