Program Assistant, Leadership & Exchange Programs

Location: San Francisco
Program area: Leadership & Exchanges
Deadline: November 17, 2017

Are you excited at the prospect of employing your knowledge and skills to improve lives, expand opportunities, and help societies flourish across a dynamic and developing Asia?

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation.

The Asia Foundation’s Leadership & Exchange program is seeking a program assistant to support the Luce Scholars and other programs. The Foundation has had the honor of administering in Asia the signature program of the Henry R. Luce Foundation—the Luce Scholars program—since the program was launched in 1974 to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. The Luce Scholars program remains living testament to the commitment of both the Luce Foundation and The Asia Foundation to building understanding and appreciation of Asia, and to strengthening the relationship between the United States and Asia one person at a time.


Under the direction of the director, provides administrative, program and logistical support to the Asia Foundation’s Leadership & Exchange program unit in San Francisco, especially on the ongoing administration of the Luce Scholars program.

The Leadership & Exchange program unit is responsible for the management and administration of the Luce Scholars program, the Asia Foundation Development Fellows program, the Young Diplomats U.S. Study Program, the Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Fellowship Program, Lanka Corps, Nieman Fellowship in Journalism, Margaret F. Williams Memorial Fellowship in Asian Art, Brayton Wilbur Jr. Memorial Fellowship in Asian Art, Congressional Fellows, the William P. Fuller Fellowship in Conflict Resolution, and more. The unit is also responsible for the ongoing design and implementation of highly customized observation study programs for groups and individuals in support of Asia Foundation country office and theme unit project objectives.


  • Regular interaction with director, senior program officers, senior grants administrator, san francisco headquarters staff, program directors, Foundation country office staff, Luce Scholars and other grantees.
  • Contact with specialists in relevant program fields for leadership and exchange programs; contact with Bay Area and Asia-based institutions for event planning and information; contact with area hotels and event vendors; responds to external inquiries regarding Foundation Leadership & Exchange programs.


Program Support for Luce Scholars

  • Maintain excellent professional relations with the Luce Foundation staff.
  • Work with the director in cooperation with the staff of the Luce Foundation to support the annual selection meetings for Luce Scholars.
  • Work with the director and outside contractors on timely visa procurement, working in close coordination with individual Luce Scholars, and the Foundation country offices. Continue to work with the individual Luce Scholars and Foundation country office staff following the Scholars arrival in Asia on visa related renewals and visa travel.
  • Work in cooperation with the staff of the Luce Foundation to provide support as needed for the New York City orientation for the new Luce Scholars. Attend the New York City orientation.
  • Work in cooperation with the director, the staff of the Luce Foundation, country office staff, and contractors on arrangements to support and present the annual Focus Country wrap-up meeting in Asia.
  • Maintain systems for effective tracking of Summer Language and Supplemental Language plans, spending, and reimbursements for the current Luce Scholars;
  • Work in cooperation with the director to support annual Luce Scholar program year files for presentation to the Luce Foundation, to include: Luce Scholar Placement Reviews; In-Country Orientation Schedules; First Month Impressions; Summer Language Review; Supplemental Language Plans; Early Assessment Meeting Reviews; Housing Plans; Mid-Year Assessments; Year-End Assessments; Wrap-up Meeting Reviews.
  • Manage files/media and internal/external information on the Luce Scholars program on various online platforms such as Microsoft SharePoint/Office 365, Slack, Dropbox, the Asia Foundation website, etc.
  • Lead discussion with the insurance provider for coverage of the individual Luce Scholars, and adjust plans and providers as needed and warranted. Provide follow-up assistance and support to individual Luce Scholars regarding claims submitted to the insurance provider to ensure prompt attention and reimbursement.
  • Work with the director and individual Luce Scholars over the course of the year to effectively process reimbursements due and payments required for visa related travel, housing advances, security deposits, Supplemental Language funds, etc..
  • Work closely with the director and Asia Foundation country offices on the preparation and submission of the annual Luce Scholar program budget.
  • Work with the director to monitor Luce Scholar program budget, and make budget revisions as needed and required over the course of fiscal year.

Program Support for Leadership & Exchange Programs

  • Assist with logistical arrangements for meetings, flagship leadership and exchange programs, seminars, and other events involving senior-level U.S. and international participants;
  • Assist with appointments and meeting schedules for international grantees and visiting staff.
  • Assist with the drafting and editing of program descriptions and updates background papers, and research on specific topics.
  • Support and maintain administrative tools and databases using Microsoft SharePoint.
  • Assist with public outreach and communications strategies, through the use of video equipment, web streaming platforms and social media.
  • Liaise with Finance and Senior Grants Administrator and local vendors to prepare requests for payment and draft letters of agreement, amendments and other program-related financial documents.

Administrative Support

  • Provide support to administrative personnel to ensure the smooth functioning of the Leadership & Exchanges unit, including preparation for meetings, photocopying, phone coverage, and corresponding by email;
  • Maintain paper and electronic files; and,
  • Liaise with staff located in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Asian country offices.


  • Occasional travel may be necessary.


At least three years of administrative work experience in supporting program and policy-related activities, event-planning functions, and outreach strategies; knowledge of office procedures and equipment; knowledge of email, word processing, database, and spreadsheet software. Experience interacting with individuals from diverse countries and backgrounds. Work experience in an international development organization, policy organization, non-profit, or government office, particularly those focused on Asia, is also a plus.

Undergraduate degree in the social sciences, international relations, Asian studies, or other similar concentration.

Computer skills and general familiarity of various apps and tools for research, outreach, and administrative workflow are highly desirable; outstanding interpersonal, oral and written communication skills; ability to gracefully handle multiple tasks simultaneously and meet all deadlines; ability to work independently and under pressure, as well as part of a team and with diverse staff; demonstrated initiative and creative problem-solving skills; experience living or working abroad preferred; experience coordinating high-profile events and conferences a plus.

Apply now

The Foundation offers excellent benefits and salary commensurate with experience. The Asia Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. Women and people of color are encouraged to apply.

No phone calls please.