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Program Coordinator – Education Support Program (ESP)

Open Society Foundations
Location: London
Last Date: February 8, 2011
Email:  (Reference:


Program Coordinator – Education Support Program (ESP)

(Full-time, based in London) 

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve this mission, the Foundations seek to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, the Open Society Foundations implement a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, we build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. The Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.  

Investor and philanthropist George Soros established the Open Society Foundations, starting in 1984, to help countries make the transition from communism.  Our activities have grown to encompass the United States and more than 70 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.  Each Foundation relies on the expertise of boards composed of eminent citizens who determine individual agendas based on local priorities.    

The Education Support Program (ESP) is a global Program that operates in Asia, Africa, North America, South America, and Europe. ESP works collaboratively and co-funds Programs with twenty national and regional foundations. Additionally, ESP cooperates with a network of over 200 organizations in the Open Society Foundations’ education universe, utilizing a plethora of competencies to further its’ mission in education; policy research and knowledge production, advocacy, demonstration piloting, network-building, capacity building and resource mobilization. Additionally, ESP staff are spread across a range of locations; London, Budapest, New York, Cluj, Monrovia, Bishkek and Sarajevo.

The priorities of the Education Support Program (ESP) are shaped by a mission to further education justice. This provides a largely ‘political’ lens through which to address issues of inequality and discrimination within the education sector while attending to inherent systemic, professional and resource challenges.  Over the past three years the program has developed and is strengthened by a high level of convergence with national foundations around key objectives, a reputation as a critical voice within the sector internationally and strong partnerships on the ground that lead to concrete outcomes. 

ESP wishes to recruit a Program Coordinator (PC) based in London to support and coordinate the growing portfolio of work being managed out of the London office. The post will also help to coordinate between the New York and Budapest offices, ensuring ESP’s coherence amongst and between Open Society Foundations’ entities including the national and regional foundations. Working closely with London-based colleagues, the PC will provide particular support to ESP Privatisation in Education Research Initiative (PERI) and coordinate its work in conflict and crisis-affected countries, as well as working closely with the Program Director and Deputy Director (both based in London) to manage staff workload through the PoINT system.  



  • Grants management including preparation of pre-grant documentation and grant contracts, maintaining filing system, entering data onto the Open Society Foundations’ grant management database and requesting and reviewing payments, narrative and financial reports.
  • Assist in coordinating ESPs Grants, including releasing calls for proposals, answering questions and providing guidance to potential applicants, communicating with experts reviewing proposals, ensure proposal eligibility, and coordinate the awards process.
  • Develop and draft individual and institutional consultancy contracts, ensuring legal and organizational requirements.
  • Coordinate regular updates to the Education Support Program page on the Open Society Foundations’ web site in cooperation with the Communications Department.
  • Provide support to ESP colleagues on the use of PoINT; ESP’s work planning and management tool.
  • Working with the ESP colleagues in Budapest, collect, organize and summarize program statistics and budget information, survey information and reports from the grantees and ESP PoINT tool.
  • Take and write up notes at meetings including General Education Sub Board meetings.
  • Serve as an informational resource for grantees, partners and others interested in ESP programs, responding to their requests for information.
  • Assist in development of ESP program updates for distribution to the Advisory Board and within the Open Society Foundations.
  • Provide support to ESP’s Privatisation in Education Research Initiative (PERI), which is managed from the London office, including coordination of media activities, research work and conference organizing, as well as website maintenance.
  • Provide coordination support to ESP work in conflict and crisis affected states, including the monitoring and documentation of OSI lessons in such contexts, organizing training and developing network-wide resources.
  • Assist staff in coordinating specific initiatives as assigned.


  • Serve as liaison with administrative, legal, finance and grants departments within the Open Society Foundations’ network.
  • Manage consultant travel arrangements, coordinate and arrange payments and reimbursements.
  • Coordinate payments/invoices and general departmental bills.
  • Working with the General Education Sub Board Secretary, organize Advisory Sub-Board meetings, special events and international meetings including coordinating itineraries, arranging accommodation, travel and other logistics.
  • Schedule appointments, conference calls, local meetings and organize Education Support Program staff travel including visa request letters.
  • Draft/edit correspondence letters, memos and reports.
  • Maintain and update electronic and hard copy of departmental files and calendar of events.
  • Manage department mail and couriers, general copying and faxing.
  • Provide administrative assistance to the Program Director.
  • Other projects as assigned.

Experience and Skills:  

  • Postgraduate degree in a relevant area such as education, refugee studies, international relations, international development, political science.
  • Demonstrable experience in a programmatic capacity in the charity sector, ideally focused on advancing education in developing countries.
  • Experience of website management and new media.
  • Prior office experience with focus in one or more of the following: communications, event organization, grant management, contract management.
  • Commitment to programs addressing the needs of children.
  • Ability to listen and communicate clearly and effectively with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Ability to work both independently and cooperatively, as a team member, on multiple issues and projects.
  • Facilitate communication and collaboration with a broad range of internal and external stakeholders.
  • High level of computer literacy, especially Excel, Microsoft Word, Outlook and database packages.
  • Strong verbal and writing English language skills.
  • Good problem-solving skills and ability to work on own initiative.
  • Able to work well under pressure and juggle conflicting responsibilities
  • Knowledge of relevant foreign language(s) is a plus, particularly Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish and Urdu.

 To apply:

Please send a short cover letter (with ref: ESP-COORD in the subject line), your CV and a writing sample to: by Tuesday 8th February 2011 

Start Date:  ASAP 

Salary Range: £30k-£35k per annum commensurate with skills and experience. Excellent Benefits package. 

Please note:

Due to the large volume of applicants expected – only those candidates selected for interview will receive notification.  

No phone calls, please. The Open Society Foundations is an Equal Opportunity Employer. 


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