(Associate) Director, Policy and Training - J-PAL MENA

  • Egypt
Start Date (Earliest):
Length of Commitment:
More than two years

Reports to: Executive Director, The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab Middle East and North Africa Region

Purpose: The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab’s Middle East and North Africa (J-PAL MENA) regional office is based at The American University in Cairo (AUC) School of Business. J-PAL is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of more than 200 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL draws on results from randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty.

The job holder will guide expanding the depth, quality, and policy-relevance of J-PAL MENA’s policy and training portfolio and partnerships with donors and policymakers in Egypt, working to support the use of evidence in decision-making. He/she should be able to identify promising partners in governments and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and structure partnerships that meet partners’ needs and align with J-PAL’s mission. The job holder will have substantial responsibility for guiding policy and training strategy across the region, and for leading, together with the executive director, fundraising efforts for J-PAL MENA research and policy initiatives. Also, oversee all external communications, seeking to inform stakeholders about the use of evidence in decision-making and policy impact of more effective programs. He/she will be a member of the J-PAL MENA senior management team, helping to set and execute on J-PAL MENA strategy, playing an important role in day-to-day management of policy, communications, and training teams.



  • Promote and support the use of randomized evaluations, disseminate evidence to inform social policy, and develop and manage high-level relationships with donors, policymakers, media, and researchers
  • Advance J-PAL MENA’s partnerships with key stakeholders to ensure that evidence contributes to public discourse around some of the most pressing questions in social policy, and to support the development of a culture of evidence use in policymaking
  • Lead policy outreach and execution to scale effective social programs and policies:
  • Promote the value of evidence-based policymaking, increase the demand for evidence, and translate research into policy, in collaboration with the J-PAL MENA team
  • Lead J-PAL MENA staff in developing, launching, and managing projects that will effectively move research into action through expanded policy outreach and the creation of frameworks for scaling of effective social programs and policies
  • Hone sectoral expertise across several sectors (e.g. labor, climate change, financial inclusion, humanitarian assistance gender, education, social protection and so on) that are priorities for policymakers, bridging major policy challenges in the region with lessons from the evidence base on those topics
  • Cultivate and manage inclusive collaborations with critical stakeholders and funders:
  • Develop relationships with governments, not-for-profits, the private sector, media, the AUC community, J-PAL’s network of affiliated professors, and communities affected by poverty to disseminate lessons from randomized evaluations and promote evidence-informed decision-making
  • Lead Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) negotiations with government and NGO partners
  • Oversee new research project matchmaking efforts
  • Fundraise to significantly expand randomized evaluations conducted in MENA:
  • Contribute to efforts to raise major funding. This includes donor prospecting, proposal drafting, relationship cultivation, and stewardship
  • Represent J-PAL MENA in meetings with donors and cultivate relationships with existing and prospective funders. Specifically, the director of policy and training will fundraise, together with the executive director, for major gifts and grants to fund research on priority policy issues facing decision-makers in the MENA region
  • Manage a portfolio of individual, corporate, and foundation donors and will secure funding for J-PAL MENA’s policy work by cultivating and managing relationships with local and international philanthropic funders
  • Guide the set-up and provide strategic guidance to policy staff in managing the fund, involving competitive processes that provide funding and technical assistance to support randomized evaluations, as well as policy efforts to translate lessons from the research into actionable policy guidance, after successful fundraising
  • Lead training efforts to develop evidence use among partners in governments, NGOs, and donors:
  • Promote a culture of evidence-informed decision-making by leading the training team to design and deliver custom training for policymakers, adapting pedagogical insights to deliver effective trainings for busy policy professionals
  • Leverage training partnerships to identify broader opportunities to share evidence to inform decision making, or to launch new randomized evaluations
  • Ensure training content balances technical accuracy with accessibility for participants from a range of backgrounds
  • Provide strategic leadership to advance J-PAL MENA’s goals:
  • Contribute actively to the overall strategic planning and leadership of J-PAL MENA and collaborate with senior leadership at J-PAL’s global and other regional offices to ensure that best practices are shared and implemented
  • Contribute to the design and creation of new systems and modifications to existing systems to maximize functionality and effectiveness across J-PAL MENA at AUC and to the planning and management of J-PAL MENA’s annual operating budget
  • Represent J-PAL MENA in high-profile public settings:
  • Represent J-PAL MENA at high-profile events, lecture at training events
  • Participate in high stakes meetings regularly to effectively communicate J-PAL MENA’s work and influence to high-level decision makers
  • Manage and support talented policy and training managerial level team:
  • Mentor and supervise the teams on policy work, partnership development, training development and delivery, and proposal writing
  • Identify staffing needs and actively engage in recruiting and hiring of policy and training staff
  • Provide strategic leadership and direction to the policy and communications and training staff to set and meet clearly defined goals and to ensure quality of communications plans and policy publications
  • Plan, manage and implement project budgets for the portfolio of policy and training partnerships at J-PAL MENA, in coordination with the finance and operations vertical
  • Streamline project funding matters and systems for proposal writing and donor reporting.
  • Coordinate to ensure adoption of policy and training best practices from across J-PAL regional offices and Global Policy and Communications and Training verticals.
  • Perform additional duties as assigned



Minimum Education Requirements:

  • Master or higher in development economics, international affairs, international public policy, or related field; or, an equivalent degree in another field with extensive experience in these areas. This has to include graduate coursework in microeconomics, econometrics, and development economics


  • 12+ years of relevant work experience including work related to poverty reduction, international development, impact evaluations, evidence-informed policymaking, and strategic communications
  • Demonstrated understanding of the processes, drivers, and constraints of policy-making; deep experience working with government, developing or influencing policy preferred
  • Demonstrated strong ability to interact with very high-level contacts in public policy and media, for example, contact with senior functionaries in governments, NGOs, foundations, multilateral aid agencies and press
  • Experience, comfort and expertise in public speaking will be required to represent J-PAL at various conferences and other public commitments
  • Demonstrated fundraising success
  • Experience conducting and/or supervising impact evaluations including randomized evaluations strongly preferred


  • Ability to manage complex, multi-year projects from conception to completion
  • Strategic thinking and ability to handle multiple projects, push forward external stakeholders, meet deadlines, and effectively manage time
  • A willingness to work hard, be self-motivated, and learn will be essential for doing well in this position
  • A strong technical understanding of economics and knowledge of development policy issues and impact evaluations
  • Demonstrated leadership and management experience, including hiring, training, and managing a diverse team to successfully complete projects on tight deadlines; efficient in managing teams, able to prioritize, plan and organize work in a challenging and dynamic work environment
  • Excellent writing skills are required. Experience writing articles for print and online publications and dealing with the media will be a plus
  • Strong analytical abilities and demonstrated ability to understand and communicate findings from rigorous quantitative research
  • o Attention to detail and advanced writing and presentation skills for communicating policy lessons from academic papers in ways that policymakers understand. This requires clear, precise, non-technical writing, and confident, effective public speaking skills in Arabic and English
  • Willingness to travel domestically in Egypt and occasionally internationally
  • Ability to manage budgets

Placement is based on the candidate's experience and skills. Only candidates who make it to the shortlist will be contacted.

The American University of Cairo is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply

Please apply through the Google Form application. You will be asked to upload a cover letter and a CV or resume. The cover letter should discuss your fit for and interest in the position and J-PAL. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.