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GSF invites expressions of interest for the full-time position of Executive Director

About the Global Students Forum 

The Global Students Forum (GSF) is a voluntary consortium of democratic and independent student organisations that has emerged over 2019-2020. The consortium comprises major regional federations, including the All-Africa Students Union (AASU), Commonwealth Students’ Association (CSA), European Students’ Union (ESU) and Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU), and La Organización Continental Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Estudiantes (OCLAE) which together cover 183 student unions in 118 countries; as well as other national unions, organisations and movements from countries including the United States, Canada, Chile and South Africa. In Phase 1, between 2020 and 2023, GSF will be hosted by Education International, the global federation of teacher unions, and have headquarters in Brussels with regional offices in San José, and either Accra or Kuala Lumpur. A Memorandum of Understanding guarantees the autonomy of GSF from its host. GSF is the first-ever genuinely independent and democratic global platform for cooperation between student unions, organisations and movements and represents a major addition to the civil society landscape in the education sector. 

About the Position 

The Executive Director will be the most senior member of the Secretariat and lead GSF through Phase 1 which is a period for building the foundations: expanding the network, consolidating relationships, developing the internal procedures, building partnerships in the field and starting a programme of activities. The Executive Director will be responsible for managing a small, dedicated and multicultural team tasked with setting up the internal processes and procedures, providing operational support to the organisation’s structures, developing and implementing an initial programme of work, ensuring compliance with security, legal and operational protocols and developing partnerships in the field. The Executive Director will report to the Steering Committee, the representative body which steers the platform, and recruit and supervise three members of staff. 

Specific Duties and Responsibilities 

  • Draft and implement a workplan for 2021-2023, with a programme of activities including seminars, conferences, trainings and a congress across Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe; 
  • Maintain relations with member organisations both remotely and through field visits; develop and implement a strategy for expanding the network in cooperation with partners in the field with particular focus on capacity building and coordination in Asia, Middle East and North America;
  • Identify opportunities and develop partnerships with union federations, civil society organisations and intergovernmental institutions, including representing the platform externally at conferences, meetings and seminars and developing and implementing common projects; 
  • Manage the office and staff members; develop an open, cooperative, trustworthy and respectful organisational culture; oversee recruitment and professional development; write and ensure compliance with internal policies across the internal structures of the platform. This includes jointly recruiting members of Staff with the Steering Committee; 
  • Maintain primary responsibility for managing relations with the host organisation; ensuring compliance with necessary policies and processes and protecting against reputational risk; 
  • Provide support to the internal structures as they formalise and codify the internal processes and procedures and strategically plan for Phase 2 of the platform from 2023 onwards; 
  • Maintain oversight for the communications strategy, including social media and media relations, ensuring that audiences grow while the required discretion is maintained. 
  • Maintain financial oversight of the organisation, with direct liaison with the Sub-Committee on Financing and with the Steering Committee. 

Personal Qualities 

  • Self-motivated and systematic; 
  • Good organisational and analytical skills; 
  • Excellent team player and people manager; 
  • Emotional intelligence and ability to build relationships; 
  • Intercultural sensitivity and discretion; 
  • Ability to collaborate and to work independently; 
  • Ability to prioritise and to work under pressure; 
  • Ability to handle risk and ambiguity; 
  • Excellent interpersonal and communications skills. 

Education and Professional Experience 

  • A high school leaving certificate is a must 
  • Completed or ongoing higher education is a strong asset 
  • Fluency in English (written and spoken) is essential; a knowledge of other regional languages would be an advantage, especially Spanish, French, Arabic or Portuguese; 
  • Experience of working with student unions and movements and/or trade unions and/or international organisations and/or the education sector is essential; 
  • A sophisticated understanding of non-profit strategy and appreciation of the nuances and sensitivities of international politics is essential; 
  • Proven ability to manage relationships with private foundations and/or development cooperation funds is desirable; 
  • Proven ability to manage team, with particular regards to international and intercultural settings; 
  • An international network of contacts in civil society, trade unions, private foundations, government and academia is desirable. 

Salary, Conditions of Service, and Visas 

As part of GSF’s hosting arrangement, the employer will be Education International. An attractive salary and benefits package will apply, commensurate with non-profit roles in Brussels. Exact compensation is dependent on professional qualifications and experience. Education International will sponsor a visa for the successful candidate if required by Belgian law. Visa approval and processing dependent, we are looking for the successful candidate to start by January 2021. 


Expressions of interest including a Curriculum Vitae detailing relevant experience should be submitted by 23:59 CEST, September 16th 2020 through the following link ( Applied is a hiring platform helping to reduce bias in hiring processes through answer anonymising and randomising, among others. 

Successful candidates will be invited to an initial interview over teleconferencing in October 2020. Ideally, the successful candidate should be able to join the Secretariat in the beginning of January 2021. 

Applications will be assessed by a panel composed by individuals from the Steering Committee and Interim Secretariat of the Global Student Forum and 2 externals. The same panel might be present during the interview stage. Personal data will not be stored. 

For questions and clarifications please contact 

Deadline: 23:59 CEST, September 16th 2020

Apply here

Download the PDF of this Call for Expression of Interest on this link.


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