REF seeks new Executive Director

Roma Education Fund


The Roma Education Fund (REF) is seeking its next Executive Director to lead the organization in the fulfilment of its strategy and objectives. REF’s mission is to contribute to closing the gap in educational outcomes between Roma and non-Roma, including through the desegregation of education systems. Following the new Strategic Framework adopted in 2018, REF strives to achieve its objectives by scaling up interventions that have been successfully piloted, supporting activities that are respectful and inclusive of Roma at all levels of education, providing a forum for advocacy and discussion of Roma education issues, and serving as a centralized source of information on Roma education issues.

Eligibility criteria for a successful candidate:

  • Skills and abilities to ensure a safe and successful completion of transition of Headquarters (HQ) from Budapest, Hungary, to Belgrade, Serbia;
  • A successful track record of at least five years managing staff, resources and fiduciary responsibilities with proven experience in results based management and strategic thinking in a multicultural environment;
  • Knowledge of education policy and practice as they relate to Roma education;
  • Skills and experience in advocacy and policy dialogue in difficult environments;
  • Experience leading an organization, department or project through a period of growth;
  • Demonstrated success in managing complex, international programs and projects;
  • The ability to build strong relationships, and work in a supportive manner alongside colleagues, volunteers, and stakeholders;
  • Proven ability to manage own professional development and willingness to learn;
  • A proven track record of raising funds from a variety of sources (governmental, international organization, private);
  • Familiarity with policies of international organizations in Europe, especially the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the OSCE;
  • Experience with minority inclusion issues, programs and projects;
  • Demonstrated commitment to equal opportunities and diversity;
  • The highest personal integrity;
  • Readiness for extensive travel to supervise REF entities in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans;
  • Excellent spoken and written English. Knowledge of other relevant European languages spoken in Central and Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans, including Romanes, will be an advantage;
  • A Master’s Degree or equivalent academic qualification in a relevant field of study, such as education, social science, political science, management or economics.

The Executive Director will have following duties:

  • Manage REF’s operations in order to implement its strategic objectives and continue increasing flexibility, efficiency and effectiveness of programs;
  • Recruit, manage and develop REF staff to ensure the right balance of skills and knowledge and to motivate and support staff performance and growth;
  • Plan for and oversee the development and growth of REF, including the development of new legal entities in target countries subject to approval by the Board.
  • Lead fundraising efforts to maintain operations and for future growth;
  • Act as the primary contact for donors, maintaining effective communication, and ensuring timely reporting and maximum transparency;
  • Plan and manage REF’s budget and ensure the highest level of fiscal accountability and integrity;
  • Develop strong collaborative links with all stakeholders, especially Roma communities and organizations, pro-Roma civil society, municipal and national governments, international organizations and donors;
  • Represent REF externally to support education policy change and new and existing programs, especially with international organizations and governments (including ministries of education and local governments);
  • Provide timely and clear information and advice to the REF Boards;
  • Serve as Secretary to the REF Boards;
  • Ensure all REF decisions and actions are taken in line with existing policies and that accurate and complete records are kept;
  • Sustain the independence, objectivity and integrity of REF and its programs.

Salary, starting date and location:

Salary and employment conditions will be established by the Board of Trustees and will be commensurate with the level of skills and experience expected of the Executive Director.

The Executive Director will be employed under Serbian law. The starting date for the position is January 1, 2020.  The new Executive Director will serve in the new REF HQ location in Belgrade, Serbia.

How to apply?

Applications should include:

  • An up-to-date professional biography;
  • A letter of motivation (maximum 500 words);
  • A concept note of 1500 words outlining the applicant’s vision of REF’s leadership and management
  • The names of three references who may be contacted at an appropriate point in the recruitment process.

Candidates of self-declared Roma origin are particularly encouraged to apply.
Applications from all suitably qualified, irrespective of gender, disability, marital or parental status, racial, ethnic or social origin, color, religion, belief, or sexual orientation are welcome.

These materials should be sent to REF Board Chair, Andrzej Mirga, at:

The deadline for applications is September 1, 2019.


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