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Director, Division of Priority Africa Coordination


Post Number : PAX 005

Grade : D-1

Parent Sector : Priority Africa and External Relations Sector (PAX)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: External Relations

Type of contract : Fixed Term

Duration of contract : 2 years with possibility of renewal

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 31-MAY-2022


UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism




The Africa Department – Division of Priority Africa Coordination has the following mandate:

  • To coordinate UNESCO’s cooperation with African Member States, with African IGOs and NGOs, and with bilateral partners and multilateral institutions;
  • To ensure cooperation with the programme sectors and the field offices in order to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the Operational Strategy for Priority Africa;
  • To contribute to the functioning of UNESCO's laboratory of ideas through contextual analysis and strategic foresight; and
  • To conduct communication activities to raise the profile of UNESCO's activities in Africa.

It carries out its functions through: (i) the Unit for Relations with African Member States and Partnerships; (ii) the Social Mobilization and Communication Unit; (iii) the Contextual Analysis and Foresight Unit, and the UNESCO Liaison Office in Addis Ababa (Liaison Office to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa).
The work of the UNESCO Liaison Office in Addis Ababa is guided by the decisions of UNESCO’s governing bodies and is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda and the goals of Agenda 2063 of the African Union. It is also guided by the Operational Strategy for Priority Africa (2022–2029), adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO at its 41st session.


Under the authority of the Director-General (DG) and the direct supervision of the Assistant Director-General for Priority Africa and External Relations (ADG/PAX), the incumbent will be responsible for coordinating cooperation activities with Member States and with African continental and regional organizations (e.g., African Union, Economic Commission for Africa, regional economic communities), and for reinforcing public/private partnerships in support of the Operational Strategy for Priority Africa.


He/she will be responsible for the following:

Long Description

  • Providing strategic and intellectual direction, leadership and supervision to Division staff. Formulating and implementing the Division's programme by determining priorities and deciding on resource allocation with a view to the optimal achievement of objectives and ensuring timely deliverables. Ensuring that roles, responsibilities and lines of accountability are clear for each staff member. Managing, guiding, developing and training the staff under his/her supervision. Fostering teamwork and communication within and outside the Division, across organizational structures.


  • Providing ADG/PAX and the DG with authoritative and sound policy advice and decision-making support, as well as solutions and options for action with regard to all aspects of the sector's work related to Priority Africa. Ensuring risk management through the early identification, analysis and assessment of risks and the development of strategies, and advising those in charge on risk management in terms of the prevention, reduction and elimination of unacceptable risks.


  • Guiding and supervising the timely and effective preparation of the documents required for the Organization's governing bodies, ensuring that said documents are technically and intellectually sound, clear and objective and meet high standards of quality, include comprehensive data, and are consistent with the Organization's strategy. Ensuring the timely provision, to ADG/PAX and the DG, of policy analysis, briefing notes, position papers, and discussion and concept notes, as well as documents on policy issues. Obtaining the agreement of decision-makers to achieve the necessary impact.

Long Description

  • Building strong networks and developing consensus for concerted action with the UNESCO Liaison Office in Addis Ababa and other liaison offices, field offices and category 1 and 2 institutes, the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, regional economic communities, Member States and their permanent delegations and representatives in the governing bodies, and National Commissions for UNESCO. Maintaining close contact with their representatives with regard to matters relating to Priority Africa, as well as other important issues (gender equality, youth, etc.). Inspiring stakeholder agreement on strategic directions. In collaboration with the Bureau of Strategic Planning (BSP), identifying and creating opportunities for resource mobilization and actively increasing extrabudgetary funds to ensure maximum impact. Identifying, proposing and forming multiple partnerships to enhance Priority Africa's work to achieve results and impact. Preparing sound proposals for fundraising at the government and private-sector level.


  • Promoting and fostering the work of UNESCO and ensuring the visibility of the work done by the Priority Africa and External Relations Sector (PAX) and all offices.


  • Additional activities that may be required to ensure the success of the work team.


COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Communication (C)
Accountability (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)
Professionalism (C)
Making quality decisions (M)
Driving and managing change (M)
Building partnerships (M)
Leading and empowering others (M)
Strategic thinking (M)
Managing performance (M)


For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.




  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in international relations, political science or other related fields relevant to Africa.


Work Experience

  • A minimum of 15 years of progressively responsible relevant professional experience at the appropriate management level, at least five years of which have been at the international level, including wide experience in development issues related to UNESCO’s areas of competence and multi-stakeholder management.
  • Experience in advocacy, resource mobilization and partnership creation.
  • Experience working with African regional and continental organizations and knowledge of the different lines of work of the African Union and regional economic communities.
  • Proven experience in designing and elaborating global strategies for Priority Africa.
  • Experience in the field of international relations and diplomacy, multilateral cooperation and development.

Long Description


  • Knowledge of, and commitment to, the Organization’s mandate, vision, strategic direction and priorities.
  • Good knowledge of UNESCO’s programmes and policies and of international development policies and institutions.
  • Demonstrated strategic planning and management abilities, including capacity to administer extensive programmes and financial resources.
  • Leadership capacity, high sense of objectivity and professional integrity, diplomacy, tact and political astuteness.
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively and to build relationships with diverse groups of organizations and individuals, relevant institutions, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including through networking; ability to participate effectively in high-level negotiations with internal and external partners.
  • Analytical and organizational skills, including in establishing plans and priorities, and in implementing them effectively, as well as in devising implementation plans.
  • Proven skills in administration and the management of financial and human resources.
  • Capacity to provide intellectual leadership to guide staff, as well as ability to build trust, manage, lead and motivate a large and diversified body of staff in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills with strong representational abilities.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and persuasively, both orally and in writing, with a broad range of interlocutors, as well as the news media.
  • Sound judgment and decision-making skills.
  • Ability to identify key strategic issues, objectives, opportunities, and risks.


  • Excellent knowledge of, and drafting skills in, one of the working languages of the Organization (English or French) and good working knowledge of the other working language of the Organization.





  • Other degrees or training in disciplines relevant to the responsibilities of the post would be an advantage.


Work Experience

  • Senior-level assignments at the international level and/or within the United Nations system.
  • Demonstrated experience of management at the international level.
  • Professional experience gained in multicultural working environments. 


  • Broad general culture, good geopolitical knowledge of the Africa region, sound analytic capacities.
  • Proven leadership and demonstrated managerial skills combined with flexibility.
  • Proven ability to function effectively at high levels of responsibility (governments, international institutions, etc.).
  • Skills in administration and the management of financial and human resources.
  • Sound judgment and decision-making skills.
  • Ability to identify key strategic issues, objectives, opportunities, and risks.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to take initiative and maintain effective working relationships with partners of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds.
  • Good knowledge of the United Nations system.


  • Knowledge of other official languages of UNESCO (Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish).



UNESCO’s salaries consist of a basic salary and other benefits which may include if applicable: 30 days annual leave, family allowance, medical insurance, pension plan etc.

For full information on benefits and entitlements, please consult our Guide to Staff Benefits.


Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. 

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.


UNESCO recalls that paramount consideration in the appointment of staff members shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, technical competence and integrity. UNESCO applies a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of harassment. UNESCO is committed to achieving and sustaining equitable and diverse geographical distribution, as well as gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Candidates from non- and under-represented Member States (last update here) are particularly welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals from minority groups and indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.