Call for Applications - Executive Director IDEA


Executive Director, International Debate Education Association /


Job Title:  Executive Director IDEA (50%-60%)

Duration of Appointment: One year contract, after one year evaluation follow up will be discussed.

Location: Utrecht, Mariahoek 16/17 The Netherlands; candidate can be based elsewhere if mutually agreed to between Board and applicant

Salary: Competitive with industry standards

Start Date: As soon as possible

Deadline: Applications accepted immediately, and we will start considering candidates on a rolling basis beginning November 10; Deadline to apply is December 1, 2019.


About IDEA

IDEA, the International Debate Education Association, is an association of members who are primarily national debate network organisations. IDEA is based in the Netherlands and has 19 members, most of which are based in Europe. In addition, IDEA has a global network of partner debate education organisations. Other independent offices of IDEA are based in the Middle East, Northern Africa, Central Asia and an office is based in Skopje, North Macedonia.

This fantastic network of members, debate education organisations, their trainers, coaches, volunteers and young debaters makes this network one of the world's leading providers of debate education, providing resources, training and events to educators and young people. IDEA members work with schools and universities, other debate organisations, other NGOs, knowledge centers, businesses, and governments.

The mission of IDEA is, to promote a mutual understanding and active, well-informed citizenship all over Europe through debate education The goal  of the association is to serve the members to achieve this mission and secondly to create synergy and ensure progress of the network in order to make our joint mission a reality. We all create impact among young peoples because we see that ‘Debate changes your life’ and ‘ Debate changes societies’. 

We are a small but nimble and high impact central office serving a growing network of members. Our annual operating budget in 2019 was ~750,000 EUR.  Starting in November 2019 we will begin to celebrate our 20th year.

After 9 fulfilling years, our current ED is leaving to take up a new opportunity and new challenges. We are now looking for our next ED. The new ED will develop and implement activities to support the international network. The chosen candidate will work closely with the EDs of our member organizations, the Secretariat staff, and the President of the Board of Directors in carrying out the responsibilities, which include:


Leading the Team:

  • Management, leadership, and oversight of the Secretariat staff, some of whom work in international/network member offices
  • The team includes:
    • International Projects Manager (Full time, based in Utrecht)
    • Capacity Development Coordinator (60%, based abroad, most likely Slovakia)
    • Communications Officer (Part time, based in Utrecht)
    • Financial manager (Part time, based in Utrecht)
    • Office manager (Part time, based in Utrecht)
    • Controller (external; hourly basis)
    • A bunch of enthusiastic volunteers
    • Direct cooperation with staff in the Dutch member organization OPEN UP! Let youth be heard who are continuing with the previous Dutch IDEA projects.

Projects, programs, and reporting:

  • Continuing to implement and develop international projects and programs with a focus on creating progress and synergy among the members and the association in line with the contractual agreements with donors. 
  • Seeking out new opportunities and partnerships to create quality and quantitative progress of the network
  • Core person responsible for proper reporting
    • Annual report
    • Annual plan
    • Financial audits
    • Milestone reports to donors and others as required
    • Deliverables identified in grant contracts
    • Steering the team and overseeing their work in project/program implementation

Legal, Contractual, and Financial Oversight:

  • Responsible for running the office in line with legal and financial Dutch requirements and proper accounting and storage of the legal and required documents each year.
  • Has mandated responsibility to prepare and pay bills and sign contracts in line with IDEA procedures
  • Constant monitoring of the quality processes of IDEA

Board & Member/General Assembly Relations

  • Working with staff, like the Capacity Development Coordinator, to be proactive and responsive to members, their priorities and needs
  • Secretary for the Board of Directors and the General Assembly
  • Preparing and producing the agenda and required documents for the board of Directors and General Assembly meetings (in consultation with Board President)
  • Cooperation with board and staff to develop (long term) strategic goals for 2021-2024


  • Networking with members, (potential) donors and new partners
  • Focal point for external relationships
  • Representing the organization in various public; active in developing new relationships


  • Strong preference for someone with a debate education background
  • Has proven experience
    • Working in NGO’s for at least 5 years
    • Managing teams
    • Communication and strategic development
    • Creating synergy and progress in networks
    • Fund raising
    • Networking and relationship building
    • Project administration and financial controlling preferable with major donors
    • Ability to adapt, work under pressure, handle uncertainty
  • Strong command of English (written and verbal)
  • Is enthusiastic to work with young people, volunteers and a network of NGO’s, knowledge institutions, schools, donors and so on
  • Is a people manager and with a focus on tracking goals and supporting processes
  • Experience in working in the context of (south/central eastern) Europe; working on active citizenship, democracy and human rights is strongly preferred

To apply, submit your CV and a cover letter explaining your interest, qualifications, and vision to with the subject heading IDEA ED Candidate: < YOUR NAME> by December 1, 2019. If you have any questions you may also direct them to that email, subject: ED Candidate Question.

Thank you for your interest!

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