Senior Program Manager- Asia & Pacific

05 Aug, 2022


Senior Program Manager- Asia & Pacific

National Democratic Institute
Washington, D.C.

Senior Program Manager- Asia & Pacific

Position Summary

Political transitions and economic shifts across the Asia-Pacific are testing the resilience of the region’s more established democracies and pushing more fragile republics towards regression. Democratic political institutions are finding it more challenging to address rapid social change and corresponding citizen needs, counter polarization, and manage political conflict. New technologies and social media are enabling inclusive participation and greater transparency as well as empowering disinformation.

Authoritarianism has increasingly sought ways to degrade democratic culture by suppressing activism and independent thought, restricting political development and undermining democratic norms. Through these changing dynamics and for over three decades, NDI has worked in partnership with women activists, youth leaders, civil society groups, political networks, parliaments and government bodies across the Asia-Pacific region to address these challenges.

NDI’s Asia-Pacific team is seeking a Senior Program Manager to contribute to the planning, design, implementation, and execution of programs focused on Hong Kong, Taiwan, Asia-Pacific Information Integrity, and countering illiberal influences in the Asia & Pacific region. The thematic focus of the portfolio includes citizen participation, global advocacy campaigns, and democracy and technology needs across Asia. Based on donor funding, portfolios may change as needed.

Candidates are required to register live in the District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia by their start date with NDI.

Essential Accountabilities

  • Provide leadership vision and strategy on programs which involve multiple cross-cutting issues, require considerable resources, and need high levels of integration and collaboration across the region and/or multiple regions.
  • Respond to staff inquiries requiring specific programmatic expertise and/or country-specific knowledge. Continually monitor political events in the relevant international landscape to maintain a current knowledge and ability to adapt programs when needed.
  • Serve as a resource for Project Assistants, Program Associates and Program Officers on protocols and other specific requirements associated with proper program management and serve as a mentor/coach for their development and successful performance. Provide oversight of specific program management activities as required.
  • Lead the development of detailed work plans to ensure achievement of assigned program(s) objective(s) and expected outcomes, including the establishment of actions to be taken, the required resources (time, funding, staffing, etc.), a schedule/timeline for the actions required, and specific measures/metrics for evaluation at completion.
  • Conduct all aspects of program management, ensuring the effective and efficient execution of the established program work plans, including established actions, outcomes, and timelines. Monitor progress, identify problems and barriers and make recommendations to management for necessary adjustments to ensure successful, quality outcomes.
  • Facilitate collaboration with team leadership, other team members, and as required across other teams to identify and coordinate regional programmatic activities and priorities, including the development of program concepts and content for proposals, ensuring alignment with broader institutional strategies and approaches. Identify, document, and share feedback regarding successful processes/programs, as well as areas where improvements can be made for the establishment/execution of future programs.
  • Conduct relevant analysis to determine potential impacts of programmatic work related to program-specific initiatives, plans, and/or problems, as well as review of data and metrics associated with program progress. Draw conclusions and present findings in a concise and understandable manner with related recommendations for any proposed actions to be taken.
  • Draft, or review/edit drafts prepared by other program staff members, consolidating contents when needed to ensure a comprehensive, integrated deliverable for assigned communications such as board memos, briefing memos, reports (e.g. quarterly) or portions thereof, work plans, proposals, and presentations, ensuring proper and accurate formatting, spelling, and grammar usage as well as inclusion of required content, and finalize for submission.
  • Manage and monitor budgets, grants and expenditures for assigned programs, with particular focus on those with greater complexity, e.g. involving multiple grants, teams, and field offices. Maintain budget-related notes/documentation and ensure completion of reconciliations and proper application of allowable costs according to restrictions, structures, and established mechanisms/processes. Work to ensure adherence to budget limitations and anticipate/address overages, implementing solutions to budget variances with input/agreement from higher-level team members as necessary. Provide guidance to lower level staff related to budget preparation, tracking, and reconciliations.
  • Establish, foster and maintain relationships with field staff, funding agency representatives, and overseas partners to ensure successful program implementation and execution and to articulate new funding proposals and concepts. Brief and/or collaborate to provide briefings to specific country political, civic and business leaders, donor organizations and members of the international community about NDI activities and positively influence and gain needed action for programmatic success.
  • Serve as the point-of-contact with funding agencies for assigned programs, and interact regularly with relevant field offices to support programmatic work and allow for the monitoring and measurement of progress against plans and timing/preparations for required assessments. Act as a liaison with selected members of NGO, funding and Washington policymaking communities, as required, and negotiate with key program contacts, political leaders, donors and others to obtain relevant funding and establish program parameters and deliverables.
  • Provide support for local and regional program conferences, workshops and meetings, leading the organization of cross-functional workshops as required. Represent NDI at selected external events/meetings to assist with NDI’s public outreach, particularly when higher level staff participation is imperative.
  • Conduct onsite field visits to evaluate current projects and facilitate/leverage programmatic work and resolve any problems/issues, as well as to assess the political development landscape and identify new opportunities for programmatic initiatives, developing assistance programs, and implementing and/or delivering training programs. Organize delegations abroad, as required.
  • Ensure appropriate implementation of field office policies and handbooks and provide guidance on the interpretation and application of policies and requirements.
  • Establish and maintain a network of potential international training resources, volunteers, and field representatives and engage/select those appropriate to meet specific needs.
  • Adhere to NDI’s organizational values, standards of conduct, policies and processes, and any other established expectations for NDI employees, including those related to performance, i.e. goals and position description accountabilities/responsibilities such as those presented herein.

Peripheral Accountabilities/Responsibilities (Non-essential)

  • Support onboarding and training as required for Project Assistants, Program Associates and Program Officers, and also participate in the recruitment process for those positions, reviewing resumes and recommending candidates for consideration/interviews. Participate in interview processes, as needed.
  • Act as a back-up for other team members as needed.
  • Participate in cross-functional initiatives as needed.
  • Actively seek and engage in professional development opportunities to enhance knowledge in project/program management, and maintain a general working knowledge of relevant program trends and issues occurring external to NDI.
  • Perform other duties as required.


  • Incumbent operates under general direction, plans or coordinates work in accordance with established objectives.
  • Incumbent serves as a resource and provides guidance to lower-level staff.
  • Incumbent regularly interacts with staff at all levels within NDI.
  • Incumbent regularly interacts with NDI partners, funders and other stakeholders, including international development organizations, civic organizations, NDI’s network of volunteers, trainers, and experts, political leaders, and other key program contacts.

Required Qualifications


  • Bachelor’s degree, preferably in International Relations, Political Science, International Development, Asia Studies, or a related field, or equivalent experience. Graduate degree in a similar discipline preferred.


  • Seven years of relevant work experience in international-development, community organizing, political campaigns, or legislative affairs, or a similar field, including experience in program strategy and design. An advanced degree or work towards one in a relevant discipline may be substituted for required years of experience on a one-for-one basis.
  • Prior relevant international field work experience performed in-country is highly desired.

Language- Reading, Written, and Oral/Spoken

  • Professional Fluency in Mandarin-Chinese and/or Cantonese with the ability to read, write and speak at an professional level is highly desirable but not required


  • Highly advanced knowledge and competence in one or more of NDI’s international development disciplines, e.g. political campaigns, elections, community organizing, technology/innovation, etc.
  • In-depth knowledge of programmatic budget development/management and accounting processes along with math skills and the ability to perform accurate calculations and understand quantitative information.
  • Excellent analytical and judgment skills for identifying problems, drawing conclusions, determining options for resolution, and recommending next steps.
  • Strong negotiation skills and the ability to be innovative and creative in finding ways to resolve issues and secure necessary support and resources for achieving programmatic goals.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and cultural sensitivity to interact effectively and diplomatically with individuals at all levels of the organization, as well as externally both domestically and internationally with NDI partners, funders, and other stakeholders, as well as with U.S. and foreign government personnel.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively and project a professional image when giving and taking information in writing, in person, and through various communication media. The ability to present to varying sized audiences in a manner that influences and drives understanding is critical.
  • A strong attention-to-detail, with a propensity to complete work accurately and with a focus on quality.
  • High action-orientation with a high level of initiative and a superior level of proficiency in the ability to multi-task and prioritize; manage time, perform project management, problem-solving, and organizational skills; and flexibility to adapt and respond to shifting priorities.
  • Capacity to work effectively both independently and as a member of a team, as well as provide guidance and coordination with and among lower level staff.
  • Ability to apply discretion and maintain confidential information
  • Ability to travel internationally.
  • Advanced proficiency in Microsoft Office to include Word, Excel and PowerPoint; knowledge of Google Suite tools preferred.

Certifications/Licenses (desired)

  • None required.

Work Environment

This position generally is performed in an office environment and may be suitable for partial telework.

Occasional evening and weekend work may be required, as well as attendance at external events.

Some international travel is required in this role, approximately 10-15% to NDI field locations. These locations often are in remote locations and may require significant time and varying modes of travel. Designated locations also may at times be considered less secure and with greater risk to NDI employees.

Physical Requirements

  • Sitting/mobility—to work at a desk and move around work areas.
  • Speaking/hearing—to engage orally in conversation with others and conduct presentations.
  • Seeing—to effectively use a computer screen and for reading and interpreting printed materials, memos and other paperwork.
  • Reaching/handling—to input information into computer systems and retrieve and work with appropriate paperwork, equipment and supplies.

ADA Notation:

The physical demands and work environment that have been described are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. NDI encourages applicants with disabilities to apply.


  • This is a union position to be represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 2.
  • Candidates must be legally eligible to work in the U.S. NDI does not provide sponsorship.
  • NDI is an equal opportunity employer (EOE). As such, NDI makes employment decisions and provides equal employment opportunity without regard to an applicant’s or employee’s race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any other basis protected by federal, state and local laws. If you need a reasonable accommodation in the application or hiring process, please notify NDI’s Human Resources department.
  • To comply with tax and legal obligations, all candidates for DC-based positions must reside in Maryland, DC or Virginia. While there may be flexibility for remote/hybrid work environments, candidates must be residents of MD, DC or VA or relocate prior to the start of employment at NDI.

To apply please visit our website at

Job posted: 2022-08-05