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Director for Central America

Washington, Ohio, US
Closing date
Sep 18, 2021

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Climate Change
Salary Type
Employment Type
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The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) seeks a motivated and knowledgeable individual to manage and lead our program on Central America. Currently this program focuses on rule of law, rising authoritarianism, anti-corruption efforts, human rights, violence prevention, and police and judicial reform in Central America. There are emerging issues that this role could address in the future, including climate change, forced displacement, and other topics depending on the candidate's experience and funding. The Director will lead the direction, research, and advocacy of the program while engaging the U.S. policy-making community, providing timely written analysis, developing media and public outreach strategies, supporting fundraising with the development team, and working in collaboration with counterpart organizations in the U.S. and Central America. The candidate should have an understanding of U.S. foreign policy-making toward Latin America, as well as knowledge of U.S.-Central American relations. They will contribute to staff-wide discussions and initiatives on the major human rights and social justice challenges in the region, and on WOLAs strategies and priorities in responding to them. The director will serve as the lead of the Central America Monitor, while supporting the Assistant Director. They should have initiative, excellent problem solving skills, and the ability to communicate effectively in both English and Spanish.

WOLA is an organization that values upholding human dignity and making space for unheard voices. We are passionate about our work and strive to make our organization a healthy and safe space for all to work at and feel supported. We support our staff with a culture of innovation, collaboration, understanding, and integrity. WOLA was recognized by Washingtonian Magazine twice as one of DCs Best Places to Work and by The Washington Post as one of DCs best-managed nonprofits. WOLAs office has a staff of twenty-eight, three interns, and six Senior Fellows. Our office is currently remote due to COVID-19 concerns. The selected candidate will be expected to be physically present in WOLAs DC office as of Fall 2021.

Reports to: Vice President for Programs

Supervises: Program Assistant and an Assistant Director for Central America

  • Monitor trends and developments on root causes of migration, insecurity, corruption, human rights, rule of law, authoritarianism, S. policy toward Central America, and shaping WOLA responses and program adaptations.
  • Develop and carry out education and advocacy efforts on policy with key policymakers in the U.S. Congress and the administration, as well as with Central American government officials and bilateral and multilateral donors engaged in the region, providing educational and advocacy materials and developing public outreach strategies.
  • Lead research projects and prepare briefs, memos, and articles for WOLA publications and other written materials as appropriate.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with human rights organizations and civil society colleagues in the region and in the U.S.
  • Travel to Central America to meet with partners, government officials, and other stakeholders in the area.
  • Participate in fundraising activities including but not limited to: speaking to prospective or current donors, attending donor events, and contributing to proposal and report writing.
  • Represent WOLA in public forums and coordinate and execute events, conferences, delegations, seminars, online events, and other meetings as appropriate nationally and internationally.
  • Participate in and contribute to staff-wide discussions about the challenges in the region, and appropriate WOLA responses. Playing a role in institutional advocacy efforts, as needed.
  • Develop and implement effective advocacy strategies to meet programmatic goals.
  • With the Communications team, develop press materials, editorial mailings, social media content, and participate in interviews with media outlets.
  • Participate in WOLAs annual planning process, and carry out other institutional responsibilities as determined by the Vice President for Programs and the President.
  • Oversee and manage two staff members and the Central American Monitor.
  • Other tasks as assigned and needed.

Deadline: September 20, accepting rolling applications.

Start Date: December 2021 or January 2022

To apply:

Please submit, in English, the following items in one PDF document to the email address
  • A cover letter that states if you now, or will in the future, require sponsorship for employment visa status to work for WOLA in the United States.
  • A resume
  • A 2-page Spanish writing sample
  • A list of two references with daytime telephone numbers and email addresses

-No phone calls please-

WOLA values a diverse workplace and encourages minority candidates to apply. WOLA is an equal opportunity employer, and does not discriminate based upon race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, prior record of arrest or conviction, caregiver status, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, or any other status protected by applicable law.
  • At least 8 years of experience working with human rights, democracy, and social justice issues involving Central America.
  • Full written and spoken fluency in English and Spanish.
  • Familiarity with U.S. policy toward Latin America, as well as an ability to analyze policy and legislation through a human rights lens.
  • Understanding of the U.S. congressional and administration policy making process.
  • Strong analytical, writing, and public speaking skills required, both in English and Spanish.
  • Supervisor and management experience.
  • Flexibility; ability to work in a fast-paced, dynamic office environment with frequent international visitors.
  • Additional job requirements: some overseas travel required when public health conditions permit; some long hours and weekend work occasionally required.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • An advanced degree in an applicable subject
  • A background in advocacy and/or nonprofits
  • Past experience living in Central America

Additional Salary Information: $90,000-$100,000 yearly. While flexible, the position will require meetings with colleagues and policy makers, during traditional work hours. Benefits include full health, dental, vision, and life insurance 100% paid by employer; four weeks annual vacation, 5% retirement match at one year of employment, four weeks of sick leave, and twelve weeks of parental leave. The office is closed between Christmas and New Years.

About Washington Office on Latin America

WOLA is a leading research and advocacy organization advancing human rights in the Americas. We envision a future where public policies protect human rights and recognize human dignity, and where justice overcomes violence. WOLA tackles problems that transcend borders and demand cross-border solutions. We create strategic partnerships with courageous people making social changeadvocacy organizations, academics, religious and business leaders, artists, and government officials. Together, we advocate for more just societies in the Americas.
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