Director of Government Affairs

Washingon, D.C.

Overview of AJWS

Inspired by the Jewish commitment to justice, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. AJWS advances the health and rights of women, girls and LGBT people; promotes recovery from conflict, disasters and oppression; and defends access to food, land and livelihoods. AJWS pursues lasting change by supporting grassroots and global human rights organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and by mobilizing supporters in the U.S. to advocate for global justice. Working together, the AJWS community strives to build a more just and equitable world.

About the Department

The Washington, D.C. Government Affairs (GA) Office is charged with leading AJWS’s “inside the Beltway” strategy on AJWS’s foreign policy priority issues with the U.S. Administration and Congress. The GA Office is part of a broader advocacy team that includes international advocacy staff based in New York. The current priority issues are:

  • Sexual Health and Rights;
  • Climate Justice and Natural Resource Rights;
  • Civil and Political Rights; and
  • Disaster Response

Position Summary

The Washington, D.C. Government Affairs Director leads the Government Affairs team, the members of which focus largely on U.S. government advocacy but also engage in international advocacy efforts. In addition to managing the office and staff, the GA Director will be responsible for identifying and shaping AJWS’s advocacy opportunities and strategies by monitoring the political state of play and by maintaining relationships with key Congressional offices, Administration agencies, NGO colleagues, and other relevant partners and stakeholders. The Director will also play a key role in liaising and working with NY-based staff, including to develop, implement, and monitor and evaluate AJWS’s advocacy work.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Manage a three-person team in the development, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of a government affairs strategy;
  • In consultation with Government Affairs staff, develop and maintain high level advocacy portfolio, pending strategic need;
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with relevant NGO colleagues, Congressional offices and/or Administration officials/agencies at senior levels;
  • Provide high-level strategic guidance, advocacy content, and capacity building and policy analysis to AJWS leadership, colleagues and select external stakeholders;
  • Serve as a spokesperson and educator, representing AJWS through public speaking, media interviews and writing in a broad range of venues;
  • Continue to integrate the Government Affairs team with AJWS’s broader advocacy team which includes international advocacy;
  • Work closely with staff in the Programs Division to facilitate opportunities for AJWS’s grantees as well as our network of religious leaders to leverage AJWS’s political relationships and to collaborate to achieve AJWS’s mission;
  • Partner with staff in the Communications Division to develop and implement ongoing advocacy communications strategies to support AJWS’s policy change agenda;
  • Oversee GA role in annual priority-setting, learning, monitoring and evaluation processes, and organizational budget development at the department and division level; and
  • In partnership with AJWS’s New York-based Facilities Manager, oversee all aspects of AJWS’s physical Washington, D.C. office space.


The ideal candidate will be highly strategic, hold a record of success in government affairs and demonstrated leadership abilities including the capacity to manage teams toward ambitious, measurable goals. S/he must be passionate about and committed to promoting AJWS’s mission and vision in Washington and beyond. S/he must demonstrate the ability to motivate, excite and inspire staff. S/he will be quick, entrepreneurial and flexible, with the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and opportunities. In addition, we are seeking someone with the following qualifications:

  • Commitment to AJWS’s mission and values, and the pursuit of global justice;
  • At least 15 years of public policy and/or advocacy work required, including experience in developing strategies, advocacy campaigns on small budgets, and influencing government affairs for issues related to AJWS’s advocacy priorities;
  • Ideally 10 of those years will have been spent focusing on U.S. foreign policy with strong experience working with Congress;
  • Bachelor’s degree required; graduate degree in public policy, public administration, international relations, international law or related field or commensurate professional experience preferred;
  • Proven excellence as a manager of motivated, effective and high-performing teams;
  • Knowledge of international human rights, development issues and, ideally, relevant international institutions; additional knowledge on climate change, LGBTQ, and the rights of women and children preferred;
  • Familiarity with the American Jewish communal/political landscape;
  • Ideally experience working in interfaith coalitions and with religious leaders, particularly from the Jewish community;
  • Capacity to implement a range of advocacy tools, including direct engagement with elected officials, government agencies working at the international level and coalition building;
  • Excellent analytical, verbal and written communication skills required, along with excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to represent AJWS with skill, knowledge and confidence;
  • Outstanding organizational management skills, including supervising and developing staff and managing multiple tasks simultaneously;
  • Facility with budget development and management;
  • Experience living and/or working in the global south a plus;
  • Capacity to travel to the New York office at least six times per year and to the AJWS priority countries at least once per year; and
  • Spanish/French language abilities a plus.

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, click on the link to apply below. Applications submitted without a resume and 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.