Visiting Expert

USIP, . Washington, United States

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
Above 10 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
29th August, 2020

Job Description

The Visiting Expert for the Sahel will be responsible for 1) providing expertise for the development of a USIP Sahel strategy that builds on the existing programming and research; 2) strengthening USIP’s thought leadership generally on the regional dynamics and US policy approaches in the Sahel; and 3) contributing expertise, strategic connections and support to existing programs, particularly related to regional dynamics and the role of regional organizations. The Visiting Expert’s core area of expertise and contribution will be the Sahel. At points, the Visiting Expert may be asked to provide expertise on neighboring regions as opportunities arise and her/his expertise allows.

The Visiting Expert will report to the Senior Program Officer and work closely with the Director for Africa Programs and colleagues across USIP. This is a full-time, one-year term position based in Washington, DC, with some international travel required as COVID-19 public health restrictions allow. It is anticipated that the Visiting Expert will telework until at least September 2020 in accordance with USIP’s policy in response to COVID-19.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, USIP employees are currently teleworking.

This position is a Personal Services Contractor position for one year.


Grade 14 - $121,000 - $125,000

The Institute uses the General Schedule salary tables for administering compensation. Offers of employment are determined based upon candidate qualifications, related experience, internal equity and amount budgeted for the position.


Thought Leadership, Analysis, and Strategy Development:

  • Serves as an expert on political, fragility, and conflict dynamics in the Sahel, with a particular emphasis on Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, and regional dynamics and organizations.
  • Provides briefings to governmental or other organizations on topics related to the Sahel.
  • Produce short written analysis for USIP’s website. Co-author several written pieces with field-based teams to highlight program expertise.
  • Responds to public queries and media requests.
  • Supports or leads efforts to represent the program in internal and external events and to disseminate information about USIP’s programs and research findings.
  • Collaborate with the Senior Program Officer, the Director for Africa Programs, and other Sahel program staff around USIP, in leading the development of a USIP Sahel strategy that builds on existing programs and USIP’s strengths. This will entail:
  • Working with the Senior Program Officer to design an efficient but thorough process for developing the strategy;
  • Consulting with leads on existing Sahel programs across USIP;
  • Arranging and participating in consultations with external experts, including in the region, and key USG stakeholders;
  • Developing a brief context analysis and actor mapping, building on, as applicable, existing USIP work; and
  • Based on the above and an understanding of USIP’s existing Sahel work, identifying key priority areas (thematic/geographic) of work for USIP in the Sahel.
  • Liaises closely with key stakeholders in the United States, the Sahel, and internationally.

Program Development, Program Management, and Coordination:

  • Identifies possible resources to support the expanding program.
  • Supports or leads the development of concept notes and/or proposals for potential inter-agency agreements to support the Sahel strategy.
  • Helps structure and execute a wide range of program activities and events related to the Sahel.
  • Serves as a resource to country-based programs on regional dynamics and trends.
  • Ensures the highest level of communication and cooperation with relevant USIP departments/divisions/teams and external partners. Participates in and/or convenes regular coordination meetings with relevant departments at USIP.
  • Participates in strategic planning sessions with regional and thematic teams.
  • Keeps up-to-date on new research and programs as they relate to USIP’s work.

Financial Management:

  • Pursues U.S. government funding for project initiatives.
  • Manages project budgets and ensures activities are implemented within program timelines and in a manner that meets program standards and objectives.
  • Oversees development and submission of project progress reports as required.


  • Domestic and/or international travel is required.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


  • Master’s, PhD or JD degree in political science, international affairs, law, or related field.
  • A minimum of ten (10) years of related work experience, including a minimum of eight (8) years of relevant experience working in/on the Sahel with a particular emphasis on Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger and regional dynamics/organizations, including the G5-Sahel, ECOWAS, and the African Union.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of cross-country dynamics and frames of analysis, including fragility and violent extremism.
  • Knowledge of and networks within relevant governments, regional organizations, the Sahel policymaking communities in the U.S. and the E.U. and with Sahel-based civil society.
  • Demonstrated research, analytic, and writing skills, and excellent communication skills. Ability to write effectively in a variety of formats and for a variety of audiences.
  • Demonstrated experience briefing and coordinating with officials in government, international organizations, and national partners.
  • Track record writing and publishing research and policy analysis.
  • Experience with U.S. government policymaking desired.
  • Expertise on Coastal West Africa desired.
  • Fluency in English and French is required. Proficiency in a local language is highly desired.
  • Must have strong project management skills and experience managing complex projects. Must have the ability to design and manage budgets.
  • Must have strong collaboration skills; must have the ability to coordinate the input and priorities of multiple players.
  • Must have excellent interpersonal skills. Must have proven ability to lead and motivate others, and to work as a team player;
  • Must have the ability to think strategically, and to effectively develop, communicate, and execute plans.
  • Must have excellent oral and written communication skills.


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