The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance — International IDEA is an intergovernmental organization that supports sustainable democracy worldwide. Its objective is to strengthen democratic institutions and processes. International IDEA acts as a catalyst for democracy building by providing knowledge resources, policy proposals and supporting democratic reforms in response to specific national requests. It works together with policy makers, governments, UN organizations and agencies and regional organizations engaged in the field of democracy building.

International IDEA’s notable areas of expertise are: electoral processes, political parties, constitution-building processes, democracy and gender and democracy assessments. International IDEA works worldwide. It is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has offices in Brussels, New York, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Main role :
As the most senior officer of International IDEA, the Secretary-General is ultimately responsible for the overall management of the Institute with the following key responsibilities as stipulated by International IDEA’s Statutes
  1. To head the Secretariat of International IDEA and provide strategic leadership to the Institute under the direction of the Council.
  2. To provide leadership for the development of International IDEA’s activities so as to expand its impact through:
    • Development of its mission to support sustainable democratic change through providing knowledge, assisting in reform, and influencing policy and politics;
    • Building on its intergovernmental status and working with its Member States, representing the organization and seeking to leverage the organization’s potential in support of democracy worldwide;
    • Continuing the ongoing reform process of the Institute and the implementation of results-based management;
    • Developing internal competencies of International IDEA and its staff members.
Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Lead and represent International IDEA in accordance with the directives from the Council. The position will report to the Council, and upon delegation by the Council, to the Chair of the Council and/or the Steering Committee;
  • Provide strategic inputs and consults with the Council on strategic issues, in particular, on matters that might alter the thematic focus of the Institute’s activities;
  • Develop a vision and strategy for International IDEA;
  • Provide overall guidance and support to ensure that operational plans fit with the strategic vision and with the resources available;
  • Build on International IDEA’s intergovernmental status and work with its member states, representing the organization and seeking to leverage the organization’s potential in support of democracy worldwide;
  • Oversee Global Programmes as well as Regional Programmes management and ensure the development of annual institutional programme planning and monitoring;
  • Oversee External Relations planning, strategy and implementation with particular focus on member state and strategic partner relations and funding issues, and support the external relations strategy through regular visits to strategic contributors or potential contributors; 
  • Oversee Corporate Services management including Financial, Human Resources, Office Administration and procurement;
  • Oversee the activities of the Strategic Planning and RBM System Administration Processes;
  • Leads the Management Review Committee as a mechanism for accountability, Results-Based Management system analysis and effective decision-making;
  • Ensure the enhancement of the Institute’s profile in knowledge management and the provision of up-to-date communication streams;
  • Ensure that the Institute provides high level support and information required by the Council to carry out its functions as outlined in the Statutes;
  • Chair meetings of the Management Committee and ensure co-ordination of activities and strategy;
  • Ensure the dissemination of information to staff through the Management Committee and provide regular and timely operational guidance throughout the organization;
  • Develop advocacy and representation activities in coordination with the Director of External Relations and Governance Support in order to:
    • Strategically promote, develop and manage International IDEA’s activities worldwide;
    • Strengthen International IDEA’s visibility and impact; 
    • Develop partnerships with (Inter)national organizations to obtain cooperation and complementary funds, as required, to achieve realization of the Organization’s objectives;
    • Approach governments of potential new Member States;
    • Maintain and develop professional contacts and networks of cooperation on issues and activities pertaining to political reform and democracy assistance worldwide;
    • Represent IDEA with Member States and externally in the region, within the framework established by International IDEA’s Statutes, and policies;
    • Act as a competent and persuasive voice for International IDEA’s public profile worldwide.
  • Oversee the functions of the Secretary-General´s  Office under the administration of the Head of Strategic Planning and RBM;
  • Actively integrate the inclusion of a gender and diversity perspective in all activities;
  • Supervise the following positions directly under his/her responsibility:
    • Director, Global Programmes;
    • Director, External Relations and Governance Support;
    • Director, Corporate Services;
    • Director, Asia and the Pacific Region;
    • Director, Latin America  and the Caribbean Region;
    • Director, Africa Region;
    • Director, West Asia and North Africa (WANA) Region;
    • Head, Strategic Planning and RBM;
    • Head, Communications and Knowledge Management;
    • Special Advisor;
    • Executive Assistant.
Main clients/stakeholders
    • Heads of States
    • Ministers
    • Senior international and national civil servants
    • Ambassadors
    • Chief Executives
    • Council representatives
    • Members of the Board of Advisers
    • High representatives of the Swedish Government and civil service
Decision Making
The incumbents’ decisions relate to the financial and programme commitments of the Organization as approved by the Council, including staffing, work programmes and directions, staff rules and procedures, as well as other decisions as delegated by the Council. The incumbent further consults with the Board on, and recommends to the Council, strategies, budgets, work programmes and priorities, statutory amendments, etc.
Qualifications and skills
Basic qualification requirements:  
  • A proven record of excellent leadership and management skills in a demanding, complex and culturally diversified environment;
  • Extensive experience in managerial positions in an international or intergovernmental organization or a governmental organization that deals with international affairs or equivalent;
  • Experience and understanding of the specific challenges of democratisation as a dimension of international development and cooperation;
  • Practical and theoretical knowledge of issues related to the unique mandate of International IDEA as an intergovernmental body. A command and understanding of the different themes which come together in International IDEA’s mandate and its work programme are essential;
  • Fluency in English (knowledge of any other languages is an advantage).
Level and type of formal education (minimum academic requirements required):
  • Masters Degree or equivalent postgraduate qualification in social science, political science, international law, international relations, international development, peace and development studies or a related subject.
Professional experience :
  • Proven record of extensive leadership experience within international affairs from intergovernmental, governmental or other international/multicultural organisations;
  • Considerable experience in the field  of democracy, broadly covering the four thematic components of International IDEA’s programme – i.e. (1) Electoral Processes, (2) Political Parties, Participation and Representation, (3) Democracy and Development, and (4) Constitution Building Processes;
  • Knowledge of development co-operation. Solid understanding of donor policies, programming procedures and policy formulation;
  • Extensive exposure to working with political leaders and senior civil servants, and an extensive network of contacts both from International IDEA’s member states and elsewhere.
Specific Technical Skills: 
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills, written and spoken, including public speaking;
  • Ability to operate effectively in a multi-cultural environment and be gender-sensitive;
  • Excellent advocacy and negotiation skills; highly persuasive;
  • Ability to maintain an extensive network of contacts at the level of international, regional, and national institutions including heads of state, high level officials and senior policy makers;
  • Creativity and capacity to develop innovative analytical perspectives and approaches;
  • Ability to build and motivate partnerships and networks towards the effective agreement and achievement of objectives;
  • Knowledge of Results-Based Management as well as monitoring and evaluation;
  • Excellent negotiation, conflict resolution, diplomacy and leadership skills;
  • Excellent analytical, drafting, editing and problem solving skills;
  • Proven ability to conceptualize, innovate, plan and execute ideas and to transfer knowledge and skills;
  • Good sense of initiative, ability to set priorities and work under pressure with accuracy and dedication;
  • Familiarity with general theories and practice of democracy and strong analytical knowledge of dynamics. Specialized knowledge very desirable in at least one of the following: political institutions, electoral processes, conflict management, political participation and gender issues.
Language Skills: 
  • English: Fluency in oral and written English, as well as public speech-making.
  • Other: Any other widely spoken language in an International IDEA priority region would also be an asset.
Computer skills: 
  • Good computer skills and knowledge of relevant computer software packages including internet use.
Terms of Contract: 
Five (5) Year Fixed Term Appointment. Competitive salary plus benefits.

How to Apply:

Please email your CV and Cover Letter to

Deadline for Applications:
Applications should be submitted no later than 20 December 2013.

International IDEA is an equal opportunity employer which seeks to further diversify its staff in terms of gender, culture and nationality.



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