The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve this mission, the Foundations seek to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, the Open Society Foundations implement a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, we build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. The Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.
Investor and philanthropist George Soros established the Open Society Foundations, starting in 1984, to help countries make the transition from communism. Our activities have grown to encompass the United States and more than 70 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Each Foundation relies on the expertise of boards composed of eminent citizens who determine individual agendas based on local priorities.
The Director of the Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE) is a new position, responsible for expanding what has begun as a program of research and dialogue into a broader set of programs responding to the present crisis in Europe while strengthening European society over the long term. For almost three years, the Brussels office of the Open Society Foundations, under the OSIFE banner, has commissioned research and engaged a wide set of officials, politicians, and policy advocates across Europe to counter xenophobia in European politics, investigate the foundations of Euroscepticism, and find new constituencies for open society values. With the advice of a wide variety of European intellectual, cultural, financial, and political leaders, George Soros is now expanding OSIFE to encompass a wider array of activities, including:
- Support for key European think-tanks working on Europe-wide issues
- Development of new ideas on European finance and the economy, such as those fostered by the Institute for New Economic Thinking
- Protection of civil liberties and fundamental rights as the European Union expands its role in criminal justice, surveillance, and law enforcement under the Lisbon Treaty
- Initiation of programs to support tolerance and social inclusion of all residents of Europe in the life of their cities, nations, and Europe as a whole
- Strengthening the accountability of the European Union to the people of Europe on a fair and democratic basis
- Creation of pan-European forums encouraging discussion, debate, and mutual understanding among the people of European countries
- Engagement of students and young people as they redefine what it means to be European.
The Director will coordinate these activities, oversee an expanded program of grant-making, and build partnerships with others working across Europe for similar objectives. The Director will serve as a spokesperson for the Open Society Foundations, articulating the values and mission of the Foundations in dealing with academic audiences, journalists, various associations across Europe, and a wider public as well as with grantees and other funders. The Director will work with colleagues across the Foundations to assure that all activities in Europe are well aligned with each other as well as with the global work of the Foundations. The Director will report to the President of the Open Society Foundations and will be accountable to the President and to a sub-board of the European Initiative for the quality, effectiveness, and integrity of all activities.
In expanding OSIFE, the Director will work closely with several components of the Open Society Foundations already active in Europe. These include OSF’s office in Brussels, whose Director will continue overseeing advocacy and research focused on the EU’s institutions and member-states and the Council of Europe; several national foundations within the OSF network that have long pursued open society values through their own grant-making and operations; and various thematic programs that focus on human rights, equality, arts and culture, education, justice, media and information, and youth. The Director will assume direct oversight of existing programs that support efforts to eliminate xenophobia and encourage social inclusion of all groups.
Candidates should have at least five years of experience in responsible positions in non-profit organizations, foundations, government, or academic institutions. Candidates should have a demonstrated capacity to manage in a complex, diverse organization that works in creative partnerships. Candidates should have demonstrated an ability to take and manage risk, communicate effectively in multiple media, coach members of a professional staff, and work successfully as part of a leadership team in both routine and highly pressured contexts.
To lead its Initiative for Europe, OSF seeks a dynamic individual with a passion for the European project, an appreciation for Europe’s diversity and many national identities, and an understanding of its many constituent parts, especially its youth. The director of OSIFE must be a strategic thinker with a deep, personal commitment to open society values. Proficiency in multiple European languages is a plus; the ability to travel frequently within Europe and internationally is essential.
Open Society Foundations
Human Resources – DIR-OSIFE
400 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019