Director of Administration

Applications procedure
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    Tokyo, Japan
    UTC 0

    Organisational Unit: UNU Centre, Tokyo, Japan

    About the United Nations University

    The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in research, postgraduate training, and dissemination of knowledge in furtherance of the purposes and principles of the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States. It serves as a think tank for the United Nations system, contributes to capacity building, particularly in developing countries, and provides a platform for new and creative ideas and dialogue. With more than 400 researchers in 13 countries, UNU’s work spans the full breadth of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The University also maintains more than 200 collaborations with UN agencies and leading universities and research institutions.

    The Administration division is responsible for developing and implementing administrative policies governing the United Nations University and its global network of research and training centres and programmes. The division reviews and promulgates organisational standards; oversees facility management operations; and delivers services to internal clients in the areas of financial management, including financial statements, as well as providing support for human resources management and procurement. The division is located at the United Nations University’s Headquarters in Tokyo and operates a service centre in Putrajaya, Malaysia.


    The Director of Administration leads a team of professionals in support of the vision and strategic directions established by the UNU Rector (a UN Under-Secretary-General). In exercising his/her functions, the Director of Administration has significant scope for innovation and leadership, identifying and championing improvements in organisational performance and coherence in furtherance of organisational priorities. The Director of Administration is a member of the Management Group and reports directly to the Rector of the United Nations University.

    The Director of Administration is expected to provide strategic advice to the Rector and senior staff in several key areas, including financial sustainability and compliance, governance, audit, and risk management. She/he will also ensure the provision of efficient, reliable, client-oriented administrative services to UNU personnel and administrative focal points across the University in line with the University Charter, the decisions of the University Council (governing board), and the United Nations Financial and Staff Rules and Regulations.

    Other key responsibilities include:

    • identifying opportunities and risks across a range of issue areas, including financial and human resource management, procurement, and building management; and proposing organisational strategies to address the opportunities and risks identified
    • reviewing and improving principles and standards for the effective and efficient management of human and financial resources across the global UNU system
    • communicating management thinking and organisational directions for key stakeholders including, but not limited to, external audit teams, donor governments, the University Council, and the University personnel
    • translating organisational goals into implementable strategies delivered by a team of skilled and client-oriented professionals in the Administration division, coached and motivated by the division Director
    • leading the preparation of the biennial budgets for submission to the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions and the University’s Counci;
    • exercising strategic oversight over the performance of the the University’s Endowment Fund, and other investmentcand financial resources
    • ensuring the timely preparation of the University’s financial reports and statements, and compliance with the relevant UN administrative regulations, including corporate risk management

    The Director of Administration will keep the Rector and senior management informed of the status of the University’s administrative and related activities and operations, drawing attention to policy and other issues that may arise from time to time, and assist in their resolution.

    Required qualifications

    Required qualifications include:

    • advanced degree in business or public administration, or other relevant field
    • at least 15 years of progressively responsible professional experience, at least 10 years of which have been at a senior level in the area of administration, including human resources management, and finance and budget planning and execution, preferably in an academic institution, development agency, or United Nations entity
    • senior experience at the international level with a strong record of results backed by experience in the management of complex corporate functions, ideally in large international organisations
    • excellent command of written and spoken English, as well as the ability to write clearly, concisely, and analytically; working knowledge French is desirable, and knowledge of another UN official language would be an asset
    • proven ability to work under pressure, managing complex organisational initiatives, as well as experience in a supervisory role with large teams
    • experience managing relationships with high-level government officials would be highly beneficial
    • knowledge of UN regulations and rules, and UN administrative structures, methods and processes, would be a considerable asset
    • a commitment to gender inclusivity and fostering harmonious working relationships with people of different ages, and national and cultural backgrounds, is essential

    Applications from female candidates are particularly encouraged.


    Approximate net annual salary of US$ 161,224 including post adjustment, which is subject to change. The post carries the standard set of United Nations entitlements/benefits, including participation in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, the possibility of participation in a health insurance programme, education grants for eligible children, removal expenses, and home leave.

    For more specific information please visit

    The Rector reserves the right to appoint suitable candidates at a lower category.

    Selection process

    Shortlisted candidates will be required to complete a written assignment as part of the recruitment process. Interviews will be held by videoconference.

    The Director of Administration shall be appointed by the Rector following one or more interviews.

    Duration of contract

    The period of initial contract is for a one-year term with the possibility of renewal, subject to requirements and satisfactory work performance. The mandatory retirement age in the United Nations is 65.

    Starting date

    It is expected that the appointee will take up the position by January/February 2019.

  • Interested applicants are encouraged to apply by email and should submit:

    • a cover letter setting out: (1) the motivations for applying for the post and (2) how the candidate’s qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
    • full curriculum vitae
    • a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form
  • By Post:

    c/o Office of the Rector, United Nations University Headquarters
    53-70, Jingumae 5-chome
    Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925

    By Email: