Senior Director, Peace and Governance (Open to London)

Programs Washington, District of Columbia


About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

Program / Department Summary

Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit (TSU) is a key part of the Program Department, which supports field-led work to drive measurable, transformational change.  The TSU houses subject matter experts whose mission is to help our global teams apply the most effective solutions to the world’s toughest challenges. The TSU helps set agency-wide strategy to inform the entire organization’s work. In addition, it offers technical expertise to offices worldwide -  supporting country strategy development and assessments, and engaging throughout the program life cycle from project design and proposal development to quality implementation and evaluations.   

Mercy Corps is a leader in peacebuilding and governance promotion. Our cross-sector work actively incorporates principles and strategies to build and sustain stability, in addition to our explicit initiatives to prevent and reduce violent conflict and enhance bottom-up and top-down governance processes.  We have pioneered a systems approach to understanding conflict, analyzing political, economic, socio-cultural, and ecological systems to identify dynamics driving conflict and poor governance. Our evidence-based programming is rooted in rigorous research and innovative evaluations, promoting continuous learning and program evolution internally while reinforcing Mercy Corps’ role as a thought leader for the broader peacebuilding and good governance communities.  

General Position Summary

We are looking for someone with creativity and drive to lead our peace and conflict, and governance and partnerships teams, as part of our senior management team under the Technical Support Unit.  The Senior Director for Peace and Governance will serve as the agency’s principal thought leader and strategist in these sectors, guiding an influential, agile global team to design and execute innovative, forward leaning strategies and program approaches.  They will lead global influence efforts and communicate our work across the agency and beyond. The Senior Director will support their teams to work across the agency in addressing regional and global trends through innovative models that evolve and adapt in response to research, evidence and learning . They will ensure teams meet their targets related to growth, technical excellence, and capacity-building, and ensure that the teams’ work maintains focus on fostering quality implementation while enabling holistic, systemic change through harnessing public, private and civil society actors. The Senior Director will have a proven track record of driving frontier initiatives in peace and governance. They will be responsible for leading Mercy Corps’ emerging peace and technology work, with a focus on addressing social media threats to peace and stability, as well as advancing a comprehensive governance approach engaging local, sub-national, national and global governance structures.

Essential Job Responsibilities

  • Can articulate and apply both the theory and practice of state-of- the-art governance and peacebuilding approaches, understanding both their distinctions and when they are mutually reinforcing.
  • Provide strategic leadership in further exploring/elevating the contribution of Mercy Corps' peacebuilding and governance approach to: the global conversation around the integration of humanitarian efforts, development and peace practice, normative approaches to governance promotion and peace building, and the interdependence of localized governance promotion and peace building to the Governance and Peace building efforts at the
  • national, regional, and global level.
  • Identify opportunities to design and test new approaches in peacebuilding and governance, including advancing understanding of how to tackle the weaponization of social media as a new and increasingly powerful threat to peace. In addition, exploring the potential role of Mercy Corps in utilizing digital technology in promoting good governance
  • Identify other key internal and external trends and get ahead of them, ensuring team’s ability to adapt to changing conditions and expectations.
  • Serve as technical advisor on high profile awards and occasionally lead write technical approaches.
  • Explore and maximize new lines of revenue, especially relating to “big ideas”, multi country or TSU-led initiatives.
  • Guide teams to facilitate multi-team/multi-country shared learning on what is working in order to standardize best practice, develop comparative advantages for new program development and advance strategic partnerships.  
  • Ensure teams are effectively engaged on priority monitoring, evaluation and minimum standards relating to technical approaches.
  • Fully embrace the Agency’s culture and values and actively work to achieve its goals relating to Gender, Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence on their own team and embrace their role in advancing the shared goals of the larger TSU, to forge its reputation as a cohesive and responsive world class technical unit.
  • As a member of the Senior Director group, engage with other Senior Directors regularly on team plans and budget issues, work collectively to advance coherence across the Unit, and ensure communications flow down in a timely manner to Directors.
  • Conduct regular performance reviews, adhering to Agency personnel policies and practices.
  • Empower teams to advance leadership in their fields and support professional growth, including creating space for Directors to engage on agency wide and senior level discussions.
  • Strengthen Mercy Corps’ profile and representation in public fora and through expert interaction with a wide variety of external stakeholders.
  • Advance external Influence through work with other Agency leads, including Policy and Research, Program and Quality, Marketing and Communications teams to raise Mercy Corps global profile.
  • Participate in developing TSU knowledge management practices that lend coherence to TSU technical products as a whole and maximize impact through coordinated and creative dissemination practices.  Liaise regularly with KM and Communications teams to maximize impact.
  • As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.
  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically
    to our partners and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging participant communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility

The position has supervisory responsibility over two teams - the Conflict and Peace team, and the Governance and Partnerships team.  They will directly oversee the Director for Governance and Partnerships and serve as the Director of the Peace and Conflict team, which is composed of Senior Advisors and Advisors.


  • Reports Directly To: Vice President of Technical Leadership
  • Works Directly With: The TSU management and leadership teams(comprised of all TSU Senior Directors and Directors); other members of the Program Team including the Senior VP of Program; Policy and Advocacy team, Research and learning teams, Regional and Country Directors and teams, and others.

Knowledge and Experience

  • S./M.Sc. or equivalent or above in a relevant technical field is required
  • 15+ years experience in the international development and relevant technical sector that includes:
    • Experience working overseas and managing field-based projects with an explicit peacebuilding and/or governance focus.
    • Proven track record of advancing peace and governance practice through leading successful programs and publishing articles, reports, guidance notes, or thought pieces on relevant topics.
    • Experience working with/in multi and bi-lateral agencies, governments and peace missions preferred.
    • Experience building partnerships with donors, peer agencies, corporations, and/or foundations.
    • Strongly established professional networks, especially in the peacebuilding and governance fields.
  • 5 to 7 years of management and supervisory experience that includes:
    • Effective coaching, development, and management of individual staff and teams.
    • Proven leadership, self-motivation, and interpersonal skills.
    • Leading matrixed teams for successful results in non-hierarchical settings.
    • Working with teams of diverse backgrounds.
  • Exceptionally strong verbal and written communications skills and organizational skills are required.
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
  • Familiarity with major donors such as USAID, DFID, the EC and relevant foundations and corporations.
  • Fluency in English is required; fluency in a foreign language preferred.

Success Factors

The senior director must be a superb team player who has the technical and functional skills to help lead the TSU as a coherent, strategic and field-responsive best in class technical unit.  The Senior Director must be able to guide a composite team ensuring coherence of vision and strategy across groups as well as be able to identify and pursue new paths forward.  The leader must have strong interpersonal and communication skills.  The successful Senior Director must be a self-starter who demonstrates exceptional ability in leading organizational initiatives and understanding Mercy Corps’ strategic plans and objectives. The senior Director must have high proficiency for working in varied cultural, political, and religious environments, and must be able to travel and work successfully in austere environments and maintain poise in stressful situations.

Living / Environmental Conditions

This position is located in one of Mercy Corps’ headquarter offices. The position requires travel at least 30% time to the field where living conditions may be exceptionally rugged or be in volatile environments where security protocols will need to be followed. Team members must be ready to deploy to field environments on short notice in response to any emergency or crisis. When in the field the team member must be able to work in remote settings and possibly over weekends and/or evenings as required by the schedule.

Mercy Corps Team members represent the agency both during and outside of work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/STA to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision.  Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.