Job posting: Director of the Secretariat

30 September 2020
The Arctic Council seeks a candidate for the position of Director of the Arctic Council Secretariat (ACS). The ACS supports the work of the Arctic Council and is located in Tromsø, Norway.

The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum to promote cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the Arctic States with the involvement of Arctic Indigenous peoples and other Arctic inhabitants. The Arctic Council Chairmanship rotates every two years among the Arctic States. Iceland is the current Chair of the Council and the Russian Federation will take over the Chairmanship in May 2021.

The Arctic Council is comprised of the eight Arctic States: Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden, and the United States. A unique feature of the Arctic Council is the involvement of six international Indigenous peoples’ organizations as Permanent Participants: Aleut International Association; Arctic Athabaskan Council; Inuit Circumpolar Council; Gwich'in Council International; Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North; and the Saami Council.

The Indigenous Peoples Secretariat (IPS), which supports the participation of the Permanent Participants in the work of the Arctic Council has been an entity within the ACS since 2016.

Director of the Secretariat

Under the direction of the Chair of the Arctic Council’s Senior Arctic Officials (SAO Chair), the Director coordinates the work of the Secretariat. The ACS Director reports to the SAOs and is responsible for the overall management and administration of the Secretariat’s activities, including finance, administration, communications and outreach, and human resources. The Director is required to travel frequently.

Responsibilities include:

  • Leading and managing the work of the Secretariat.
  • Managing the Secretariat’s human resources, including inter alia recruitment, performance management, dismissal, and professional development.
  • Overseeing the Secretariat’s communications efforts as directed by the Arctic Council Communications strategy and Communication and outreach Guidelines.
  • Preparing and implementing a biennial budget and workplan and report on the activities of the Secretariat.
  • In consultation with the Chair of the SAOs, appointing staff members essential for carrying out the functions of the ACS and, in coordination with the Chair of the board of the IPS, appointing staff for the IPS.
  • Signing employment contracts and contracts for the procurement of goods and services as required for the performance of the tasks assigned to the Secretariat
  • Liaison with other Arctic Council Working Group secretariats to facilitate coherence and efficiency.
  • Performing other duties as required and requested by the Arctic Council.

Qualifications and key experience requirements

A candidate for this position must:

  • Be a national of an Arctic State.
  • Hold an advanced university degree or have a combination of proven qualifications and experience relevant to the work of the Arctic Council Secretariat.
  • Have considerable proven professional experience in human resource management that would be transferable to the position of the ACS Director.
  • Have demonstrated experience in financial administration and planning, including the preparation of budgets and the management of expenditures.
  • Be able to travel and have a valid passport for the duration of the appointment.

A candidate for this position should:

  • Have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to exercise sound judgement.
  • Have experience in strategic planning and in leading organizations through change.
  • Have the ability to manage and resolve conflicts and disagreements in a constructive manner and build consensus to achieve common goals.
  • Have the ability to cooperate and communicate effectively with stakeholders at all levels.
  • Have the ability to work long hours under pressure.
  • Have the ability to work with different organizations, cultures, and stakeholders to meet the Council’s goals.
  • Have excellent written and oral communication skills in English. (Working knowledge of another Arctic language will be taken into account as an additional qualification.)
  • Have substantial knowledge of the Arctic region’s politics, history, business and culture. A network of regional contacts will be taken into account as an additional qualification.


A competitive remuneration and allowances is offered, and depends upon the candidate’s professional experience and qualifications. The Director is included in the Norwegian social security scheme, including health care benefits, and a favorable private pension scheme. The salary is exempted from direct Norwegian taxation unless the Director is a Norwegian citizen, but an internal fee comparable to the Norwegian income tax level will be deducted from the salary, and will cover e.g. contributions to social security and pension. For further details on the roles and responsibilities of the Arctic Council Secretariat Director please see the Arctic Council website.


This is a fixed-term, four-year appointment. The appointment is renewable for one additional four- year fixed-term, subject to a decision of the Senior Arctic Officials.

Application process

The deadline for receipt of applications is by CoB 23 November 2020. If you believe you have a suitable profile, please forward your resume with your letter of interest (PDF only) addressing the qualifications in this posting, to the Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council ( The file name of your resume and letter of interest must include your family name. The subject line of your e-mail must include your full name and the phrase “ACS Director”.

The Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials, Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson (, is available for any questions regarding the post.

All information received will be treated confidentially. Short-listed candidates for the position will be invited to an interview in early February 2021. The final selection of the candidate for the position is expected to be completed in April 2021.

The expected date for commencement is no later than 1 November 2021. It would be preferable if the selected candidate could spend 1-2 weeks with the present Director before assuming the position.