Principal Communications Specialist

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    Tokyo, Japan
    UTC +9

    Organisational Unit: UNU Office of Communications

    About UN University (UNU)

    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, 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.

    About the Office of Communications

    The Office of Communications (OC) at UNU Centre in Tokyo implements and oversees the UNU’s communications strategy, including web, visual identity, branding, media relations, and content development/delivery in English and Japanese. The OC works in collaboration with communications focal points across the university’s global network of institutes and programmes to best articulate and meet UNU’s communications goals.

    Specifically, the OC:

    • develops and maintains UNU’s core web platform, with input from institutes and stakeholders
    • employs social media channels to further the reach of UNU’s output
    • leads development of UNU’s brand/identity and guides its implementation and elaboration
    • establishes the editorial tone and style for core communications outputs (such as the UNU website, Our World web magazine, annual report, and promotional materials), and provides editorial guidance and support
    • coordinates local and international media activities with press and media outlets, often in collaboration with focal points and partners
    • provides general support, training, and guidance to UNU’s global network of institutes


    Working under the supervision of the Head of Communications, and in close cooperation with other Office of Communications staff, the Principal Communications Specialist will:

    • co-create and support the implementation of UNU’s Global Communications Strategy
    • act as senior editor, writer, and content manager for UNU’s most-visited web properties — the flagship website ( and the primary research blog, Our World (
    • write and edit op-eds, blogs, press releases, annual reports, newsletters, speeches, and other thought-leadership materials to promote the work of UNU
    • oversee and advise on the quality and tone of public facing content
    • source, produce, edit, and curate photography for UNU websites, print projects, events, and high-level UN Secretariat visits
    • collaborate with global development experts to transform complex academic outputs into compelling narratives, presentations, and communications products
    • curate content and develop messaging for UNU’s monthly e-newsletter INSIGHTs
    • coordinate/moderate content elements of UNU’s web/rebranding process and act as focal point/liaison between UNU communicators and content strategy vendor(s)
    • develop and lead trainings for UNU staff and students on topics including science writing and website content development
    • conduct other duties as assigned

    Required qualifications and experience

    Required qualifications and experience include:

    • a Master’s degree in communications, journalism, international development or a related field is preferred; a bachelor’s degree plus an additional 3 years of experience may suffice
    • minimum 3 years of experience translating science writing for more general audiences
    • minimum 3 years of experience in website content management
    • extensive knowledge of multiple website content management systems including WordPress
    • extensive experience drafting written products in various forms, including press releases, thought pieces, and long-form articles
    • exemplary English reading, speaking, and writing skills
    • working proficiency with Adobe Creative Suite applications including Lightroom, Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator
    • working proficiency in HTML/CSS and experience with the collaboration platforms Trello and Slack
    • experience working in international environments as part of the multilateral process
    • strong knowledge of sustainable development topics preferred
    • the ideal candidate will be a detail-oriented team player, able to work within tight deadlines and motivate others

    UNU is an inclusive employer and endeavors to create a culture of inclusiveness. Applications from suitably qualified female candidates or underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged.


    Approximate net salary (free of tax) of US$74,644.69 per annum including post adjustment, which is subject to change. The post carries the standard set of UN entitlements/benefits, including participation in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, the possibility of participation in a health insurance programme, education grant for eligible children, removal expenses, and home leave. For more information please visit:

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

    Duration of contract

    This is full-time employment. The period of initial contract will be for one year with the possibility of renewal.

    Starting date

    1 January, 2020.


  • Interested applicants should submit their application materials by email to

    Applications must include the following:

    • a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form; please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations
    • a cover letter detailing how your qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position and the specific contributions you can make to the UNU; please include the vacancy announcement reference number (2018/UNU/HQ/OC/FTA/PCS/00143537)
    • links (or separate files) to any recent work that demonstrates your skills; this can include writing samples, website links, campaign materials etc.




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