Search for Common Ground

Since 1982, they have worked to end violent conflict and to build healthy, safe, and just societies all over the world. Search for Common Ground work in 35 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America.


  • THEIR MISSION is to transform the way the world deals with conflict, away from adversarial approaches and toward cooperative solutions.
  • THEY BELIEVE that conflict is inevitable, but violence is not. Conflict is a natural result of human diversity. When we deal with conflict adversarially, it generates polarization and violence. When we collaborate, conflict catalyzes positive change.
  • THEIR VISION is a world where cooperation is the norm—where differences stimulate social progress, rather than precipitate violence.


For over 40 years, Search for Common Ground has been building trust around the world, opening opportunities for collaboration between communities, and creating breakthroughs for peace. Their ability to deal with conflict affects how they handle every issue humanity is facing. Whether global in nature, such as poverty, hunger or the environment, or closer to home, such as family or community relations, they face daily challenges through their abilities to deal with conflict constructively.


Without peace, development gains do not hold. Without peace, delivering humanitarian aid risks further suffering. Without peace, people have more difficulty exercising agency, seizing opportunity, and realizing their full potential. Peace enables trust and provides the foundation for collaboration to solve complex problems. It allows people to look past differences, have difficult conversations, take shared risks, find common ground, and invest in pathways towards a shared future.


Values are the cultural norms of Search for Common Ground. They are the guideposts for how they behave, treat each other, perform their work, and hold each other accountable. Read about their philosophy of conflict and why their approach works to end violent conflict.


For more information, visit www.sfcg.org

Role purpose

The Executive Director, Search for Common Ground – Europe (based in Brussels), develops and maintains relations with the European Union, European Commission, European government officials and departments, and other European-based organizations and individuals whose engagement is relevant to the organization’s mission and helps to advance funding and policy advocacy goals.


S/he will collaborate with Global Affairs and Partnerships (GAP), the Development, Marketing and Communications teams, and Regional and Country leadership, in cultivating and developing relationships that enhance our influence, build strategic partnerships and diversify revenue in Europe.


S/he will lead and oversee the operations of Search – Europe, ensure delivery of the organizational Strategic Plan and budget, and facilitate coordination between the Search -Belgium Board and other Search governance structures.

Required Qualifications


Major Duties and Responsibilities

Leadership and Management

  • Provide effective leadership, coaching, and management to the staff, nurturing a supportive atmosphere, strong teamwork, and a culture of accountability in an environment in which the direct-line supervisors for most staff are located elsewhere.
  • Ensure the sound management of Search for Common Ground – Europe and its operations and seek efficiencies in terms of field-HQ coordination and information flow and in the structuring and management of the entity’s operating budget.
  • Work with Global Finance to ensure effective financial oversight and audit-management for Search – Europe.
  • Ensure sound governance of the European entity and support Board and General Assembly meetings; align the entity with global governance processes and represent it at various internal decision-making fora.


External Relations & Partnership Development

  • Proactively develop and maintain relations with Government funders and other partners in Europe – including the foreign ministries and development agencies of the European Union and European Commission, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, Germany, France, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, and others – gathering and analyzing information on policy and funding priorities, and cultivating deeper strategic partnerships to advance the organization’s strategic goals.
  • Represent Search for Common Ground in relevant peacebuilding and international development fora in a manner that both asserts our unique insights and contributions to the broader field and that builds collegial relationships with key governmental and non- governmental stakeholders and influencers.
  • Work with the Global Affairs and Partnerships team and the Global Programs leadership to develop and advance annual fundraising and advocacy strategies, including strategising and coordinating visits of programme and executive leadership to Brussels and other European capitals for partnership development, outreach, advocacy, and fundraising; and overseeing the European Affairs and Partnerships Team in close coordination with the head of GAP.


Competency Behaviour Indicators (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities)

  • Working with People. The ability to respect the views and contributions of other team members; show empathy, listen, and support; consult others and share information and expertise; build team spirit and adapt to the team.
  • Advocacy. The ability to marshal, synthesize, and convey the collective expertise of Search’s global work to influence peers, policymakers and funders.
  • Flexibility. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and priorities, tolerate ambiguity, and adapt personal style to different people and situations.
  • Drive for Results and Efficiency. The ability to set quality standards, monitor and maintain quality of work, and set goals to achieve continuous improvement.
  • Relationship Management. The ability to manage interactions, provide service and support the organization while building an effective internal and external network.
  • Consultation. The ability to provide guidance to organizational stakeholders while applying creative problem-solving to address business needs.
  • Leadership and Navigation. The ability to manage and contribute to initiatives and processes within the organization while making progress toward change and continuous improvement.
  • Communication. The ability to effectively exchange information with others, to effectively deliver critical information, to gather information and to communicate with others.
  • Global and Cultural Effectiveness. The ability to value and consider the perspectives and backgrounds of all parties and be able to work cross-culturally.
  • Ethical Practice. The ability to integrate search vision, mission, core values, integrity, and accountability throughout all organizational and business practices.
  • Critical Evaluation. The ability to interpret information to make business decisions and recommendations based on keen analysis, best practices and an understanding of preferred outcomes.
  • Business Acumen. The ability to understand and apply information to contribute to the organization's strategic plan.
  • Developing others. The ability to provide mentorship, coaching and support to enhance performance and professional growth.


Education and Experience

  • Advanced qualifications in International Relations, Development Studies or a related area; or bachelors degree with relevant experience on ground.
  • Minimum of 20 years of progressive experience at a senior leadership level.
  • Strong knowledge of institutions, dynamics, and thematic priorities in the international development or humanitarian sectors across the EU and the larger European continent.
  • Existing network of key figures within EU and individual European Member State policy and development institutions.
  • Experience working collaboratively with a broad range of stakeholders, local government, officials, and international donors.
  • Spoken and written fluency in English and French.
  • Willingness and ability to travel internationally.
  • Highly organized and efficient to manage large portfolios.
  • Excellent communication and relationship-building skills.
  • Experience managing program activity consistent with the Search’s work at ‘in-country’, regional, and global levels.


Soft Skills

  • Dynamic and flexible self-starter with an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to be part of a growing international organization.
  • Ability to manage political and social pressures to make important and sound decisions.
  • Sufficiently experienced to command the respect of current leadership and external peers and partners.
  • An excellent team-builder and manager of people.
  • Ability to demonstrate managerial courage and decision-making.
  • Resourceful and able to find cost-effective creative solutions to address complex challenges and strengthen the organization’s operational capacity.
  • Ability to value and consider the perspectives of all parties and to work across diverse cultures.
  • Ability to integrate Search vision, mission and core values, integrity and accountability throughout all organizational and business practices and lead by example.


Terms of Appointment

It is a permanent position with a 1-year renewable contract based on performance.

There is a competitive compensation and benefits package for the position.


Role Location

  • Based in Brussels, with hybrid office environment conditions.
  • Ability to travel internationally at least 30%.


How to Apply

To apply for this position, please ensure you complete the Application Form provided below by 07 August 2024 (23:59 hrs, GMT +2). It is essential that you submit your CV in English, specifically in Microsoft Word format (.doc/.docx).


Applications in other languages or formats will not be considered.


Rest assured, all information will be handled with the utmost confidentiality.


SRI Executive is exclusively retained by Search for Common Ground to undertake this assignment.

Application form

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