ABOUT UNITED RELIGIONS INITIATIVE
The United Religions Initiative (URI) is the largest grassroots interfaith network, with members & activities in more than 110 countries. URI was founded in the year 2000 as a non-profit organization. The Purpose of URI is threefold: to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.
URI connects grassroots groups and individuals working in support of its Purpose across the globe into a vibrant network. Group members of the network are called Cooperation Circles (CCs). There are currently 1,116 CCs in 110 countries.
- CCs vary in size, with a minimum of 7 members. Some are quite large and can include established organizations.
- CCs are interfaith by nature, so include a diversity of beliefs. Each CC has members from at least 3 different religions, indigenous traditions or spiritual expressions.
- CCs agree to subscribe to URI’s Preamble, Purpose, and Principles (website: uri.org/PPP).
- CCs conduct projects or programs in URI’s 14 Action Areas including: the Environment, Education, Health & Social Services, Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples, Peacebuilding, Women, and Youth.
- CCs are independent, self-governed, and self-funded. They do not receive funding from URI.
URI serves the network and keeps it growing & vibrant through its eight regions, and a small Global Support Office with remote staff in seven countries. URI is governed by a Global Council of Trustees elected by & from member CCs. For more information visit www.uri.org.
SUMMARY OF THE POSITION
Asia’s more than 400 CCs make it URI’s most active region. The Asia Regional Director oversees development & implementation of URI’s strategy for growth and impact in the region, focusing on the countries of South Asia: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, and Afghanistan. The Regional Director will hold the regional big picture and will create opportunities for URI to increase its vibrancy, visibility and connections at local and national levels. The position will support processes and practices that allow for greater vibrancy and fluidity of engagement, information flow, and connection among CCs within the network.
The Regional Director will create and maintain strong relationships that advance the Purpose of the URI as a regional and global network of interfaith peacebuilders committed to nonviolence.
The position will inspire and oversee annual growth in the quality and quantity of CCs joining the network, engage partners and volunteers contributing to the work, and support energized interactions and collaborations among network members. This will be accomplished through supervising & collaborating with national and zonal staff, and developing direct relationships with prospective and actual CCs in countries that do not currently have staff. The Regional Director will help recruit and engage volunteer contributors in the region, support staff development and execution of a robust communications strategy to connect regional network members, facilitate partnerships between regional staff and Global Council Trustees from the region to maximize the reach and impact of the regional network, and build relationships with new partners at country and regional levels. The position will ensure compliance with all country laws and regulations, and with URI Policies and Procedures. The Regional Director will personally model and will promote staff and CC commitment to URI’s Purpose, Preamble and Principles. The position is supervised by the Director of Global Operations (DGO).
- Collaborate with colleagues and volunteers to weave the many aspects of the Asia URI network – using in-person gatherings and online tools/infrastructure – to create a stronger interconnected grassroots movement toward peace, justice and healing in the region. Support CCs in the network to proactively collaborate on projects and contribute skills as well as information to benefit one another and advance the network’s objectives.
- Help establish, seed, and offer ongoing support for an effective regional peer-to-peer communications strategy – utilizing both in-person and online tools and infrastructure – to connect CCs within the region to one another and to the global network.
- Encourage creativity and stimulate and support Asia country staff leaders, working together with Global Council Trustees in the region, to foster an active, engaged, and connected CC network in their countries as a part of the larger global CC network.
- Work with the Director of Global Operations (DGO) to recruit staff and volunteers in Asia as needed.
- Together with staff and Trustees in the region, assess the needs of the network members and community regarding training and capacity building, and identify human and financial resources to provide a response.
- Build partnerships and create programs in conjunction with GSO Directors to increase potentials for impact, shared learning, and violence reduction in Asia.
- Develop relationships which may lead to raising funds, friends, volunteer energy, and other resources for URI in the Asia region, possibly working with GSO and the Global Council to form a regional advisory council to engage high-impact regional leaders in the work of URI.
Cooperation Circle Support in Countries with no URI Staff
- Engage directly with CCs and enliven the CC network in countries where URI currently has no staff.
- Support the establishment of new CCs in countries where URI currently has a presence but no staff.
- Expand the network into countries in South Asia where URI does not currently have a presence.
- Supervise all South Asia country staff leaders (including National and Regional Coordinators & CC Liaisons, depending on the country) as they support and expand a vibrant domestic CC network.
- In conjunction with Director of Global Operations, ensure all South Asia Country staff leaders’ job descriptions are suitable for the region and align with URI goals for priority growth and impact.
- Guide & support South Asia country staff and Trustee leaders to do the following in support of URI’s purpose:
- Work to deepen support of current CCs to enhance their impact.
- Communicate clearly and responsibly with staff, Trustees, and CCs, including using appreciative inquiry, to foster networking and relationships among CCs.
- Weave connections between and among CCs, to provide inspiration, mutual support, and to magnify CC and network impact.
- Enliven zonal and regional CC networks, and to create and amplify opportunities for connection with the global CC network.
- Foster the growth of new CCs in each country in the region.
- Ensure that CCs are working in alignment with URI PPPs.
- Oversee annual regional work plan design, implementation, and related reporting.
- Oversee development and implementation of program budgets, including regular reporting.
- Manage a small resourceful regional office to emphasize efficient, effective CC support, harnessing and nurturing skilled volunteer energy within the network.
- Meet remotely 1:1 at least monthly with all supervisees, and maintain ongoing daily and weekly direct contact with them via Zoom, WhatsApp, or phone.
- Conduct Mid-year and Year-end Performance Reviews of all South Asia Country staff leaders.
The Asia Regional Director is the key staff member responsible for overseeing legal and financial compliance of URI operations in the region in conjunction with the GSO. This includes:
- Work with the India National Coordinator and GSO staff to ensure full compliance with FCRA and other relevant regulations in India.
- Work with the India National Coordinator and the DGO to ensure effective working relationships with URI’s funders and/or partner agencies.
- Work with the India National Coordinator and GSO staff to establish the best long-term regional compliance structure in India, liaising between it and GSO
- Work with the DGO and GSO staff to identify compliance requirements, and to create and implement a plan to achieve compliance with laws and regulations in other South Asian countries where URI has a presence.
- Intentionally build community among all Asia country staff leaders and Trustees in the region so they function as a coherent supportive team, with clearly defined and mutually supportive roles, working toward a jointly held vision fulfilling all aspects of URI’s Purpose.
- Build relationships with CCs, amplify their work and stories, and weave relationships among CCs to support the vibrancy of the regional network, as needed.
- In consultation with the DGO, proactively address opportunities and challenges in the region raised by CCs, Trustees, other staff, and stakeholders.
- Attend regular staff meetings with other colleagues regionally and globally to develop and share learnings and effective practices, building strong working relationships.
- Work with global staff colleagues to coordinate efforts to expand URI growth and impact across Asia.
Financial Management & Reporting
- Provide support and financial oversight as needed to country staff leaders in South Asia.
- In consultation with the regional Trustees and DGO, develop an annual work plan and budget request to address CC support in areas of South Asia where there are no current staff.
- Submit two formal financial reports to the Global Support Office per year, including detailed narrative report, addressing areas of South Asia where there are no current staff.
- Maintain appropriate financial safeguards and records for the region, possibly including a URI bank account.
- Working with regional staff and volunteers, ensure that stories and vignettes of inspiration and impact from the field, as well as best practices from CC’s, are identified and presented regularly in written and/or graphical form, for dissemination throughout the global network.
- Maintain consistent contact and meet regularly with DGO.
- Attend appropriate regional and global staff meetings, meetings with Trustees, and gatherings with CCs in the region
- Actively participate in URI global staff community through email, WhatsApp, Zoom, and other forms of communication.
Educational qualifications: Any graduate with 15+ years of work experience, of which at least 8-10 years includes promoting interfaith understanding and organizing, or grassroots organizing/movement building, or work focused on peace, justice or healing. Significant learnings based on network building and supervision experience in diverse contexts.
Computer proficiency: Strong knowledge of Microsoft office tools, Google Drive/Docs, Zoom, WhatsApp, skype and other team meeting apps. Strong experience with digital graphics, storytelling, and social media. Experience with data systems and online community-building network platforms is strongly preferred.
Other skills: Knowledge of finance, legal and taxation regulations of the region regarding international engagement will be an added advantage.
Languages: Read, write, speak fluent English. Any additional other languages will be beneficial.
- Strong intrinsic motivation and passion to work with sensitivity and respect across diverse cultures, faiths, and spiritual traditions.
- Strong organizing & leadership skills, including: facilitation, project management, setting priorities and goals, collaboration, storytelling, and superior communication skills (listening, speaking, writing).
- Experience supervising staff to maximize effectiveness and motivate measurable results.
- Experience inspiring, working with, and harnessing the energy of volunteers.
- Experience working with and driving collaboration among diverse stakeholders.
- Experience with conflict mediation and navigating difficult or sensitive conversations.
- Proven experience working effectively in cross-cultural contexts and with diverse teams in South Asia.
- Commitment to utilizing consistent, clear, candid communication as crucial to building and maintaining virtual relationships.
- Commitment to humility, flexibility, and to personal and professional integrity
- You must be someone who loves working remotely, is comfortable working alone, AND simultaneously is able to create and facilitate varied remote teams covering large geographic distances.
- Enjoyment of actively participating as a team member.
- Ease with working collaboratively and cooperatively in shared decision-making processes.
- Commitment to personal and organizational learning as part of a diverse global community.
- Commitment to raising both celebrations and challenging issues, and to engage reflectively in related conversations
- The Regional Director upholds and models the Preamble, Purpose and Principles stated in the URI Charter (see https://uri.org/what-we-do/charter).
- Ability to travel domestically and internationally, comfortable doing so alone.
- Experience with raising funds is a plus.
- Own a personal computer with ready access to consistently reliable strong wifi.
- Own a telephone with capacity to use WhatsApp.
- Have occasional access to a printer and photocopier as needed.
TERM: This is a full-time position
STIPEND: Commensurate with experience & similar non-profit positions within Asia
LOCATION: The successful candidate will live in South Asia.
Complete the application which is a separate word document. Send it with a cover letter stating why you believe your qualifications are a match for the position, your CV, a copy of the information page of your passport, and two professional references including name, contact details, and your association with them. Send all materials to [email protected]. Write “ARD Application” and your surname in the subject line of the email. Applications will be accepted until 7:00 pm IST May 15, 2023 or until the position is filled.