Program Officer, Foreign Press Center Program

Title:  Program Officer, Foreign Press Center Programs

Employment Status:  Exempt

Salary: $68,250 - $89,250

Supervisor Title:   Senior Program Officer or Director

Date Revised:   May 2022

Summary of Position:

The Program Officer is responsible for designing, planning, and implementing U.S., international, and virtual study tours, programs, trainings, and workshops on behalf of the U.S. Department of State and other U.S. government (USG) and private-sector funders. The bulk of this position’s time is anticipated to be spent managing the Meridian Center for Global Leadership’s (MCGL) Department of State Foreign Press Center (FPC)-funded press tours for foreign journalists. These tours take place primarily in the U.S. MCGL assists in the planning, execution, and quality assurance of large, international delegations of media representatives with a thematic focus, in addition to smaller media co-operative productions in which TV crews of two to three travel with a U.S.-based Producer to focus on issues related to their home countries.

The Program Officer is key personnel in the execution and oversight of both the Cooperative Agreement with FPC and of individual grants from U.S. Embassies for additional media programs carried out under the FPC umbrella. The Program Officer works directly with FPC to develop and implement program policies, schedule and assign overlapping programs, liaise with a pool of U.S.-based producers responsible for program content, and ensure full compliance with U.S. government travel regulations and accurate accounting of assigned project budgets.

Additional program support may include programs for participants, including youth or emerging professionals, interested in connecting to counterparts, subject matter experts, and others to exchange perspectives on topics of specific interest and/or industry trends. In consultation with the funder(s), the Program Officer designs a program that reflects a balance of perspectives and views, arranges a schedule for an opening and/or closing program, initiates and oversees the program content in DC and other cities, and monitors all fiscal and administrative matters, ensuring timely and correct reporting and full compliance with USG regulations and accurate accounting of assigned project budgets. The Program Officer leads a program team and assumes a high level of responsibility for the implementation of an MCGL program(s) or grant(s). The Program Officer also contributes to the Meridian Center for Global Leadership’s business development initiatives, including responding to funder Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFO) or Requests for Proposals (RFP).

This position is located in Washington, D.C. and Meridian requires MD, DC, or VA residence for all employees. The position may work partially remotely until further notice. All Meridian staff are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, unless a reasonable medical or religious accommodation is approved. Please note Meridian does not sponsor work visas.

Position Responsibilities:

  • Manage a multimillion dollar, multiyear Cooperative Agreement with FPC to support media programming, as well as numerous, overlapping smaller awards made directly with U.S. Embassies under the FPC umbrella, including financial management and narrative and financial reporting;
  • Communicate regularly with FPC and U.S. Embassies abroad implementing programs under the FPC umbrella on scheduling of media programs and assigning of programs to a team of Travel Specialists;
  • Establish the concept for each program using guidance provided by the funder. Determine what is required, balanced, and appropriate content, including suitable pacing and geographic balance, for each program.
  • Develop a detailed proposed budget reflective of the specific requirements of the funding authority and submit a detailed proposal for project activities (if required).
  • Develop and manage program timelines, reports, marketing materials, and relevant briefing materials or curriculum for program stakeholders and participants.
  • Coordinate the development of the program in cooperation with the funder, program team, participants, interpreters, and program partners.
  • Arrange a program schedule of professional appointments, speakers, trainings, and cultural activities, as required by the project award.
  • Develop scope of work and budget parameters and lead procurement for program content partners and vendors.
  • Oversee and monitor in-person or virtual local program activities carried out in DC and other cities around the U.S. or internationally by program partners, including members of the Global Ties US network, universities, and/or international organizations.
  • Conduct research and identify program resources such as relevant speakers, institutions, and program partners.
  • Serve as the primary point of contact with the funder and maintain open channels of communication during each program with the funder, informing them of all significant developments.
  • Provide supervision, guidance, and professional counsel to junior staff who carry out programmatic, logistical, or administrative support functions.
  • Monitor subrecipient and/or contractor performance and reporting, ensuring timely submission of reports and both technical and financial information, including cost share requirements.
  • Work effectively under the pressure of time constraints, competing priorities, and high visibility of programs.
  • Review payment requests and expense reimbursements for accuracy, budget compliance, and appropriate account code allocation.
  • Monitor all fiscal and administrative matters related to grants and project budgets ensuring fiscal responsibility and compliance through close supervision of project expenses and budget tracking. Reconcile final accounting and prepare final budget for invoicing.
  • Review budget reports monthly, ensuring that month-to-date expenditures are accurate and match project records, and that expenditures are within budget.
  • Monitor overall project cost share commitments, ensuring that cost share is provided in a timely manner and that backup documentation is complete and compliant with federal regulations.
  • Support external communications by providing on a regular basis short descriptions and write-ups, photos, videos, and updates on upcoming and ongoing projects for Meridian’s external audiences.
  • Travel (domestically and internationally) as required to provide onsite support for programs and/or accompany delegates to provide logistical support during their professional program.
  • Work cooperatively with MCGL leadership and staff to develop project proposals that align with Meridian’s mission and meet the organization’s financial goals.
  • Lead or contribute to an MCGL proposal team by researching, writing, and organizing project proposal components.
  • Ensure program team adherence to Meridian’s data protection policies.
  • Provide leadership, direct supervision, and support to Meridian staff, including direct reports.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Education/Experience:

  • Bachelors degree in International Relations, International Development, Political Science, Public Administration, Business, or related field. Masters preferred.
  • 5-10 years of experience in international exchanges, training, or education programs.
  • Supervisory experience.
  • Experience in a fluctuating work environment with constantly changing needs, demands, and timelines.
  • Experience developing solid working relationships with overseas and domestic funders and partners.
  • Grant management experience including monitoring and evaluation, budgeting, reporting, etc.
  • Experience with managing and implementing media programs a plus
  • Experience with USG-funded exchange programs preferred.
  • Overseas study or work experience preferred.
  • Experience running virtual programs with synchronous and asynchronous engagement preferred.
  • Or any equivalent combination of training, education, and experience that demonstrates the ability to perform the essential functions of the position.

Technical Requirements:

  • Strong internet and computer proficiency, including Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, SharePoint, Outlook, Teams, etc.)
  • Experience with Canvas, Zoom and Salesforce is helpful

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:

  • Broad knowledge of American society, culture, history, geography, economy, and government.
  • Knowledge of USG regulations pertaining to exchange programs.
  • Well informed regarding current events.
  • Capacity and flexibility to handle multiple projects independently with multiple funders simultaneously while meeting deadlines and remaining responsive.
  • Exceptional project and team management skills.
  • Proven ability to problem solve with staff and to encourage consistent, solid performance.
  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Ability to work independently, accurately, and under pressure.
  • Proficiency in another language preferred, especially Russian, French, Spanish, and Mandarin.
  • Strong interpersonal and intercultural communication skills; maturity, cultural sensitivity, and tact suitable for working with individuals from around the world.
  • Comfortable coping with change in the work environment, able to pivot comfortably, and comfortable managing risk and uncertainty.
  • Vested interest in upholding Meridian’s core values, particularly in fostering an inclusive workplace.

Employer’s Statement

Meridian is committed to creating a diverse environment. We believe in empowering global leaders and amplifying voices of a wide variety of backgrounds to create pathways for greater understanding, shared value and respect for all cultures as connecting people has been our foundation for over 60 years. If you share our values and enthusiasm to promote non-partisan collaboration to address global challenges and opportunities, you can find a home at Meridian.

As an equal opportunity employer, Meridian promotes equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, personal appearance, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition, family responsibilities, marital, veteran or military status, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, matriculation, political affiliation, or any other classification protected by federal, state, or local law. Equal employment opportunity will be offered and maintained to all persons at every stage and condition of employment, including recruiting, hiring, training, upgrading, promotion, transfer, discipline, layoff, recall, and termination.

How to Apply 

Qualified candidates should apply here. Only candidates being considered for this position will be contacted. NO PHONE CALLS in reference to this position will be accepted.