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JOB- Program Officer for Central Asia and Turkey, The Christensen Fund

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  • Kendra Gray
    Distrib. by: Central-Eurasia-L - Announcement List for Central Eurasian Studies JOB- Program Officer for Central Asia and Turkey, The Christensen Fund Posted
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 6, 2007
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      Distrib. by: Central-Eurasia-L - Announcement List for Central Eurasian Studies

      JOB- Program Officer for Central Asia and Turkey, The Christensen Fund

      Posted by: The Christensen Fund < resumes@...>

      Job Announcement
      Program Officer for Central Asia and Turkey

      September 2007

      The Position

      The Program Officer for Central Asia and Turkey is an existing
      position that will become vacant at The Christensen Fund on December
      31st 2007.  The opportunity is to lead further development of a
      significant portfolio of grantees working in the mountain regions of
      West Central Asia around bio-cultural diversity issues.

      The Christensen Fund (TCF)

      The Christensen Fund (www.christensenfund.org), founded in 1957 and
      located in Palo Alto in the San Francisco Bay Area, is an independent
      private foundation that has long supported international work in the
      arts and conservation science fields and now works with the following

      The Christensen Fund believes in the power of biological and cultural
      diversity to sustain and enrich a world faced with great change and
      uncertainty.  We focus on the "bio-cultural" - the rich but neglected
      adaptive interweave of people and place, culture and ecology.  The
      Fund's mission is to buttress the efforts of people and institutions
      who believe in a biodiverse world infused with artistic expression and
      work to secure ways of life and landscapes that are beautiful,
      bountiful and resilient.

      We pursue this mission through place-based work in regions chosen for
      their potential to withstand and recover from the global erosion of
      diversity.  We focus on backing the efforts of locally-recognized
      community custodians of this heritage, and their alliances with
      scholars, artists, advocates and others. We also fund international
      efforts to build global understanding of these issues.  These are
      challenging goals, so we seek out imaginative, thoughtful and
      occasionally odd partners to learn with.  The Fund works primarily
      through grant making, as well as through capacity and network
      building, knowledge generation, collaboration and mission-related

      TCF's overall grant making in 2008 is projected at US$14.5m and is
      anticipated to rise to US$25m per year over the next several years.
      The Central Asia and Turkey Program Officer is one of a growing team
      of currently 28 staff, including four other Program Officers
      responsible for other specific geographical regions of the world
      (African Rift Valley; Melanesia; the Greater American Southwest; and
      Northern Australia), and two additional Program Officers developing
      our global programs.  The Fund also has senior consultants located in
      the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan.  (For details of our background,
      programs and staff please consult the website www.christensenfund.org.)

      Dr. Rafique Keshavjee, who served from 2003-2007, was the first
      Program Officer for The Christensen Fund in this position and during
      his tenure the Fund has made $6.6m grants for work in the region and
      another $450,000 for work on Central Asian issues in the San Francisco
      Bay Area.

      The Grantmaking Remit

      The Christensen Fund took the decision to develop grant making in
      montane parts of Central Asia and Turkey in 2002 in recognition of
      their critical role in the history and therefore future of cultural
      and biological diversity in Eurasia, and the lack of attention this
      region has generally received from international funders and
      institutions.  Straddling the bio-geographic boundaries between
      Europe, South Asia and the Middle East, these mountains have long been
      central to the generation and dissemination of globally significant
      ideas, species, languages, land use systems and ways of life.  Indeed
      this region is the origin of many of the world's fruits, crops and
      livestock species, has a history of profound religious and cultural
      pluralism and creativity, and has provided refugia and resilience
      during past periods of climate change.  The Fund also considers this
      an important time to engage with the communities and leaders of
      Central Asia to assist them secure pluralism and social and
      environmental sustainability.  In 2006 the Board of Trustees and
      senior staff of The Christensen Fund made a highly successful visit to
      Turkey, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to meet government, civic,
      community, intellectual and cultural leaders and review progress with
      grantmaking in the field.

      The Christensen Fund (TCF) has developed a strong strategy for
      assisting Central Asian and Turkish efforts to retain and revitalize
      the region's unique cultural and biological heritage.  Geographically
      the program currently focuses on three places of particular montane
      diversity: Badakhshan, the Kyrgyz Tien Shan, the Turkish Caucasus; but
      grants are also made with a more regional focus and in other locations
      of important heritage and/or opportunity.  To date the perspective has
      been to marry creatively external expertise and local wisdom to
      strengthen the resilience of communities and landscapes in the face of
      climate and other global and regional change and uncertainty.  In a
      very diverse grant portfolio (with seventy eight grants to date)
      particular attention has been given to the roles of sacred places; to
      re-connecting cultural expression, crafts and traditional knowledge;
      to valuing biological and cultural heritage as assets for local
      economies and livelihoods; and to revitalizing traditional agriculture
      and herding through landscape-based approaches.  The new Program
      Officer is expected to build on current directions while developing
      new thematic and geographic initiatives.  S/he will likely seek to
      strengthen the environmental and/or educational dimensions of the
      portfolio, and to deepen support for community institutions,
      especially farmer, herder and women's organizations.

      Grantmaking at the Fund provides much opportunity for innovation and
      long term thinking to find ways to back dedicated people, creative
      thinkers, unusual institutions and social movements.  With its focus
      support for the local stewards and guardians of place, culture and
      environment, TCF makes grants to community-based organizations, local
      and international NGOs, universities, arts and cultural centers and
      groups, local governments, museums, and other institutions around the
      themes of Landscape, Livelihoods & Foodways; Culture and Land; and
      Education, Leadership & Networking.  It supports adaptive processes
      that are anchored in local realities and visions of traditional
      custodians that can secure a future for the unique richness of
      lifeways, landscapes, foodways and biodiversity.

      For this hire we seek a visionary with imagination and energy to
      support practical results on the ground.  S/he will be passionate
      about diversity and environmental and indigenous issues, with a
      particular talent for understanding how to connect new ideas,
      traditional stewardship and funding institutions.  S/he will be a
      networker and team player, finding allies everywhere while listening
      to local people.

      The grant budget for this grantmaking program will start at around
      US$2.0m in 2008 and is anticipated to grow over the next several years.


      Reporting to the Executive Director, the Program Officer will be a
      responsible for:
      * Building on past years of grantmaking and the lessons learned,
         bring energy and vision to developing grant making strategies for the
         region and articulating them to potential grantees and other stakeholders;
      * Developing and recommending grant proposals for approval, and
         overseeing application declinations and grantee reporting, working in
         close collaboration with colleagues in Grants Administration staff;
      * Collaborating with other staff at The Christensen Fund and other
         partnering foundations and institutions to craft, finance and
         implement grantmaking;
      * Maintaining close knowledge of the ideas, issues and institutions
         in their field of responsibility, and of the circumstances of
         communities, landscapes and biodiversity across regions of concern in
         Central Asia;
      * Partnering (as appropriate) with grantees to advance their
         institutional development and program achievement, and participating
         in their events;
      * Helping grantees and other relevant organizations network and learn
         from each other locally, across the region and internationally;
      * Working (including with outside reviewers) to evaluate the impact
         of grantees and grant making strategies and recommending program
         adjustments accordingly;
      * Sharing her/his expertise and imagination with other TCF staff in
         pursuit of the organization's overall programming and mission; and
      * Presenting grant making strategies, grantmaking progress reviews,
         proposed grants, impact evaluations and other briefings to the TCF
         Board of Trustees.

      We expect this position to be based in the San Francisco Bay Area
      (Palo Alto), but reasonable accommodations may be made for residence
      within the region. The job requires extensive travel across Central
      Asia and Turkey, as well as internationally.

      Traits and Skills

      The staff of The Christensen Fund comprises a diverse and
      lively-minded team who work with energy and humor to make a difference
      in a deeply troubled world.

      The following are required characteristics for this position:
      * Deep knowledge of the landscapes and cultures of West Central Asia;
      * Deep understanding of the connections between biological and
         cultural diversity, and a delight in thinking in integrated ways;
      * Familiarity with the history and complexities of Central Asia and
         the experiences of communities with handling change, as well as with
         the institutions, associations and research groups working to support
         their efforts;
      * An ability to travel around the region and to seek out, listen to,
         understand and respect applicants, grantees and other stakeholders and
         work in support of their passions and dreams;
      * Superior written and oral communication skills in English, an
         ability to work in Russian and/or other relevant Turkic and
      Persian languages;
      * Well-organized and self-sufficient, IT-savvy, and able to manage
         time and work under pressure; and
      * A demonstrated ability and inclination to work as part of a team.

      Education and Background

      Applicants should possess:
      * A graduate degree (or equivalent experience) in an environmental or
         social science field, along with knowledge of bio-cultural diversity,
         stewardship, landscape, resilience, and the issues of tribal peoples.
      * Demonstrated commitment to the visions and struggles of Central
         Asians to secure their cultural integrity and environmental heritage.

      The successful candidate is likely to have experience in:
      * Participatory research and advocacy combined with practical
         engagement in supporting local environmental and cultural initiatives;
      * Prior work involving putting ideas and creativity to work in
         support of maintaining diversity, revitalizing communities, ecologies
         and local economies;
      * Prior employment in a grantmaking foundation or non profit
         organization, or experience partnering with such foundations.

      Compensation and Terms of Employment

      Terms would be a three year renewable contract, with relocation assistance.

      The position is available immediately and it is hoped that the new
      Program Officer can join in early 2008.

      An excellent salary and benefits package commensurate with
      qualifications and experience will be provided.

      Program Officers at TCF are encouraged to maintain active intellectual
      and creative engagement in the development of their fields of
      specialty, in particular as these advance the mission and strategies
      of the TCF and its grantee communities.


      Please send a cover letter and CV to resumes@... or
      mail it to Mayumi Fujio Morrow, 394 University Avenue, Palo Alto CA
      94301, USA, marked Confidential.

      Applications must be received by September 27th, 2007.

      The Christensen Fund is an equal opportunities employer

      Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with
      disabilities to perform the essential functions.

      The Christensen Fund: backing the stewards of cultural and biological diversity

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