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Médecins Sans Frontières seeks Deputy Head of Humanitarian Diplomacy Team

Médecins Sans Frontières 5<y Senior Level  Genève, Genève, Schweiz 2 Jan 2018

Job Description

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural disasters. MSF offers assistance to people based only on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

MSF International is the legal entity that binds MSF’s 21 sections, 24 associations and other offices together. Based in Geneva, MSF International provides coordination, information and support to the MSF Movement, as well as implements international projects and initiatives as requested.

As part of the re-organisation of the work of humanitarian diplomacy in MSF, the position of the

Deputy Head of Humanitarian Diplomacy

Team has been created. The Humanitarian Diplomacy Team (HDT) is the team formerly known as the Humanitarian Advocacy and Representation Team (HART).

The Humanitarian Diplomacy Team (HDT) provides support to the MSF operations through linkages and actions to and from external networks (political, humanitarian, medical, and civil society).  It is managed by the International Operations, Representation and Advocacy Coordinator (IORAC). The HDT maintains active relations with its network and continually informs the MSF operations of the relevant analysed information. The HDT influences its network through specific actions for the benefit of the MSF programs and MSF operations’ goals.  In carrying out its actions, the HDT responds to direct requests from the operational program managers (desks). Longer term positioning and actions are also co-ordinated within the HDT team are directed by the MSF operations at the HQ level.

The HDT maintains active and effective internal links to co-ordinate its work.  These include the reflection and advocacy centres of the operational sections, the Access campaign and partner sections (regarding their relations with their own host governments and regional networks – eg Canada, Germany, China, Australia, etc.), International President, Secretary General, International Medical Secretary & Medical Co-ordinator, medical working groups + others as necessary. The HDT interacts with the field missions of MSF (HoM-level) in order to improve the overall quality of the support to operations.

In order to enhance support to operations, and increase strategic coordination of partner section resources, the position of Deputy Head of HDT will fill the role of both Geneva Representative for MSF, as well as Strategic Coordinator of the HD network.

In collaboration with the IORAC, the Deputy facilitates and organizes inter-sectional operational coordination on specific contexts, networks, humanitarian subjects, or emergencies, including supporting representation and messaging delivered by the International office or association.


The Deputy Head of HDT reports to the International Operations, Representation and Advocacy Coordinator (IORAC).

Based in Geneva, the Deputy will ensure effective, productive and high-level representation to Geneva-based interlocutors in UN Agencies, Members States and the INGO community. The position will ensure tandem work with the IORAC for relevant contributions to the tasks of the Secretary General, and maintain close functionality with the International President (IP), the International Medical Secretary (IMS), the International Communication Coordinator (ICC) and other International Office Coordinators.

He/she manages the Geneva-based Humanitarian Affairs Advisor of MSF International and facilitates the strategic coordination of the HD Network, ensuring regular interactions with advocacy and external representation resources, as well as General Directors, ensuring direct working interaction with all MSF sections and regional representations. The Deputy Head of the HDT will sit as a key member of the HD Secretariat, a body that will be responsible for the strategic exchanges with the operational lines of all MSF OC’s.

The post will also support the facilitation of regular exchanges between the various reflection centers and research units existing in the movement and stimulate their collective reflections around identified key humanitarian issues.


  1.  Support to Operations as MSF Representative to the UN in Geneva

As a tool for operations, the Deputy Head of HDT will:

  • Ensure effective networking and representation of MSF operations in Geneva with UN Agencies, Member States and Geneva-based NGOs;
  • Supervise the Geneva Humanitarian Affairs Advisor to ensure adequate understanding of key stakeholders for MSF humanitarian diplomacy engagement;
  • Support the President of MSF International, the International Medical Secretary, and the Secretary General in their representation role towards external actors in Geneva upon request;
  • Circulate & explain positions internally and externally, present MSF’s analysis in multilateral meetings with other actors, NGOs etc;
  • Maintain the required understanding of MSF sections in order to mobilize the humanitarian diplomacy capacity when required by operations;
  • Provide regular updates and analysis on developments of interest to the SG, IMS, Director of Operations and desks/cells on meetings and activities of the UN, regional organizations, key states, key non-state actors, and aid system actors;
  • Facilitate access to international organizations (including responding to MSF field or HQ requests) for the operations;
  • Support negotiated access through diplomatic channels and / or any other relevant networks developed;
  • Prepare meetings (developing strategic agenda) and briefings (ensuring relevant strategic internal analysis) for the operations with the relevant international humanitarian organizations and ensuring a follow up when required;
  • Ensure understanding of contemporary humanitarian policy issues of impact to MSF operations.
  1.  Support to Operations as Strategic Coordinator of the HD Network
    • Support the efforts of the OCs in the mobilization of the MSF movement’s capacities (including partner sections and regional offices) for specific advocacy matters, or diplomatic/representation purpose;
    • Ongoing development of the HD Network to ensure effective coordination, communication and dissemination of operational content;
    • Support the development of the MSF Moscow Office’s role as part of the HD Network by serving as Vice-Chair of the MSF Moscow Steering committee, working closely with MSF Germany counterparts.
  2. Internal Communication and Meetings in collaboration with the IORAC
    • Liaise with the IMS, the International Communication Coordinator and other International Office Coordinators on key issues;
    • Inform other International Office Coordinators on key operational issues that could affect transversal areas: medical, fundraising, HR, finance, logistics, supply;
    • Prepare regular exchanges between MSF’s reflection centres;
    • Collaborate pro-actively with the advocacy team of the Access Campaign;
    • Promote and initiate debates and discussion on topics of operational importance with reflection units and centers including the Access Campaign;
    • Participate in International Associative and Executive meetings upon request.
  3. Management Role:

The Deputy Head of the HDT will have a direct line management role over the Humanitarian Affairs Advisor in Geneva.

1)            Qualifications

  • Master’s degree (M.A.) or equivalent and five years’ work experience OR six to ten years related experience and/or training.

2)            Work Experience

  • Solid field-experience and knowledge of /experience in operations with MSF or equivalent required (e.g. ICRC); Country Management-level or higher preferred;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of international humanitarian affairs and genuine interest in and commitment to the humanitarian action and principles of MSF;
  • Knowledge of basic provisions of International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights and Refugee Law;
  • Knowledge of MSF organisational structure.

3)            Specific Skills

  • Ability to synthesize complex and sensitive material and analyze and report on it to colleagues;
  • Ability to write high-level correspondence and interact with senior diplomatic officials;
  • Demonstrated high-level networking and diplomatic skills;
  • Experience of managing and/or coordinating diverse teams;
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills;
  • Ability to set priorities and organise his/her own work;
  • Fluent written and spoken English and French; other languages an asset

Diverse candidates are encouraged to apply

Deadline for applications: 21 January 2018. Please submit all applications only by email to: stating “DEPUTY HEAD OF HDT ” in the title. Please submit only ONE FILE containing your CV and cover letter and name the file with your last name only.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

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