ECDPM is a leading independent think tank that wants to make policies in Europe and Africa work for inclusive and sustainable development. We have two offices: in Maastricht (the Netherlands) and in Brussels (Belgium).
We believe that good policies are extremely powerful. They can tackle society’s biggest problems at the root, lay a foundation for change and play a crucial part in making the global development agenda a reality for all. That is why we want to help institutions and governments across Europe and Africa create policies that work.
Our independent policy experts contribute sharp analysis, thorough research and fresh ideas. But making policies work requires stepping off the sidelines too. It means working closely with the people who create, implement and are impacted by policies. We bring different groups around the table, smooth the way for debate and make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. We provide advice and training and design practical solutions together.
We have over thirty years of experience in development policy and international cooperation and know the African and European institutions inside out. Our focus is on EU foreign policy and European and African policies related to conflict, migration, governance, food security, regional integration, business, finance and trade.
Our partners include officials from government ministries and institutions, international organisations, think tanks and academia, as well as social and economic actors from Africa, Europe and beyond.
We are looking for a new Director with a solid understanding of the changing context of international cooperation and international relations, with intellectual curiosity, enthusiasm for ECDPM’s unique mission and an ability to help the organisation flourish through a people-centred and participative management approach suited to a modern think tank.
The ECDPM Director will lead a team of over sixty policy, communications and support staff from more than twenty countries around the globe. S/he will take office in a multicultural foundation, functioning under Dutch law and operating in a rapidly evolving environment with increased competition for reduced budgets. The Director will be based in Maastricht.
Key roles and responsibilities
The Director will lead ECDPM towards its strategic goals and ensure its continued adaptation to a changing context, both in terms of the developing relations between Europe and Africa and regarding possible changes in funding modalities and opportunities. In doing so, the Director will preserve and develop the organisation’s strengths, particularly staff’s dedication to ECDPM’s core mission and their willingness to walk the extra mile when required.
The Director will represent ECDPM as and when relevant, and on such occasions draw on ECDPM’s rich array of research and practice. S/he will also ensure that staff have opportunities to represent ECDPM in connection with their work.
S/he will be responsible for ensuring a sound financial base for the organisation and lead, participate in, support and supervise fundraising efforts at all levels of the organisation. Ideally, the Director will take a creative approach to fundraising, helping the organisation compete and tap into new, strategically-aligned areas of funding. S/he will particularly ensure diligent management of client relations with major funders.
The Director will be accountable to ECDPM’s Board, and will ensure that Board members are informed in a timely manner of progress in and obstacles to the achievement of strategic goals and outcomes. S/he will also ensure that the Board has relevant interactions with other senior managers and staff.
The Director will provide intellectual leadership to the organisation and be personally involved in content work in her/his area of competence.
As head of the organisation, the Director will ensure a participatory and communicative management style at all levels of the organisation, leading by example. Openness to arguments, evidence and dialogue and a consensus-seeking approach are essential, though ultimately decision-making is the prerogative and duty of the Director.
The Director will supervise and support other ECDPM managers in playing a facilitative role regarding core programme work and overarching areas such as learning and quality support, finances, human resources management and administrative support. S/he will ensure that support functions constantly adapt to needs and the funding situation.
The Director will lead the regular Management Team meetings and other senior management meetings.
While specific programme areas may be topically separate, the Director will ensure the requisite cohesiveness of quality, approaches and focus areas within ECDPM’ strategic framework, ensuring that staff is involved in and informed about changes to this framework. Given the dynamic nature of Europe-Africa relations, which is the core focus of ECDPM’s work, the Director will keep abreast of developments in this area, drawing on the extensive knowledge available within the organisation, among other things.
The Director will be directly responsible for senior appointments. S/he will supervise human resources management and be responsible for consultations with the works council. S/he will also ensure that a gender policy is in place and that a gender action plan is implemented which will vigorously address the current gender imbalance at the senior level in the organisation.
Experience and skills
The skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to perform the key tasks listed above include intellectual capacity and curiosity, humility and reflective ability, excellent communication and listening skills, strong interpersonal skills, the ability to broker, and the capacity to lead strategically in and with respect for a culturally diverse environment.
The position further requires a suitable combination of:
- Solid experience in driving research programmes and advisory services in knowledge-producing, advocacy, research or advisory organisations, alongside proven experience in shaping and delivering on an agreed strategic direction.
- Educated to postgraduate level in an appropriate discipline.
- Experience in senior management functions, including programme management, people management and financial management.
- Deep understanding of and/or experience in particular policy areas relevant to the evolving landscape of relations and cooperation between Europe and Africa.
- Proven experience in fundraising and with networks that include public agencies which fund ECDPM and organisations similar to ECDPM.
- A relevant network of senior-level contacts and experience in influencing networks in settings similar to those in which ECDPM operates.
- Ability to lead by inspiring others both within and outside the organisation and at all levels.
- Active listening skills and the ability to foster consensus.
- Excellent verbal and written communication and presentation skills, with fluency in English and proficiency in French.