Executive Specialist




Position description

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, EDUCATION



How can you make a difference?

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does — in programs, in advocacy and in operations. The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children’s rights into action. For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favoritism. To the degree that any child has an unequal chance in life — in its social, political, economic, civic and cultural dimensions — her or his rights are violated. There is growing evidence that investing in the health, education and protection of a society’s most disadvantaged citizens — addressing inequity — not only will give all children the opportunity to fulfill their potential but also will lead to sustained growth and stability of countries. Therefore, the focus on equity is so vital. It accelerates progress towards realizing the human rights of all children, which is the universal mandate of UNICEF, as outlined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, while also supporting the equitable development of nations.
Job organizational context
Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. We support quality education outcomes for refugee, internally displaced and other crisis-affected girls and boys, so no one is left behind. ECW works through the multilateral system to both increase the speed of responses in crises and connect immediate relief and longer-term interventions through multi-year programming. ECW works in close partnership with governments, public and private donors, UN agencies, civil society organizations, and other humanitarian and development aid actors to increase efficiencies and end siloed responses. ECW urgently appeals to public and private sector donors for expanded support to reach even more vulnerable children and youth. ECW is a UNICEF hosted fund, administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations; operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure.
Purpose for the job
“Under the direct supervision of the ECW Director, the incumbent is responsible for providing executive support to the Director, including in implementing and following up on key strategic priorities of ECW, coordinating, managing, and planning activities in a systematic and organized manner, and lastly, managing an effective system for incoming and outgoing information.”. The ECW Director is a global advocate for education in emergencies and protracted crisis who drives the international agenda through high-level meetings, conferences, panel discussions, interviews as well as frequent travel. The incumbent assists in ensuring that Director’s commitments are effectively administrated in close coordination with other staff in the Executive Office, section chiefs and colleagues as needed.

Key functions, accountabilities and related duties/tasks

Summary of key functions/accountabilities: 
1. Support the ECW Director in managing schedule, meetings, events, and travel arrangements 

  • Provide quality support to the ECW Director to enhance her role.
  • Provide political and strategic guidance on the background for meetings and events and related protocol.
  • Analyze inputs from various parts of the division, synthesize and prioritize information for the Director.
  • Collect background information and talking points from section chiefs or thematic leads and ensures that the ECW Director is fully briefed prior to meetings, events or missions.
  • Assist in planning and managing the Director’s missions, accompanying the supervisor when required, ensuring the maximum effectiveness of the mission and ensuring that all necessary follow-up action is taken.
  • Analytically review information received by the Director and identify priority matters that need to be urgently addressed, providing strategic advice and following up with teams on action as appropriate.
  • Draft letters, invitations or emails from the ECW Director as well as responses if needed.
  • Actively follows-up with the staff of other dignitaries to confirm agreements and arrangements.
  • Contribute to smooth functioning of the ECW Executive Office.
  • In collaboration with the senior Administrative Associate, ensure that the ECW Director’s schedule and calendar is up to date.

2. Support to the High-Level Steering Group (HLSG) and Executive Committee (ExCom) 

  • Coordinate and plan with ECW’s governance structure, including the High-Level Steering Group (HLSG) and Executive Committee (ExCom)
  • Manage communications with governance bodies by responding to general queries and requests for information and directing to appropriate members of the ECW Secretariat.
  • Assist in managing ECW’s email inbox to ensure timely and efficient engagement with external partners, donors, civil society and ExCom/HLSG members and to ensure a smooth flow of information.
  • Draft and provide strategic input to the agenda of HLSG and ExCom meetings, ensuring that supporting material is collected and distributed and that established agreements and processes are adhered to.
  • Prepare High-Level Steering Group (HLSG) and Executive Committee (ExCom) minutes and share them with the High-Level Steering Group (HLSG) and Executive Committee (ExCom) within 48 hours for review/comments.

3. Serve as Secretariat of ECW Senior Management Team (SMT) 

  • Coordinate SMT meetings according to agreed agenda and provide relevant information to participants well in advance.
  • Prepare ECW Senior Management Team (SMT) minutes and share them with the ECW Senior Management Team (SMT) within 48 hours for review/comments.
  • Monitor and track all follow up actions from SMT meetings, and Monday Afternoon Meetings (MAMs) and other senior management team meetings – as needed.

4. Any other assigned responsibilities 
ECW is a small secretariat, and the staff member is expected to take leadership on and carry out other tasks as directed by the ECW Director.



To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in one or more of the following disciplines: international development, international relations, social sciences, business or public administration, government, public policy, or other related fields.
  • A minimum of five years of relevant professional experience in an executive office, preferably in a United Nations or development organization.
  • Strong interpersonal skills in being able to develop and maintain effective working relations with a diverse range of stakeholders.
  • Ability to work in a lean structure, which requires flexibility and proactivity.
  • Ability to respond to tight deadlines with a good attention to detail.
  • Very strong written and oral communication skills – the ability to summarize complex information in ways that engage and motivate colleagues, and the ability to create high-quality Word, Excel and PowerPoint document to communicate key information.
  • Ability to manage upwards, coordinating inputs and engagement from more senior colleagues as needed.
  • Excellent organizational skills: ability to proactively manage different time-sensitive processes and tasks at the same time.
  • Strong competence with the following Microsoft Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint.
  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency is considered an asset.
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French or another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish) is a strong asset.



For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values



UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

(1) Builds and maintains partnerships (2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (3) Drive to achieve results for impact (4) Innovates and embraces change (5) Manages ambiguity and complexity (6) Thinks and acts strategically (7) Works collaboratively with others.

During the recruitment process, we test candidates following the competency framework. Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels: competency framework here.



UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.
We offer a wide range of benefits to our staff, including paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.
UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF is committed to promote the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.

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