Associate Director, Civil and Political Rights

New York, NY

Overview of AJWS

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading Jewish organization working to pursue justice and fight poverty in the developing world. By supporting hundreds of social change organizations in 19 countries, we respond to the most pressing issues of our time—from disasters, genocide and hunger, to the persecution of women and minorities worldwide. With Jewish values and a global reach, AJWS is making a difference in millions of lives and bringing a more just and equitable world closer for all.

About the Department

AJWS’s programs division works to build civil society in select countries in Africa, the Americas and Asia by supporting non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) that are advancing human rights. AJWS partners with organizations that work on four critical issues:

  • Civil and Political Rights: Political Participation, Free Expression and Assembly
    AJWS supports civil society organizations and activists who are empowering the most marginalized communities to use their civil and political rights to advocate for justice in the wake of mass abuse and conflict; to push governments and local authorities to become more inclusive and responsive; and to become part of a strong, inclusive and diverse civil society that looks to improve national level laws, policies and discourse that benefit the most excluded and reduce inequality.
  • Land, Water and Climate Justice: Defending the Right to Food, Land and Livelihoods
    AJWS supports organizations that advocate for the rights of rural, indigenous and poor communities who are displaced from their land or prevented from earning a living because of mining, dams and other development that threaten their way of life.   
  • Sexual Health and Rights: Advancing the Rights of Women, Girls and Sexual Minorities
    AJWS works to increase access to services and end discrimination, violence and abuse of women, girls, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and sex workers, so that they can access the full spectrum of opportunities in society and live in health, safety and dignity.
  • Humanitarian Response:
    AJWS brings a human rights lens to support for communities affected by humanitarian crises, making sure the those who needs are overlooked or underserved by mainstream aid organizations are at the forefront of identifying ways to address them.

About the Position

AJWS seeks a social change strategist, experienced grantmaker, and an exceptionally talented manager and staff developer to help lead one of its four thematic areas, civil and political rights. The Associate Director for Civil and Political Rights (CPR) will be responsible for supervising up to seven staff members; building and monitoring the CPR budget; managing requests and internal deadlines for other departments (including Communications; Strategic Learning, Research and Evaluation; Finance and Administration and Development); and developing and implementing a learning, research and evaluation agenda for the team’s work to help advance the team’s field leadership.

The ideal candidate will be a proven leader with a record of success managing teams toward ambitious, measureable goals. They must be passionate about AJWS’s mission and committed to the notion that marginalized people must be key drivers of their own development and the realization of their human rights. They must demonstrate the ability to motivate, excite and inspire staff. They will be quick, entrepreneurial and flexible, with the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and opportunities. The Associate Director for Civil and Political Rights will have the opportunity to help lead a talented team that is mission-focused, results-oriented, passionate and fun.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Supervise the work of U.S. and country-based staff, and oversee their supervision of international in-country consultants, including through coaching and developing new managers, helping staff set and meet time-bound strategic and programmatic goals, and facilitating partnership among staff and consultants; and manage all human resource aspects of the team.
  • Support the ongoing civil and political rights strategy development and implementation;
  • Develop annual departmental budget and regularly track, monitor and manage spending within budget parameters;
  • Oversee the implementation of country strategies, budgets and operational plans;
  • Manage to internal deadlines for AJWS’s communications, strategic learning, research and evaluation, finance and administration, and development departments.
  • Work with the Senior Director for Civil and Political Rights and Advocacy to develop a vision for field leadership for the team’s work, and implement and oversee the research, learning and analysis agenda that would facilitate this leadership;
  • Represent AJWS as a thought leader among colleagues and networks in the fields of civil and political rights, international development, human rights and philanthropy;
  • Other duties as required.


  • Advanced degree in law, politics or a related field required;
  • 10-15 years of international human rights experience required;
  • Minimum 5 years of experience in a leadership/management role in civil and political rights or relevant field;
  • Grantmaking, advocacy and/or fundraising experience highly desirable;
  • Experience working with grassroots organizations and/or social movements;
  • Familiarity with key global actors in the field and strong local organizations in Asia, Africa or Latin America;
  • Proven excellence as a manager of high-performing and globally-dispersed staff teams;
  • Experience in budget management;
  • Strategic planning, peer learning and monitoring and evaluation skills;
  • Excellent communication skills in English including in writing, editing and analysis required;
  • Excellent public speaking and interpersonal skills;
  • Ability to communicate cross-culturally;
  • Spanish/French fluency a plus;
  • Flexible and collaborative spirit;
  • Ability to travel extensively, a minimum of 6-8 weeks per year.

Additional Considerations

People of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex, trans and gender non-conforming people; women; and differently abled people are encouraged to apply. We also encourage applications from people of diverse religious, spiritual and cultural backgrounds.

Authorization to work in the US is required.

How to Apply

For immediate consideration please apply below.

Applications submitted without a personalized cover letter will not be considered.

We thank you for your interest in career opportunities with AJWS. Due to high volume, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls please.