London, Greater London
£28,000 - £32,000 per year
Permanent, Full-time
Job description

Cara Syria Programme in the Region

‘Investing in Syria’s Intellectual Capital: Creating Pathways to the Future’

Post                       Syria Programme Senior Officer

Purpose              To provide support to Syria Programme activities, including finances, events logistics, core database, online portal

Experience         Masters or equivalent experience with a minimum of 1-year experience of supporting an international project of similar scale and complexity and overseeing a small project team.

Start Date          6 January 2020

Duration             12 months - with the possibility of an extension subject to funding

Salary                   £28,000 - £32,000 (depending on experience)

Reporting to     Cara Middle-East Adviser


Application Deadline 29 November 2019


Organisation Background

The Council for At-Risk Academics is a UK-registered charity founded in 1933 under the leadership of William Beveridge[1], to rescue academics suffering persecution under the rise of Nazism and facilitate their continued work in safety.  Sixteen Cara Fellows from the 1930s and 1940s became Nobel Laureates, and many more innovators in their fields, including, Nikolaus Pevsner, Lise Meitner and Karl Popper.  A number of Cara’s founders and Council members also personally provided places and/or funds to help individual academics; and Cara, known in the 1930s as the AAC, later the SPSL, was closely involved in the successful effort in 1933 to bring to London the Warburg Institute art library, which had been prohibited by the Nazis, and six of its staff.

Cara has been a lifeline to academics at risk for over 80 years, as and when world events have placed them in the line of fire: Hungarian Uprising, Cold War, Apartheid South Africa, Iran, Latin American Juntas, Vietnam, Kosovo, DRC, Rwanda, Sudan, Zimbabwe etc. and, more recently Iraq, Yemen, Iran and Syria.  Cara support is typically framed as temporary sanctuary offered at times of heightened risk.

Cara’s Objectives ‘To assist academics who have been, or are, or are at risk of being, subject to discrimination, persecution, suffering or violence on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, to relieve needs among them and their dependants and ensure that their specialist knowledge and abilities can continue to be used for the benefit of the public.’

‘To advance education by supporting academics and their educational institutions in countries where their continuing work is at risk or compromised, to ensure that such academics and institutions can continue to fulfil their critical role as educators for the public benefit.’


Cara Syria Programme in Region

Launched in October 2016, the Cara Syria Programme in Region is now in its third year (Phase 3), working predominantly with Syrian academics in exile in Turkey where the greatest number have sought refuge.  Cara has over 400 Syrian academics registered on the Syria Programme database, of whom over 100 are actively engaged in one of more of the Syria Programme Strands (activities).

Syria Programme Aim To nurture and enable future opportunities for Syrian academics by facilitating professional connection and collaboration and continued academic development and contribution whilst in exile, as a group that is vital to the future of Syria.’

Phase 3, an 18-month period, began on 1 April 2019 and consists of six strands:

  • Strand 1: English for Academic Purposes (EAP) a blended-learning activity combines weekly one-to-one online EAP sessions with monthly workshops in Istanbul.  Following a pilot in Phase 2, weekly group face-to-face sessions will be introduced in three geographical locations where clusters of participants exist.


  • Strand 2: Academic Development (AD), another blended-learning activity, combines online webinars and courses, with workshops in Istanbul.  A more comprehensive online programme will be developed over Phase 3.


  • Strand 3: Research Incubation Visits (RIVs) 2- to 8-week visits by Syrian participants to discipline-relevant UK university departments to allow networking, training and the development of a collaborative research project with academics from the hosting department, enabling longer-term institutional affiliation, online resource access and collaboration.


  • Strand 4: Cara-Commissioned Research (CCR) facilitates research collaborations that offer action-learning opportunities.  In Phase 1, a Cara-commissioned study, led by Cambridge University faculty working with nineteen Syrian academics in exile, captured the state of HE across Syria both pre and post 2011.  In Phase 2, building on Phase 1, 26 Syrian academics in exile, under the guidance of an Institute of Development Studies faculty member, has undertaken 5 thematic studies, looking at the role of HE in addressing societal challenges in Syria.  In Phase 3, Strand 4 will continue to facilitate ongoing academic engagement by academics in exile on Syria-related topics.  Research outputs aim to inform policy makers and planners amongst key responders to the Syria crisis.


  • Strand 5: Syria Research Fellowship Scheme (SRFS), provides funding to support research on Syria or Syrian populations in exile, with grants ranging between £3K and £15K.  Small grant research is led by Syrian academics in exile and larger grants support research collaborations between Syrian academics in exile and colleagues from the wider regional and international academic communities.


  • Strand 6: Arts & Humanities (A&H) combines existing Syria Programme activities, dedicated to Syrian colleagues in exile whose disciplines sit within the Arts & Humanities.


Online elements of the Programme are supported by a dedicated online Portal and allied Moodle site.

The Programme relies extensively on volunteer support for all of its Strands, with over 200 discipline and EAP experts delivering weekly online one-to-one EAP sessions, weekly E-learn Soiree Series, as well as supporting research and facilitating workshops in Istanbul.

Governance The development and implementation of Strands 1 and 2 are overseen by their respective Steering Groups comprising experts from Cardiff, Edinburgh, Kent, Middlesex, Queen Mary’s, Reading, Sheffield and South Wales universities, also on a volunteer basis.  The overall Programme is overseen by the Cara Syria Programme Steering Committee comprising the Cara Chair, Honorary Secretary, Executive Director, and a Cara Trustee and board member.

Syria Programme Staffing The staff of the Cara Regional Syria Programme currently consists of two Syria Programme Administrators and two Administrative Assistants, overseen by Kate Robertson, Cara Middle East Adviser, who leads the overall Programme.  The successful candidate will be a Cara member of staff but will work, with the other Programme staff, from the Middle East Adviser’s home in south-east London.


Person Specification and Responsibilities

1.  Qualification or Experience

•   Master’s degree or equivalent experience in the workplace

•   Experience of supporting an international project of similar scale and complexity (1 year minimum)

  • Experience of overseeing/guiding a small project team

I. Essential

  • Fluent English – spoken and written
  • Experience of Microsoft Excel for book-keeping, data capture and analysis purposes
  • Excellent/proven oversight, time-management and organisational skills
  • Experience of databases.
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Confident, sensitive communication skills
  • Excellent/proven writing skills
  • Good team player
  • Ability to work independently to deadlines
  • Understanding of issues of confidentiality
  • Dynamic and flexible working manner
  • Ability to accept and use feedback
  • Entitlement to work in the United Kingdom without any additional approvals

II. Desirable

  • Arabic and/or Turkish language skills
  • Experience of website development and maintenance
  • Experience of online software, e.g. WordPress, Salesforce, Moodle, Articulate 360
  • Knowledge of the Middle East and Syria in particular
  • Experience of working in the humanitarian NGO or education sector, or similar

2.  Responsibilities

As Senior Programme Officer, to support the Cara Middle East Adviser in both strategic thinking and development relating to the Syria Programme and day-to-day management tasks, including:

  • Oversight of the four-member Syria Programme team
  • Communication with partners, including funders
  • Identifying new partners and opportunities
  • Writing reports, e.g. for the Cara Syria Programme Steering Committee, Cara Finance & General Purpose Committee, Cara Council, and interim financial/ narrative reports to funders etc
  • Data Analysis
  • Newsletters
  • Fundraising and proposal writing
  • Programme scheduling and logistics

The Senior Programme Officer will, in particular, have a key role to play in the coordination of Strand 6 ‘Arts & Humanities activities’ and in monitoring and identifying potential synergies and opportunities for collaboration between the Syria Programme and the Cara core Fellowship Programme.

3.  Undertakings

The Senior Programme Officer will receive a contract, appropriate support and relevant training and supervision, an annual salary of between £28,000 and £32,000 based on experience, and a pension contribution of 8% of salary following completion of the probationary period.

The Senior Programme Office will in turn be expected to adhere to Cara’s policies and practices on confidentiality, equal opportunities and health and safety, and to wear appropriate dress.  

Working hours will be 9am to 5pm unless otherwise agreed in writing.

Annual leave is 25 days a year, plus public holidays.

4.  Time Commitment

The post will be for a minimum of twelve months, five days a week, preferably to start on 6 January 2020.  The jobholder will be subject to a three-month Probationary period, to run from the contract start date.

5.  Application

Please send your CV and a covering letter outlining your suitability for the post, with particular reference to the ‘Person Specification and Responsibilities’ set out above.  Submissions without a covering letter will not be considered.

Please include contact details for three suitable referees, ideally individuals for whom you have previously worked. These will only be taken up with your prior permission.  

Please include ‘Senior Programme Officer’ in the subject line of your electronic submission.

Application Deadline 29 November 2019

We anticipate that interviews will be held in central London on 6 December 2019


[1] Lord William Beveridge was Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science from 1919 to 1937

Refreshed on: 21 November 2019
Closed date: 29 November 2019
Job ref: Syria Programme Senior Officer
Tags: Intl Development

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