Department: Programs, Advocacy, and Action (PAA Department)
Reports to: Vice President and Chief Program Officer
Grade: 7 (bargaining unit)

Summary: Working closely with the Vice President and Chief Program Officer and colleagues to advance UUSC’s human rights mission, the Senior Program Leader for Rights at Risk will help UUSC respond to unfolding crises based on humanitarian and manmade disasters, as well as gross violations of civil and political rights. This new position consolidates and builds upon a robust body of work under the Rights in Humanitarian Crises and Civil Liberties programs. Previous work undertaken has included rights-based humanitarian responses to the Haiti earthquake and Philippines typhoon, as well as civil and political rights work around torture accountability, democratization in the Middle East and North Africa, and strengthening grassroots civil liberties organizations in the United States. The Senior Program Leader in the newly created Rights at Risk program will assess work to date and develop and recommend a strategy that integrates some of the prior approaches, creates greater impact, and facilitates a more nimble, creative response strategy.


Essential duties and responsibilities may include but are not limited to:

Program Development

  • Develop — in consultation with UUSC leadership — a strategy for the Rights at Risk program, that encompasses both program and partner support, as well as other strategies to advance the program’s goals
  • Maintain UUSC’s crisis response protocol, assess crises, scan the landscape, and recommend rapid and long-term responses
  • Develop program plans, partnerships, and alliances, drawing on internal and external expertise
  • Collaborate with the Associate Director of Advocacy, Activism, and Engagement to conduct power mapping and develop stakeholder influence strategies
  • Work with program partners and the Associate Director of Program and Partner Support to ensure the implementation of UUSC’s impact assessment tool
  • Participate in UUSC’s internal planning processes
  • Develop and maintain strategic relationships with colleague organizations in the fields of humanitarian aid, and civil and political rights

Partnership Development

  • Build and maintain a network of experts, allied aid and development organizations, and on-the-ground resources in order to rapidly identify the communities most marginalized in a crisis and organizations who can be effective partners
  • Identify grassroots partners representing marginalized communities who also have innovative ideas and, with support, the leadership potential to implement them
  • Develop innovative and creative ways of strengthening partner relationships to further enable our partners to achieve their goals both in the United States and internationally
  • Conduct regular partner focus groups and occasional on site visits to evaluate progress and enhance partner work, through technical assistance and supporting impact assessment
  • Develop best practices that can be shared with other partners
  • Work with Advocacy, Activism, and Engagement colleagues to enlist allies and build bases of support, including Unitarian Universalist constituents

Internal and External Collaboration

  • Contribute to the overall learning and development of the organization, and support inter-departmental communication and collaboration
  • Maintain up-to-date program and partner content for a central database and for communications, fundraising, and board materials
  • Provide information on partners, stories of change, and impact to enhance the communications and institutional advancement strategies of UUSC
  • Represent the Rights in Humanitarian Crises program internally and externally, sharing knowledge and expertise with staff, colleagues, and constituents on issues as they arise
  • Represent the work of UUSC to external audiences, including speaking at events and holding workshops at the UUA General Assembly
  • Perform other duties as assigned or required.


The ideal candidate will have:

  • Strong commitment to human rights and social justice
  • Strong working knowledge of the current trends and issues surrounding human rights, response to crises, civil and political rights, and related issues; experience in organizing crisis response and human rights preferred
  • At least 8 years demonstrated experience in human rights and social justice programs, including demonstrated skills in strategy formulation and program development
  • Demonstrated experience in establishing and building partnerships and strategic relationships that engender breakthrough ideas
  • Experience in integrating a clear race, class, and gender analysis into program strategy
  • Ability to be a strong team player
  • Excellent interpersonal, writing, public speaking and listening skills
  • Solid problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Must demonstrate the ability to manage multiple tasks and priorities concurrently
  • Demonstrated cross-cultural and international work experience
  • Advanced proficiency in a second language strongly desired, particularly Spanish or a language of the Global South
  • Extensive travel, both domestically and internationally, is required
  • Bachelor’s Degree required; advanced degree strongly preferred

Nondiscrimination and Equal Employment opportunity: UUSC is highly committed to the principle of equal opportunity in employment. People with disabilities, people of color, and people from minority communities are encouraged to apply.

Interested candidates may email a cover letter and résumé in confidence to employment @ or mail to:
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Attn: Director of Human Resources
689 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139