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Director, Emergency & Humanitarian Programs

Department: Emergency Response
Location: Silver Spring, MD


HIAS seeks a motivated Director, Emergency & Humanitarian Programs to build emergency systems, develop strategy and supervise staff for the new and growing Emergency Department. They will work closely with the Senior Director, Emergency & Humanitarian Programs to drive forward HIAS’ five-year Emergency Response Strategy and operational plan to both build and deliver systems for emergency response in the organization as well as monitoring that all benchmarks are achieved as planned. This role will be instrumental to developing the systems for increasing HIAS’ ability to respond to emerging crises globally.  

HIAS’ emergency response efforts will focus on displacement crises, providing critical assistance to vulnerable refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), primarily in HIAS’ four Signature Approaches: gender-based violence (GBV), community-based mental health and psycho-social support (MHPSS), economic inclusion and legal protection.  

This role will work to ensure strategic alignment, consistency and integration across departments, as well as the building of emergency systems in relation to emergency programming. They will ensure focused collaboration and ideas for solutions to opportunities and challenges HIAS faces in introducing emergency programming into the organization to build its reputation as a leader in the field. 


  • Serves as emergency subject matter expert across all departments in HIAS, incorporating humanitarian best practices into external and internal tools and communication materials, and ensuring programmatic capacity to respond to emergencies. 

  • Leads effective program financial management and adherence to financial and contractual policies and procedures. 

  • Supports and advises on new business development opportunities and donor cultivation for preparedness and response program initiatives.  

  • Leads humanitarian needs assessments in rapid-onset and on-going emergency settings and serves in various roles on emergency response teams as required; produces succinct written and oral summaries and analyses of humanitarian conditions. 

  • Contributes to, reviews and implements the overall HIAS Emergency Programming strategy. 

  • Contributes technical assistance for pilot activities focused on localization and coordinates localized efforts through regional managers. 

  • Represents HIAS at relevant coordination and partnership forums.  

  • Establishes and maintains excellent working relationships with other emergency and humanitarian assistance personnel. 

  • Works in tandem with Senior Director, Emergency & Humanitarian Programs to coordinate with International Programs, Executive Office, Institutional Development, Policy & Advocacy, Operations, Public Affairs and Country Offices to assess capacity and produce a gap analysis for use in identifying needs for capacity development of country office teams’ understanding of humanitarian principles, operating systems and adaptation in times of emergency.    

  • Coordinates with Human Resources, Safety & Security and Procurement to develop policies and systems for use in emergency activation. 

  • Supports Senior Director, Emergency & Humanitarian Programs to develop and manage an emergency response roster and ensure adequate emergency response staffing for timely and quality response; helps to develop framework and data system, supports recruiting for external candidates and supports design of the internal roster system for secondment of staff at the HQ and regional level. 

  • Coordinates closely with the Associate Vice President, Humanitarian Partnership, Policy & Practice and the Senior Director, Emergency & Humanitarian Programs to identify, broker and develop potential partnerships for emergency and humanitarian program implementation.  

  • In coordination with the Strategy & Measurement department, coordinates and drafts written Emergency Response Tools for use with deployments that will include, logistical, technical and sectoral recommendations.  

  • Supports, and in some cases, leads on collection of data for Rapid Needs Assessments and socializing concepts with emergency and humanitarian donors while coordinating closely with Strategy & Measurement. 

  • Co-leads the Emergency Programming Working Group with the Senior Director, Emergency & Humanitarian Programs; leads representation in interdepartmental working groups, including the Program Working Group, Operations Working Group and the Global Learning Group. 

  • During emergency activation, serves as Team Lead for deployment and as overall Emergency Coordinator for HQ level coordination efforts. 

  • Develops training curricula and simulation activities for introducing staff to emergency activation system and coordination structures at HIAS.  

  • During emergency deployments, supports and in some cases leads coordination between humanitarian and response activities, drafting sitreps and provides routine updates to HQ.  

  • Ensures deliverables of rapid onset and on-going emergency assistance and early recovery programs are met through coordination with relevant teams and departments. 

  • Leads development and establishment of an on-call roster of staff, inclusive of system maintenance and internal staff development and deployment schemes for emergency activation. 

  • In countries with HIAS office presence, leads on rapid emergency assessments and relief, and coordinates with International Programs, Institutional Development, Policy & Advocacy and Country Offices to review and draft concept notes for key humanitarian donors.    

  • In countries with no HIAS presence, leads on rapid assessments, identifying opportunities to build partnerships for potential response activities in coordination with the Senior Director, Emergency & Humanitarian Programs and relevant HIAS departments. 

  • Reviews, develops and updates HIAS’ emergency response policies, SOPs, emergency response index, risk assessments, needs assessment tools and manuals. 

  • As needs arise, works within all divisions and in tandem with the Senior Director, Emergency & Humanitarian Programs to designate funds using the Emergency Response Fund.  

  • Undertakes all other duties and projects as may be assigned from time to time. 

  • Coordinates with Senior Director, Emergency & Humanitarian Programs for recruitment of new staff positions, with some full-time staff supervision responsibilities in the future. 

  • Co-leads the interdepartmental Emergency Programming Working Group (EPWG).  

  • Provides timely updates and communication of issues to team.  

  • Tracks and documents key strategic internal and external meetings ensuring that key action points are communicated.   


  • Undergraduate degree required; graduate degree in a relevant field preferred. 

  • 6-8 years of experience in humanitarian response, with at least 3 years of direct field experience, including senior emergency response positions in complex operating environments; preferably the candidate will also have headquarters experience designing emergency response strategies and overseeing coordination and support for field teams. 

  • Excellent organizational and problem-solving skills to address high-level, strategic needs while also engaging in routine coordination and administrative duties to implement the Emergency Response Strategy and/or support country office and response teams. 

  • Excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication skills, including the ability to motivate and support field-based staff as well as effectively communicate key achievements and operational challenges to headquarters.  

  • English fluency required, Spanish or French fluency preferred.  

  • Experience managing humanitarian interventions in an international disaster context across the entire disaster management cycle, including emergency response, early recovery and transition, disaster risk reduction and resilience. 

  • Demonstrated experience developing, designing or evaluating proposed humanitarian interventions against response or disaster risk reduction strategies and identified need. 

  • Demonstrated skills and abilities in coordinating relief, transition or disaster risk reduction activities with host governments during humanitarian crisis situations. 

  • Demonstrated skills and abilities in coordinating relief, transition or disaster risk reduction activities with the international humanitarian community (e.g. donors, clusters, INGOs, NGOs) in the midst of international humanitarian crisis situations. 

  • Demonstrated understanding of humanitarian principles (core humanitarian standards, Sphere, etc.). 

  • Experience designing rapid needs assessments and leading teams to assess, design and manage disaster response and early recovery activities. 

  • On the ground field experience working in volatile areas and complex emergencies. 

  • Experience leading a diverse team of program, technical and administrative staff as part of an international humanitarian crisis. 

  • Experience leading team members in person and remotely located at different sites.  

  • Experience brokering successful partnerships with NGOs. 

  • Experience coordinating with emergency and international humanitarian donors. 

  • Motivated, self-starter with ability to work independently as well as with a team.  

  • Demonstrated knowledge of the emergency management cycle and/or international humanitarian preparedness, response and early recovery program methodologies, monitoring and evaluation techniques and grants administration. 

  • Ability to manage, track and report on budgets and program financial data. 

  • Proficient in the use of Microsoft Suite; comfortable working with large amounts of data and Excel spreadsheets. 

  • Strong program design and management skills in a complex, humanitarian environment. 

  • Demonstrated technical abilities in any of the following areas preferred: GBV, MHPSS, livelihoods, cash programming and legal aid in humanitarian contexts.  

  • Experience working successfully in cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary settings. 

  • Excellent problem-solving and analytical skills, alongside the ability to interpret documents and spreadsheets, analyze information and develop strategies. 

  • Excellent organizational skills; ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment and meet conflicting deadlines with minimal supervision. 

  • Ability to mobilize within 72 hours to challenging and insecure environments; willingness to travel up to 40% of the time. 

  • Ability to establish and maintain excellent working relationships with other humanitarian assistance actors, including donors. 

  • Experience or demonstrated knowledge of work with refugee, IDP and host community contexts strongly preferred. 

  • Demonstrated experience with strategic planning and leading teams. 

  • Experience in effectively working with international and headquarters staff. 

  • Ability to exercise sound judgment and make decisions independently. 

  • Ability to work effectively in an atmosphere of shifting priorities and deadline pressure. 

  • Excellent ability to handle multiple tasks and many administrative details in a fast-paced and constantly changing environment. 

  • Flexible and able to cope with stressful situations and frustrations. 


We are committed to a fair and respectful hiring process, and we do our absolute best to respond to every applicant. We prioritize communication and transparency with all candidates, even those who are not moving forward. Here’s a snapshot of our hiring process: 

Step 1: Submit your application! 

Step 2: Phone screen with a HIAS recruiter. 

Step 3: Video interview with the hiring manager. 

Step 4: Video interview with a panel of HIAS employees. 

Step 5: Online reference check with SkillSurvey. 

Step 6: Offer and background check with Shield Screening. 

Step 7: Start your professional journey with HIAS! 

Note: Some of our hiring processes may vary, and not all candidates will advance to each step. 


Over one hundred years ago, the Jewish community founded HIAS (originally the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) in New York City, the immigrant gateway to America. Supporting Jews fleeing persecution and poverty in Eastern Europe, our founders were guided by the traditions, texts, and history of the Jewish people – a history of oppression, displacement, and diaspora. HIAS has since helped generations of Jews facing violence because of who they were, and HIAS remains committed to helping Jewish refugees anywhere in the world. Today, our clients at HIAS come from diverse faiths, ethnicities, and backgrounds, as do our staff. We bring our experience, history, and values to our work across five continents, ensuring that refugees today receive the vital services and opportunities they need to thrive.  

HIAS is a learning community, committed to diversity and inclusion. We do our work with integrity, accountability, transparency, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards. We seek employees from diverse backgrounds and life experiences to join our teams located in the United States and across the globe. People who identify as BIPOC, people with disabilities, people from the LGBTQ+ community, and people with lived experiences of forced displacement or immigration are all encouraged to apply. We are committed to building a diverse workforce that reflects our vision, mission, and values. 


HIAS stands for a world in which refugees find welcome, safety, and opportunity. 


Drawing on our Jewish values and history, HIAS provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers around the world and advocates for their fundamental rights so they can rebuild their lives. 


Welcome • Acogimiento • Hospitalité • Hachnasat Orchim

We Welcome the Stranger 

Justice • Justicia • Justice • Tzedek

We Pursue Justice 

Empathy • Empatía • Empathie • Chesed

We Approach our Clients with Empathy 

Partnership • Compañerismo • Coopération • Chevruta

We Believe in Changing the World through Partnership 

Courage • Coraje • Courage • Ometz

We Act with Courage to Build a Better World 

Resilience • Resiliencia • Résilience • Ruach

We Adapt and Thrive, Continuously Demonstrating our Resilience 


HIAS is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. As an equal opportunity employer, all qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, ethnic background, ancestry, citizenship status, religious creed, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, registered domestic partner or civil union status, familial status, pregnancy, childbirth, military status, protected veteran status, political orientation, or other legally protected status. 

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