Bernard van Leer Foundation

Knowledge for Policy Director

For more details, please see the full job description here and visit our website at We're looking forward to hearing from you.

We expect to notify candidates shortlisted for interview by Thu 27 February.

First interviews: Thu 5 and Fri 6 March

Final interviews: Mon 23 and Tue 24 March

The first round interview can be done via Skype. If you are not available on these dates, please let Agnes Buis at know as soon as possible.


Are you committed to tackling inequality and making cities better places for everyone, especially babies, toddlers and the people who care for them?

Are you an experienced leader who has worked on urban initiatives at scale, whether in government or with an NGO, international organisation, consultancy, or other?

Do you want to help shape and lead our journey to greater impact through the use of knowledge, networks and advocacy and communications, working globally with a committed, creative, collegial and professionally diverse international team?

Want to be able to cycle safely everywhere by being based in our office in The Hague, a lovely, international city with 10+ km of white sand beach that’s 45 minutes to Amsterdam and 30 minutes to Rotterdam by train?

If so, we'd love to hear from you about joining our senior management team as our new Knowledge for Policy Director.

About us

At the Bernard van Leer Foundation, we believe that giving all children a good start in life is both the right thing to do and the best way to build healthy, peaceful and creative societies.

We are an independent foundation working worldwide to inspire and inform large-scale action to improve the health and wellbeing of babies, toddlers and the people who care for them.

About the role

Principal responsibilities

Senior leadership, strategy and management

  • In close collaboration with the Programme Director, the Executive Director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation and the CEO of the Van Leer Foundations, contribute to the development of organisation-wide strategy - with a focus on scaling our impact through knowledge

  • Lead the development and execution of the Knowledge for Policy team strategy and annual plan, setting and communicating clear priorities to the Knowledge for Policy and broader team, and ensuring Knowledge for Policy activities evolve to meet the needs of the organisation, our partners and the leaders we seek to engage

  • Line manage, coach and motivate around 5 direct reports as well as consultants

  • Organisational responsibility for corporate communications and internal support systems, with primary day-to-day responsibility for these activities taken by the Lead, Knowledge Uptake & Communications and the Communications & Knowledge Uptake Officer

“Extracting, curating and distributing” knowledge

  • Oversee and provide regular input and counsel to the Knowledge for Policy team’s work on:

    ...developing and increasing the uptake and impact of knowledge resources, technical assistance, convenings, study tours, executive education and more

    ...the documentation and evaluation of our partnerships, internal monitoring and learning, and commissioned research

  • Lead on selected major urban knowledge partnerships

  • Lead on developing and evolving our knowledge development and research agenda

  • Serve as a senior subject matter expert for urban policy, planning or design

Developing new ideas and engaging new leaders

  • Oversee the development of, and/or directly develop, new areas of work, for example: access to nature; childcare; the use of technology to support frontline workers; new executive programmes and courses...

  • Oversee the development of, and/or directly develop, new ways to learn from and bring our knowledge and ideas to regions outside our core countries

  • Identify and develop new platforms through which to share our knowledge and ideas, such as urban conferences and networks

  • Working closely with the Lead, Knowledge Uptake & Communications, generate opportunities to better position the organisation and senior staff as thought leaders

Some international travel is required.

Key experiences, qualities and skills

Ideally, we're looking for the following:

  • Technical expertise in urban policy, planning or design and a track record of implementing urban initiatives at scale

  • Significant organisational leadership experience, including working at the senior management level to set and execute strategy and leading a team or department with a diverse work portfolio

  • An understanding of how professionals across sectors, from government to civil society to business, use knowledge to inform their decisions, along with direct experience of leading the development of knowledge resources to change policy and practice

  • Potentially, experience with one or both of the other core functions led by the Knowledge for Policy team: research, monitoring, evaluation & learning AND/OR communications strategy, knowledge dissemination, marketing or related functions

  • Excellent oral and written communications in English; proficiency with other languages used in the Foundation’s work also welcome: Dutch, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Hindi, Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, French.

  • The gravitas to serve as a senior representative of the Foundation.

  • Experience across a range of geographic contexts, ideally including low- or middle- income countries

  • A love of ideas and creative, structured, analytical thinking, combined with a practical focus on how knowledge leads to action

  • A humble leader, great at getting things done with and through colleagues, partners and consultants, with brilliant stakeholder management skills, who will fit in well with our committed, collegial, creative and high-performing culture

  • Highly motivated to work towards our mission of a good start for all children

For more details, please see the full job description here and visit our website at We're looking forward to hearing from you.

Role posted - 2019-12-20T12:25:57Z 1:25pm, 20th Dec 2019 CET