Researcher

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
Washington, DC
$50,000 – $60,000 per year (depending on qualifications and experience)

Closing Date

May 24, 2021

About USCIRF

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. USCIRF reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations, using international standards to do so, and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the Congressional leadership of both political parties and Commissioners’ work is supported by a professional, nonpartisan staff. More information about USCIRF is available at www.uscirf.gov.

USCIRF is an equal opportunity employer.

Job Summary

USCIRF is seeking a Researcher with a focus on USCIRF’s work that directs attention to individuals imprisoned for exercising their freedom of religion or belief and other victims of certain religious freedom violations, including the Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) Victims List and the Religious Prisoners of Conscience (RPOC) Project. The Researcher will: maintain USCIRF’s FoRB Victims List and provide support to the RPOC Project; conduct outreach to NGOs and other relevant organizations to expand the FoRB Victims List; monitor and analyze religious freedom conditions and related human rights; monitor and assess U.S. foreign policy; develop policy recommendations for the U.S. government to advance freedom of religion or belief; monitor, develop, and report on various events or opportunities that, if properly leveraged, could be effective inflection points for achieving implementation of USCIRF-recommended policies; provide support to regional analysts tracking religious freedom conditions; maintain extensive contacts with relevant policy counterparts in the U.S. government and with members of NGOs, academia, and other organizations focused on freedom of religion or belief, and related human rights. This position may also include responsibilities on cross-cutting thematic issues relevant to USCIRF.

This is not an entry-level position and requires relevant or related work experience.

Key Requirements

  • U.S. Citizenship
    • Resume and supporting documents (see How to Apply)
    • Completion of a satisfactory background investigation
    • Completion of a probationary period
    • Selectee must be able to meet/maintain suitability and security requirements

Duties

Reporting to the Supervisory Policy Analyst, the Researcher’s primary responsibilities involve the following:
1. Maintain and Expand USCIRF’s Prisoner Projects

  • Implement and serve as the primary contact for FoRB Victims List and RPOC projects, including coordinating with Policy Analysts and external stakeholders on information specific to prisoners of conscience to ensure accuracy and consistency;
  • Conduct research on victims of religious freedom violations and performing data entry of submissions and other information as needed to maintain the FoRB Victims List and RPOC projects.
  • Draft, edit and maintain materials related to the projects, including the database itself, accompanying documents, and external communications, and contribute to the strategic vision of these projects.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with relevant organizations to contribute information to these projects and expand partnerships related to these projects.
  1. Monitoring and Research – assist in monitoring religious freedom conditions in assigned countries and support the work of USCIRF’s Research and Policy team with research, writing, data collection and analysis tasks. This includes:
  • Collecting, analyzing and documenting information related to freedom of religion or belief, including:
    • –  following events affecting freedom of religion or belief across the region and in countries of concern;
    • –  gathering information and maintaining relations with U.S. and foreign government agencies, NGOs, religious groups, and academics; and
    • –  monitoring international media and State Department reports/statements;
  • Updating the Policy Recommendations Tracking system to track implementation of USCIRF’s policy recommendations in assigned countries; and
  • Serving as the primary point of contact for the assigned countries/regions.
  1. Reporting – assist in reporting on religious freedom conditions in assigned countries to advance USCIRF’s mission and strategic objectives. This includes:
  • Drafting Annual Report chapters for assigned countries, special reports and other research publications ensuring they communicate policy priorities and recommendations and religious freedom conditions effectively and persuasively;
  • Reviewing and editing press releases, op-eds, website posts, and social media posts relating to assigned countries to ensure credibility and accuracy;
  • Drafting Congressional testimony, briefing memos, and talking points for Commissioners and senior staff on assigned countries; and
  • Working closely with the supervisor to identify and justify news-worthy events relevant to USCIRF’s mission to be shared on USCIRF’s website and social media.
  1. Outreach – participate in research and policy related outreach initiatives and events to advance policy recommendations and raise awareness for relevant international religious freedom (IRF) conditions. This includes:
  • Attending and assisting in organizing public events, such as the Annual Report rollout, panel discussions/square tables, conferences, working groups, webinars and briefings related to IRF issues to share findings and gain insights on specific research and policy topics;
  • Preparing research-related materials for events, meetings, hearings, and travel in support of USCIRF’s mandate;
  • Developing new and strengthening current relationships with relevant stakeholders inside and outside the U.S. government, including the White House, State Department and other Executive Branch agencies, as well as with foreign officials, domestic and foreign audiences, NGOs, human rights groups and religious organizations;
  • Maintaining USCIRF’s database of relevant policy contacts, including the contacts in the U.S. government, NGOs, academia, and other relevant stakeholders focused on freedom of religion or belief and related human rights; and
  • Supporting Commissioners and the Executive Director in their efforts to advance USCIRF policy recommendations and to raise awareness of IRF conditions globally.
  1. Travel – in accordance with USCIRF’s travel protocol, plan, prepare and participate in domestic and overseas policy-related events and trips, including Commissioners’ delegations, to gather firsthand information, develop relationships with relevant stakeholders and to raise the profile of USCIRF. This includes:
    • Assisting in travel arrangements; and
    • Coordinating pre-trip and post-trip messaging with the Director of Outreach and Policy.
  1. Other
  • Maintaining collaborative relationships with others within and across departments, displaying positive attitude and professional and collegial demeanor; and
  • Communicating professionally and respectfully both internally and externally, including with Commissioners, Congressional offices, Executive branch officials, the media, and other key stakeholders;
  • Holds oneself and others accountable for assigned responsibilities, including administrative policies and procedures to ensure compliance with laws and regulations. Takes responsibility for completing administrative tasks within established deadlines; and
  • Other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications

This position requires an advanced degree at a minimum (candidates with an undergraduate degree only will not be considered).

  • Must be a U.S. citizen;
  • Possess an advanced degree in a relevant field to the position requirements (candidates with an undergraduate degree only will not be considered);
  • At least two (2) years’ substantive experience as demonstrated by a sustained record of accomplished, analytical writing, and other professional achievements that are related or relevant to USCIRF’s work;
  • Strong research skills, particularly those applied in a work setting (i.e. not only university coursework);
  • Experience or interest in data entry and maintaining a database;
  • Ability to proactively develop, synthesize, and articulate effective and actionable policy recommendations;
  • Ability to multi-task and work in a fast-paced setting, defining and meeting deadlines;
  • Ability to synthesize information from various sources;
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills;
  • Attention to detail, excellent organizational skills, and collegial demeanor; and
  • Proven experience using Microsoft Office applications such as Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

Desired Qualifications

Fluency or demonstrated proficiency in Farsi or Arabic is a plus but not required.

How to Apply

To apply, candidates should email a cover letter, resume, three references, and a writing sample (no more than five pages) to: jobs@uscirf.gov
Applications should be in PDF format.

Applications will be held in strict confidence. After submitting your application for this position, you will receive an e-mail confirming receipt of your application materials. USCIRF will contact you if we wish to schedule an interview or if we require additional information or references. Please email all questions about the position to jobs@uscirf.gov.

No calls please.

Evaluation of Applicants

This job is excepted from the competitive civil service. Applicants will be evaluated and deemed either eligible or ineligible based on the relevance and quality of their experience and education and on the desired qualifications described above.

Pursuant to section 204(c) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, as amended, USCIRF staff members are hired “on the basis of professional and nonpartisan qualifications.”

Benefits

USCIRF offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation, sick leave, ten Federal holidays, life insurance, and medical benefits. Please visit www.opm.gov for more information on benefits.

Other Information

  • Travel expenses related to the hiring process will not be paid
  • Relocation expenses will not be paid

To apply for this job email your details to jobs@uscirf.gov

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