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Vice President, Refugee Programs – Middle East

International Impact | New York, NY | Full Time

Job Description

Sesame Workshop is looking for  Vice President, Refugee Programs – Middle East.   The Vice President (VP) reports to the Senior Vice President of International Social Impact. The right candidate will focus on program development, program management and strategic planning. His/her work will hold a specific focus on Sesame Workshop’s Humanitarian Initiative in the Syrian response region. The position is based in New York City with frequent travel to the Syrian response region as needed.


Sesame Workshop and the IRC are embarking on a life-changing, multi-year intervention to bring vital early learning and nurturing care to children and families affected by the ongoing civil war in Syria. Part of the project will be to create multimedia programming for children affected by the conflict. Together with the IRC, a leading provider of life-saving assistance to people in crisis context for over 80 years, we will develop a pliant platform to reach young children and their caregivers wherever they are and measure how we can impact their lives. For more information, please visit: .


The VP, Refugee Programs is responsible for three key objectives:

  • Sesame Workshop’s (SW’s) strategy for and execution of a large-scale humanitarian initiative in the Syria response region
  • Overseeing a large team of directors, producers and managers
  • Manages key strategic relationships with various partners including funder, implementation, distribution and government partners (serving as the focal point to the program funder)


Responsibilities Include:


Leadership of the Humanitarian Initiative

  • Develop program strategy and plan in coordination with program team members, the IRC as a key implementation partner, government partners and primary funder
  • Oversee the program operations and day to day leadership of Sesame Workshop’s program team:  provide management guidance, strategies for growth and operational assistance, build and lead strategic partnerships
  • Ensure our programs are designed to maximize effectiveness, quality and impact
  • help drive efficiencies and performance, enable more effective program innovation, design, and delivery
  • Overall P&L responsibility for the Humanitarian Initiative operations


Strategic Planning

  • Help identify, analyze and present programmatic opportunities
  • Manage, create communications and presentations for senior management that fuse financial, performance, strategic and competitive information about the program cohesively
  • Thoroughly assess new business opportunities (both qualitatively and quantitatively); help develop complete program plans



  • Masters in Management, Development, Education, Public Health or related field is a plus
  • 15+ years of professional experience in a general management role, working internationally and across cultures 
  • Experience in the humanitarian sector for child protection and/or early childhood development
  • Experience working in and/or living in the Middle East/ North Africa region (Syria response region a plus)
  • Strategic and business planning experience. Management consulting experience desirable
  • Coalition building skills to balance, negotiate and work with a variety of internal/external stakeholders.
  • Proven ability to effectively lead a large team is required
  • High level of knowledge building strategic partnerships with potential of connecting programs to funding while creatively generating other resources.  
  • Thorough understanding of project management; able to work effectively under pressure to meet tight deadlines and goals
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; persuasive, credible, and polished communicator with excellent interpersonal and multidisciplinary project skills.
  • Willingness to travel as needed and work across multiple time zones


Department Information

Sesame Workshop’s International Social Impact department, a division of Social Impact and Philanthropy, develops and implements Sesame’s powerful initiatives to serve children and families around the world, builds strong partnerships and coalitions to maximize reach and impact.  Building upon the familiarity and appeal of the trusted, beloved Sesame Street characters – and their global counterparts – we create and disseminate unique educational resources and tools for families most in need.  Sesame’s research-driven initiatives reach many children who would otherwise have little or no access to early childhood education, and support all aspects of children’s development – including healthy habits, cognitive development in areas such as early literacy and math, and social-emotional well-being and resilience. We reach and engage children and the important adults in their families and communities using multiple media platforms and innovative strategies – from television and radio to digital media, mobile technologies, books, E-books, magazines, classroom materials, teacher/provider training, social media, and more.