Chief of Staff

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    Professional (P-3)
    Tokyo, Japan
    UTC +9

    United Nations University

    For the past four decades, UNU has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on the pressing global problems of human survival, conflict prevention, development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 13 countries, UNU’s work spans the full breadth of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), generating policy-relevant knowledge to effect positive global change. UNU maintains more than 200 collaborations with UN agencies, and leading universities and research institutions across the globe.

    Job description

    UNU is recruiting a Chief of Staff in the organisation’s executive office (Office of the Rector) in Tokyo, Japan. This is a key position in strategy and operations management for a global research organisation. The Chief of Staff plays a critical support role, assisting the Executive Officer and the Rector in the day-to-day management of University affairs and in the implementation of key institutional priorities.

    Working closely with and reporting to the Executive Officer, the Chief of Staff will assist in the coordination of governance and management priorities for the global UNU network of institutes and programmes. S/he will be expected to provide strategic management input in a number of portfolios. The essential functions include:

    • supporting strategic planning, institutional development, project/budget development, and implementation
    • coordination and communications both within the University and with the greater UN system
    • partnership management and public relations

    The Chief of Staff will also support the Executive Officer in fostering inclusive and productive relationships throughout UNU and with key stakeholders. The ideal candidate will be results-driven, have a track record supporting the formulation and implementation of management decisions, and exhibit excellent judgment, emotional intelligence, and personal integrity.

    Required qualifications and experience

    Required qualifications and experience include:

    • an advanced university degree in international affairs, political science, law, business, or a related field
    • at least five (5) years of gradually progressing relevant experience, at least three (3) years of which in a management role — ideally in a research/academic institution or an international organisation
    • experience in policy development and/or coordination
    • experience with programme and budget planning and execution
    • ability to listen effectively to others, identify key issues in complex situations and communicate decisions
    • exposure to the United Nations legal framework and key administrative functions/procedures
    • political acumen and exposure to international discussions/decision-making processes
    • fluency in English, along with excellent drafting, presentation, and interpersonal skills
    • ability to work under pressure and handle stress
    • demonstrable commitment to staff welfare and gender equity
    • ability to interact with colleagues of diverse ages, national, cultural, and religious backgrounds and with political representatives and diverse ethnic, cultural, and political communities

    Other desirable experience/competencies include:

    • fluency in Japanese or an official language of the United Nations, such as French
    • experience in managing and implementing academic projects or other similar initiatives
    • experience with organisational performance management and/or change management
    • experience creating/sustaining international networks and partnerships

    UNU is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious, and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities to apply and become part of the organisation.

    UNU has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNU, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination.


    Approximate net salary (free of tax) of US$97,906 p.a. (single status) including post adjustment. Post adjustment is subject to change.

    The post carries the standard set of United Nations benefits and entitlements for international positions in the UN Common Systems, including participation in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, the possibility of participation in a health insurance programme, education grant, removal expenses and home leave. For more information, please visit

    The Rector reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a level below the level advertised.

    Duration of contract

    This is a full-time, fixed-term appointment. The period of initial contract would be for a term of one year with the likelihood of renewal on the basis of excellent performance. The mandatory retirement age in the United Nations is 65 years.

    Staff members of the United Nations University are international civil servants subject to the authority of the Rector and may be assigned to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations University.

    Starting date

    1 July 2020.

  • Interested applicants should submit their applications by email (to, and must include the following:

    • a cover letter setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
    • a curriculum vitae and a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form; please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations
    • a list of major research/project funding obtained and implemented over the last seven (7) years, indicating the amount and your role
    • a list of major publications
    • names, addresses, and fax numbers of three references
    • an indication of the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2020/UNU/HQ/RO/FTA/COS/37117)

    Please note that applications received after the closing date will not be considered.

    All shortlisted applicants will be required to complete a written assignment.