The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) is an international autonomous, non-profit, research organization supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). ICARDA mission is to reduce poverty, enhance food, water and nutritional security, as well as environmental health in the face of global challenges including climate change. We do this through innovative science, strategic partnerships, linking research to development and capacity development that take into account gender equality and the role of youth in transforming the dry areas. ICARDA works in partnership with governments, civil society, national agricultural research organization, other CGIAR research Centers, and the private sector. With its temporary Headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, ICARDA operates in regional and country offices across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Purpose of the position:
ICARDA is in the process of implementing an exciting program of organizational change, including a new institutional strategy that will more effectively address today’s development challenges in the dry areas, and a new business model to enhance the organization’s ability to deliver its mission. In this context, ICARDA is now looking for a dynamic and creative person to lead the communications efforts aimed at advancing its mission. The Head of Communications will provide strategic and operational leadership in the communications activities and branding of the organization to enhance ICARDA’s visibility and influence. He or she will develop engagement strategies and plans and, through targeted communication channels and high-profile actions, will position ICARDA as the “Go-to” organization for high-quality science in the non-tropical dry areas. The priority will be to develop compelling and engaging communications that will support organization’s resources mobilization efforts to deliver its mission.
The Head of Communications will have the following key responsibilities:
- Review ICARDA’s existing communication strategy and develop and implement annual action plans to target key audiences, including a highly-targeted media program, digital and social media channels, and niche communications programs for a range of stakeholders.
- Enhance visibility and understanding of ICARDA’s mission and impact internationally, with particular attention to funders, policy makers and strategic partners.
- Manage the process for development of ICARDA’s brand, image and position, and ensure constant and seamless brand and message management.
- Develop and maintain effective relationships with relevant media to maximize opportunities for effective coverage of ICARDA’s work.
- Produce timely, high-quality and high-impact communication materials, such as corporate reports, newsletters and other flagship publications and public awareness material, both in digital and print format.
- Review and, in consultation with scientists, establish effective systems, policies and processes for information and knowledge sharing and management, both within the organization and with relevant external stakeholders.
- Provide support and strategic advice to research programs and projects on the effective dissemination of research results.
- Build organizational capacity for effective communication through coaching and training of scientists and members of the Senior Management Team.
- Manage ICARDA’s presence and visibility at major external events.
- Develop a set of indicators to regularly monitor and report on the effectiveness and impact of communication efforts.
- Manage risk associated with external communications and lead on reputation management.
- Prepare and manage annual budgets for the Communications Unit.
- Lead and motivate a small team of staff.
- Effectively manage the outsourcing of communication activities as may be necessary.
Essential qualifications, skills and experience:
- Advanced degree in communication, marketing, journalism or related field.
- At least 10 years of progressively responsible experience in communication and/or marketing, including international experience at senior level, with a track record of creating successful strategic communications, marketing, and PR campaigns and materials.
- Good understanding of issues related to agricultural research and development and how they relate to climate change, food security and environmental degradation.
- Excellent written and verbal communications skills in English, with very strong copywriting skills.
- Considerable experience in managing new media and digital channels.
- International media handling experience.
- Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to interact with people at all levels, with different national, cultural and disciplinary backgrounds.
Desirable experience, skills and qualifications:
- Experience within a research or development context.
- Experience in fundraising and communications in international markets, including establishing new markets for fundraising.
- Ability to communicate in Arabic and/or French.
- Experience in working with Boards and high profile ‘ambassadors’.
- Knowledge of the regions in which ICARDA operates.
- Ability to effectively work under tight deadlines and with a high degree of autonomy.
- A personable and supportive team-oriented candidate.
- An upbeat and enthusiastic attitude.
- Strong organizational skills and keen attention to detail.
- Strong work ethics and integrity.
- Commitment to ICARDA’s mission.