Program Officer - Berlin

 StepStone ·  08.11.2018 ·  Berlin ·  OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS


Open Society Foundations is a global network of foundations committed to local knowledge and national expertise, and including national foundations, regional foundations, and other geographic programs operating in more than one hundred countries. OSIFE works at national, local and pan-European level to support European progress towards open society goals though grant making, convening, advocacy and research mainly, and supports OSF’s foundations and thematic programs to achieve their Europe-focused strategies.

Program Officer Open Society Initiative for Europe Competitive rates of pay apply Berlin

The Open Society Initiative for Europe is recruiting a Program Officer to manage the “Defending Public Space in the European Union" portfolio which provides support to organizations working on countering disinformation and propaganda in the European Union.

The Program Officer is the pivotal programmatic role at OSF. This role has responsibility for engaging with fields of interest to OSF, developing appropriate strategies and tools for fostering desired social change, while also developing and managing relationships with other entities including potential and current grantees. The Program Officer works collaboratively both within OSF and with external entities whose goals are aligned with OSF, makes decisions about specific grants where appropriate, and carries out other responsibilities directed towards promoting open societies around the world.


Responsible for all grant-making activities relating to “disinformation and propaganda in the European Union”. Operates with considerable autonomy and makes decisions related to authorizing/declining grants within an approved budget reflective of own field experience/expertise.

Builds collaborative relationships within and outside OSF (e.g., with existing grantees, prospective grantees, experts in the community, etc.) that advance social change efforts within areas of specialization;

Identify local and international groups that work on these issues (in digital and traditional spheres) in the EU and strengthen their capacity through project specific or organizational support.

Proactively map out any external events in the EU that may be targets for disinformation and work with partners on their coverage

Ensure that grant-making activities have a robust advocacy and communications element to deliver their findings to mainstream audiences and key policy stakeholders in Brussels and major EU national capitals

Partner with relevant units at OSF to compare notes, coordinate support for shared grantees and activities, and conduct external advocacy

Cooperate with other OSIFE portfolios to establish linkages between civic actors working on disinformation and groups that are affected by its spread to ensure mutual learning, support, outreach coordination, and actionable programming  





Working within the broader program strategy designs, makes and assesses grants and makes use of other appropriate tools for advancing goals.

May participate in the development of overall program strategy and conduct research to support program design.

Guides the work of program and/or administrative staff in support of grant-making or other program activities.



Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent experience/education;

7 -10 years of progressively responsible experience in a situation, generally in an organization other than a foundation, relevant to the duties of this role

Knowledge of digital politics and online platforms.

Understanding of the broader field of disinformation and propaganda in the European context.

Experience with grant-making and advocacy.

Familiarity with key actors working to combat propaganda on- and offline.

Record of cooperation with relevant external stakeholders on these issues.

The Program Officer can articulate a deep understanding of and vision for change based on experience and/or knowledge and is able to use that understanding to develop and implement a strategy for achieving the vision.

The Program Officer demonstrates an understanding of the implications of the power differential inherent in the funder-grantee relationship and has demonstrated the ability and the willingness to handle such relationships properly and respectfully.

He/she has a comprehensive understanding of the structure and workings of both formal and informal organizations (NGO/non-profit organizations), networks, and movements within varied contexts and as appropriate to the program.

Requires project management skills, including the ability to direct others to effectively gather evidence and research to inform decisions or judgments.

The Program Officer will be able to build collaborative relationships – in OSF, peer foundations, and with grant seekers and grantees, and others in the field – to further programmatic goals.

The role requires comprehensive, specialized knowledge in the designated field, including familiarity with current controversies/issues and leading figures/thinking.

He/she must have the ability to exercise effective and inclusive leadership in cross-cultural settings.

Proficient written and spoken communication skills in English are important.




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