Director, Political Affairs, D2

United Nations - Department of Political Affairs

New York, United States

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) in the Middle East and West Asia Division (MEWAD) in New York. New York is classified as a "H" family duty station. The Chief of the MEWAD Division reports directly to the Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Political Affairs, and through him/her, to the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs. The Division covers the Middle East (not including North Africa) and Central Asia.


Within delegated authority, the Director will be responsible for the following:

  • Provides senior assistance, analysis, advice and recommendations for possible action to the Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) and the Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Political Affairs in the fields of preventive diplomacy and peacemaking, with particular reference to political and security developments in the Middle East and West Asia and relevant regional organizations;
  • Provides experienced counsel and support to Special Representatives, Coordinators or Envoys of the Secretary-General. Maintain regular contacts with field missions (including Special Political Missions) and engage in regular monitoring and support to those missions;
  • Contributes to the formulation of the Department of Political Affairs’ overall strategies and policies by participating in various committees, preparing documents on policy issues, and acting, as required, in an advisory capacity to the USG/ASG;
  • Exercises overall management of the timely provision of political analyses, briefing notes, background papers and talking points to the Secretary-General and the Under-Secretary General and of reports for presentation to intergovernmental bodies and other policy-making organs of the United Nations, as appropriate;
  • Organizes and leads or participates in missions to areas of actual or potential conflict within the Middle East and West Asia region;
  • Coordinates and maintains regular contacts with Member States, other relevant Departments and Offices of the UN Secretariat, and UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes on issues under the purview of the Division. Leads relevant inter-agency task forces and working groups;
  • Reports to intergovernmental bodies on budget/programme performance or on programmatic/substantive issues, as appropriate, particularly those presented in biannual and/or annual reports;
  • Directs and manages the work of the Division; formulates and implements the substantive work programme of the priorities of the Division; oversees the management of activities undertaken by the Division, ensuring that programmed activities are carried out in a timely fashion; co-ordinates work in the different areas both within the Division and Department, and with other organizations of the United Nations System, donors and agencies, as appropriate;
  • Ensures that the outputs produced by the Office/Division maintain high-quality standards; that reports are clear, objective and based on comprehensive data. Ensures that all outputs produced by the division under his/her supervision meet required standards before completion to ensure they comply with the relevant mandates;
  • Manages the resources allocated to the Division in a responsible and accountable manner, undertaking or overseeing the programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Division, including preparation of budgets, assigning and monitoring of performance parameters and critical indicators, reporting on budget/programme performance, preparation of inputs for results-based budgeting, evaluation of staff performance, recruitment and managed mobility activities;
  • Manages, guides, develops and trains staff under his/her supervision; fosters teamwork and communication among staff in the Division and across organizational boundaries;
  • Chairs meetings, seminars, etc., on substantive-related issues; represents the Organization at international, regional, inter-agency meetings, seminars and conference; provides programmatic/substantive expertise on developments in the Middle East and West Asia region and holds programmatic/substantive and organizational discussions with representatives of other institutions;
  • Performs other related duties as requested by the senior management of the Organization.


  • Professionalism: Knowledge of the Middle East and West Asia region and its political dynamics. Shows ability to produce reports and papers on political developments in Middle East and West Asia and to review and edit the work of others. Shows ability to apply UN rules, regulations, policies and guidelines in work situations. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work;
  • Integrity: Demonstrates the values of the United Nations in daily activities and behaviours; acts without consideration of personal gain; resists undue political pressure in decision-making; does not abuse power or authority; stands by decisions that are in the Organization’s interest, even if they are unpopular; takes prompt action in cases of unprofessional or unethical behaviour;
  • Respect for Diversity: Works effectively with people from all backgrounds; treats all people with dignity and respect; treats men and women equally; shows respect for and understanding of diverse points of view and demonstrates this understanding in daily work and decision-making; examines own biases and behaviours to avoid stereotypical responses; does not discriminate against any individual or group;
  • Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed;
  • Planning and Organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.

Managerial Competencies

  • Leadership: Serves as a role model that other people want to follow: empowers others to translate vision into results; is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; drives for change and improvements; does not accept the status quo; shows the courage to take unpopular stands. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing;
  • Vision: Identifies strategic issues, opportunities and risks; clearly communicates links between the Organization’s strategy and the work unit’s goals; generates and communicates broad and compelling organizational direction, inspiring others to pursue that same direction; conveys enthusiasm about future possibilities.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in international relations, international law, comparative politics or related area. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

Over fifteen years of progressively responsible experience in dealing with international political issues, preferably in an international organization, is required. Experience working on political issues covering one or more of the following regions is required: Central Asia, the Middle East, West Asia region (including Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran or Pakistan). Experience in preventive diplomacy and peacemaking is required. Management experience at a senior level is required. Experience working in a conflict or post-conflict setting is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of Arabic and/or Russian is desirable.

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