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Youth For Understanding

Secretary General

Role Objectives

The Secretary General will be the public face of the organization and will be responsible for general management, business development and oversight of the YFU network. The main task is to shape and build a new International Office that will replace the existing International Secretariat and bring YFU into its new reality. The aim is to create a stronger organization to address the challenges facing YFU, as well as merging the European regional structure with the international structure currently based in the USA.

The new structure will enable new programmes and business models to be developed; best-practice to be shared; and quality assurance to be improved. In addition, better financial oversight will identify efficiencies and cost-savings, making the full cultural immersion offered by YFU available to a broader range of society.

You will influence the new strategy and be responsible for its execution. This will involve pulling together different teams who are currently operating from Washington D.C., Brussels and a few locations into a unified office, apportioning work and roles appropriately—as well as introducing new ways of working.

Beyond the International Office, the YFU network is made up of a few very large partners and several much smaller partners, all of whom need to be aligned with the new direction.

About you

You are charismatic and energetic, ready to roll up your sleeves to work on high-profile projects with partners big and small. You can inspire and motivate at all levels and have enough political and cultural understanding to connect with people; making them feel comfortable whether you walk into an embassy or are in contact with key volunteers of one of the international partners.

You don’t need to know know about student programmes—but you want to help today’s generation gain the skills they need to thrive in an increasingly multicultural, interconnected and competitive global society.

You are able to lead a change programme and can manage the resistance, uncertainty and doubt that accompany transformation. Sensitivities in the organization mean that careful management will be needed during the change period, without losing sight of the overall goal.


We expect you to be able to demonstrate that you:

  • have the personal skills to interact with and positively influence people inside and outside of your organization;
  • are able to lead an organization through a transformation process, managing the uncertainty and unease that can be felt in periods of change;
  • can deal with a membership organization made up of partners of different sizes and cultures;
  • can design and execute a strategy
  • can develop new business models and ideas to meet financial and other goals.