The Commonwealth Secretariat seeks to appoint an Adviser and Head of Asia Section in our Governance and Peace (GPD) Directorate. The Governance and Peace Directorate (GPD) is the lead directorate in the Secretariat’s high-profile programme for the promotion of democracy and good governance in the Commonwealth. Its work ranges from monitoring and analysis of political developments and the preparation of briefings, to the organisation of election observation and the provision of technical assistance. The division works closely with the Secretary-General, providing advice and support on all political issues, and particularly in her Good Offices role. The work is often of great sensitivity and to demanding time-frames.

The Asia Section is responsible for oversight of the Commonwealth’s political relations with the member countries of Asia, as well as regional and sub-regional organisations, such as the Association of South East Asian Nations.

The Asia Section leads a team in the Section on nurturing the Commonwealth’s relations with Asia. S/he provides expert political advice and support to senior management on Asian issues, represents and negotiates at senior levels on behalf of GPD and the Secretariat, leads/participates in Commonwealth election observations missions when needed, organises, manages and services high-level Commonwealth meetings. The Head leads the team by setting strategic direction, promoting teamwork and collaboration to implement work objectives, and monitoring and evaluating results and impact. The job requires overseas travel, often at short notice and at times in challenging circumstances.

Responsibilities of the Adviser and Head of Asia Section includes (but is not limited to):

  • Participating as a core member of GPD’s senior leadership team, which is responsible for fostering the Commonwealth’s political relationship with its member states and other international organisations, and for promoting the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values;
  • Monitoring and analysing political developments relating to Commonwealth member countries in Asia, in order to identify, prioritise and advise on issues to provide a basis for the Secretariat’s strategic decision-making, policies and programmatic direction;
  • Preparing policy papers and briefing materials, including briefings and speeches for the Secretary-General and other senior officers, on relevant member countries and regional and international issues, both for bilateral consultations as well as in the context of regional and international meetings, and co-ordinates and integrates the contributions from other divisions into these documents;
  • Working with the Senior Director in providing expert policy advice and briefing on countries of assigned responsibility for election observer missions, also leading or participating in such missions when required, and providing substantive input into the post-mission report;
  • Working closely with the Head of Good Offices Section to support the Secretary-General’s Good Offices role in countries of responsibility, including by offering his/her own mediation and good offices as the Secretary-General’s emissary when required, which involves negotiation at high political levels;
  • Assists in the organisation and servicing of high-level meetings such as CHOGM and coordinating follow-up action on decisions taken in these meetings;
  • Performing any other duties as may be required from time to time, including supervising the work of the Division in the Director’s absence when required to do so.

To be considered, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Attained a post graduate degree or other advanced qualification in a relevant subject such as law, political science or international relations;
  • A doctoral degree in a relevant area is an added advantage;
  • At least ten years’ experience in providing policy and strategy advice to high level senior political actors on national, international or regional organisation, especially on the Asian regional issues;
  • Experience of working/consulting in political or diplomatic environments is an added advantage;
  • Experience in research, publishing, and speech writing on issues related to the Asian region;
  • Leadership in managing a multi-cultural team of professionals;
  • Significant policy formulation experience in an international context and international media interview appearances will be an added advantage.

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