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Alliance for Science - Director of Communications


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Country: Kenya
Organization: Cornell Alliance for Science
Closing date: 26 Feb 2021

Alliance for Science – Cornell University, Director Communications

The Alliance for Science founded at Cornell University has contracted SRI Executive Search to assist with searching for an exceptional candidate to fill the Director of Communications position based in Nairobi. The Alliance for Science at Cornell University empowers science supporters worldwide with the tools and skills needed to communicate effectively about scientific topics and promote evidence-based policies and decision-making. They challenge and correct anti-science conspiracy theories and provide credible, factual, science-based materials primarily on these topics: agricultural biotechnology, climate change, vaccines, synthetic biology, and food innovations.

Theory of Change:

The Alliance for Science advances science-based narratives with powerful communications campaigns by convening and empowering leaders to combat anti-science misinformation and advocating for the advancement of science-informed and science-enabling policies that help communities thrive worldwide.


We are establishing a global network. We are building a significant international alliance of partners who believe in the joint mission of solving complex science-based issues by leveraging advances in technology, including the creative tools and insights biotechnology can offer.

Training with a purpose. We connect and empower champions around the world with the tools and skills needed to communicate effectively about science and promote evidence-based decision-making.

Multimedia communications. We are developing a comprehensive collection of photographs, videos, blog posts, fact sheets, and other multimedia resources that provide accurate information about agricultural biotechnology and other issue areas to share the stories of the scientists, farmers, and allies engaged in its development and implementation.

We work with partners to advocate for science-enabling policies that will ultimately positively impact people's lives.

Using this three-pronged approach, the Cornell Alliance for Science works to ensure global access to life-improving innovations that can shrink farming's footprint, deliver food security, reduce the drudgery of fieldwork that often falls on women and children, provide rural families with sufficient income to educate their children, and inspire young people to pursue a career in agriculture and science.


The Alliance is based in the Department of Global Development within Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with partners globally.

You can find further details on their website https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/.

Director, Communications Profile

The Director, Communications achieves the vision of the Cornell - Alliance for Science by specifically:

Providing strategic approaches to advance pro-science campaigns across the African continent and beyond.
Develops innovative communications strategies and tactics to “win.”
Uses tools to monitor and make adjustments to the communications work in real-time.
Raise the organization’s profile and the voices of its members in Africa and the EU through earned media, partnerships, and strategic communications.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Director of Communications should be a seasoned international communications leader with a strong strategic sense and creative skills. Among the Director of Strategic Communications’ critical areas of responsibility are to advance the organization’s media relations, advance a newly developed messaging framework, and work closely with a small community of partners who are doing similar work. The DoC will manage and provide general direction and to the US-based editorial manager, who mentors and oversees a team of correspondents based in Africa and elsewhere. The creative director will lead the team’s effort to increase their digital capabilities to effectively combat misinformation and contribute communications expertise to the leadership development and training activities of the Alliance for Science. An experienced and articulate thought leader will serve to represent the organization on the African continent and work closely with other department leads in Policy and Training.

Superior writing, strategic thinking, command of traditional and digital communications best practices, and an ability to diplomatically build relationships worldwide are essential attributes of the Director of Communications. The ability to create trust among diverse colleagues across cultures is critical.

Key deliverables of the position of Director of Communications:

  • Will ensure that the Alliance for Science successfully carries out impactful campaigns that advance science-based policies and improve public perception of crucial science issues, such as agricultural biotechnology.
  • Contribute to the organization’s sustained success by accomplishing our goals and garnering new resources to sustain the work.
  • Advance new communications and messaging frameworks for AfS and partner organizations.
  • Make meaningful advances in changing existing misinformation narratives to positive narratives that will advance science and help to realize the organization’s theory of change.

Key clients and stakeholders:

  • Graduates of our Leadership development programs
  • Relevant BMGF grantees and partners working on shared science-based advocacy and communications campaigns.
  • Local leaders, policymakers, and influencers

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree is required; a master’s degree is strongly preferred.
  • At least ten years of progressively responsible professional experience in public relations, public affairs, media or advocacy communications, or a related field.
  • Should have a proven track record of collaborating with globally dispersed colleagues and partners in multiple offices.
  • Success in inspiring and contributing to a flexible and self-directed team of colleagues located in numerous locations globally.
  • Substantial international experience and willingness to travel; an understanding of the nuances to be navigated in varying contexts; skill, diplomacy, and cross-cultural appreciation.
  • Substantial experience navigating political and cultural dimensions across the African continent and beyond.
  • A demonstrated ability to engender trust and confidence in others, leading to productive long-term partnerships.
  • The ability to remain flexible, as a vital leader of a small organization, wear many hats, and stretch their comfort zone.
  • An eagerness to communicate about challenging and unfavourable issues such as vaccines, GMOs, and other biotechnologies.
  • Experience engaging social influencers to advance communications campaigns.
  • A willingness and innate drive to challenge the status quo/ business as usual.
  • Demonstrated ability to work successfully with experts in subject areas, foster relationships, lead discussions and contribute to communications curriculum in AfS training and workshops that may occur in diverse geographies, including the US, Bangladesh, Europe, and Latin American, in addition to Africa.
  • French language skills would make the candidate exceptionally competitive.

Terms of Appointment

This is a full-time position with the successful candidate being contracted initially for a 3-year term, assuming stellar performance, with the possibility of renewal, depending on grant funding. Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. Benefits are comparable or equivalent to those in the CGIAR system.

How to apply:

If you wish to be considered for this position, please forward a copy of your CV in Microsoft Word format, along with any relevant documentation at AFS@sri-executive.com on or before 26 February 2021. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence. We will revert to you as soon as feasible when we have reviewed your application.

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