Secretary General, MSF International

Title:                                    Secretary General
Contract:                            Full time position, long-term contract
Location:                            Geneva
Reporting to:                      International Board
Start date:                          September 2018
Application deadline:       25 March 2018



Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural disasters. MSF provides assistance to populations in distress irrespective of race, religion, creed or political convictions.

MSF International is the legal entity that binds MSF’s 21 sections, 24 associations and other offices together. MSF International is the executive arm of the International Board (and thus indirectly of the International General Assembly). Based in Geneva, MSF International provides political oversight, coordination, information and support to the MSF Movement, as well as implementing international projects and following up International Associative resolutions.



The Secretary General (SG) is appointed by and reports to the International Board (IB).

The SG position was created along with MSF International in 1991 to assist Institutional Members in fulfilling MSF’s social mission as defined in the MSF Charter. The MSF International Office is not an Institutional Member of MSF, but the Secretariat of the associative governance that binds MSF together as a Movement.

The SG works in tandem with the International President (IP) and in close collaboration with other members of the IB.

The SG is the Chair of the MSF Executive Committee (ExCom) composed of the General Directors of MSF sections.

The International Office is the Secretariat of the IB and is under the direct management of the SG.

The SG is overall responsible for the International Office team composed of around 150 people hosted in MSF offices across multiple countries. This dynamic team, with its international scope and responsibility, carry out work delegated by the highest governance and management bodies of MSF to contribute to the broader orientations of the movement.



The SG plays a key role in defining, with the Excom and under the direction of the IB, the movement’s ambitions and priorities and ensuring their implementation.

In particular the SG shall (under the statutes of MSF International):

a). be the director of the International Office;

b). facilitate or implement activities as directed by the IB as regards monitoring, relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and quality of the operations;

c). chair the Excom;

d). proactively bring forward issues that require attention and/or decision-making by the IB;

e). propose and manage specific international projects as directed by the IB or requested by the Excom;

f). defend the principles, image and interests of the Association and its Members vis-à-vis all international institutions and represent the Association vis-à-vis the outside world upon delegation by the President.



Strategic development and direction:

Together with the IP and the IB, the SG ensures global leadership of MSF through the development, implementation, monitoring of the Vision of the MSF Movement. She/he acts as conduit between IB and Excom to ensure coherence in strategic direction within the web of Operational Directorates and Sections.

Within a fast evolving internal and external environment the SG fosters reflection on how best to address challenges, identify opportunities and promote organizational evolution, diversity and innovation. She/he promotes critical reflection and accountability mechanisms, as well as, oversees executive agreements and processes to ensure MSF’s integrity remains strong, transparent and aligned with the principles of the association.

Management of MSF International:

The SG leads the MSF International annual and multi-annual strategic planning exercises with the International Office Management Team (MT), setting international priorities and overseeing the preparation and approval of the international budgets and plans of action, as well as following them up.

The SG is responsible for the management of all International Office personnel and promotes a good dynamic within the team in order to achieve the objectives of MSF International.

With the International Office MT the SG coordinates, delegates or facilitates the design, implementation, follow-up and evaluation of international platforms and international projects. To enable better capitalisation, learning, decision making and accountability from Institutional Members of MSF International, the SG drives MSF accountability initiatives and timely and transparent exchange of information and intentions through regular reviews, reporting, combination exercises, and international agreements and frameworks.


As the director of the Secretariat of the IB, the SG ensures that the required information is provided the IB and proactively prioritizes issues that require attention or decision making to enable the Board to fulfill its fiduciary and accountability responsibilities.

Together with the International President, ensures a smooth flow of information between the executive and associative branches of MSF International through the coordination of international executive platforms. The role of the SG in reinforcing the ability for discussions and decisions to take place in a timely manner and within the right platform is key. She/he promotes interaction between MSF entities and international platforms, manages the debates, encourages input, highlights inconsistencies and refers to the Excom or IB for arbitration should a delay or conflict arise over a critical issue.

The SG promotes the creation synergies, diversity of action and expertise building across the MSF web; provides channels to support MSF in achieving accountability and transparency by championing the associative principles of co-ownership, inter-dependence and interconnectivity through platforms, systems and tools developed under the direction or delegation by MSF International.


Upon delegation by the International President, the SG represents the organisation operations and defend the principles, image and interests of the Association and its members’ vis-à-vis all international institutions and the broader public.

She/he has a leading role in facilitating and promoting coherent public positioning or advocacy at an international level in consultation with the IB, ExCom and RIOD (Operation Directors platform) as necessary.

Internally, SG represents the international executive bodies at the associative instances of the I.B and I.G.A.



Professional Experience:

  • Extensive experience within MSF in senior management positions, field experience and understanding of Operational Directorates functioning are strongly recommended
  • Experience of creating and leading  strategic relations
  • Experience in conflict management and resolution
  • Experience in governance roles and interest in coordination of complex networks


  • Academic degree in international relations, political science, medicine  or relevant field experience

Skills/ qualifications:

  • Demonstrated ability in organizational management and leadership skills , excellent process management skills
  • Ability to motivate, to coach, to manage and develop high performance,  multi-disciplinary, and multi-cultural teams
  • Knowledge and understanding of global humanitarian issues and international politics
  • High level of diplomacy
  • Result oriented
  • A persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal and multidisciplinary project skills
  • Strong public relations skills with the ability to engage with a wide range of stakeholders and cultures
  • Ability to think out of the box / innovative
  • Resilience , stress management
  • Capacity to unlock crisis
  • Willingness and capacity to travel extensively
  • English: high level competence in speaking, comprehension and writing 
  • A demonstrated commitment to pursuing the Charter of MSF and strong believer in the Associative dimension of MSF


  • French desirable and other languages a plus
  • Recent field experience


MSF is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.


Deadline for applications: 25 March 2018

Please submit applications only by email to: stating “Secretary General” in the title.

Please submit your CV and cover letter in ONE file

and name the file with your LAST NAME.


-Only short-listed candidates will be contacted-