Senior Program Manager, Let’s Read!

Location: San Francisco
Deadline: August 24, 2018

In an increasingly complex and interconnected world, Asia plays a crucial global role. Would you be excited at the prospect of employing your knowledge and skills to improve lives, expand opportunities, and help societies flourish across this dynamic region? You could have this opportunity at The Asia Foundation.

Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, The Asia Foundation addresses critical issues affecting Asia in the 21st century: governance and law, economic development, women’s empowerment, environment, and regional cooperation. We work with innovative leaders and communities to build effective institutions and advance path-breaking reforms. Together with our partners, we are committed to Asia’s continued development as a peaceful, just, and thriving region of the world.

The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program seeks a senior program manager to help expand its Let’s Read! initiative. Let’s Read! draws on The Asia Foundation’s in-country capabilities, local partnerships, and technological expertise to empower communities to create, translate, and share high-quality, richly illustrated children’s books. Its multilingual, digital collection and community-driven strategy are designed to spark a lifelong love of reading throughout Asia.

Let’s Read! is more than a digital library—it is a quick and cost-effective approach to solving the problem of book scarcity in local languages and in remote or underserved communities. Our digital library website and app—fueled by workshops that create and translate books in local languages—put stories directly into the hands of children, parents, teachers, and communities. Books in the Let’s Read! library carry a Creative Commons license, allowing them to be read, downloaded, printed, and shared with very few restrictions.

In the last 18 months, the Let’s Read! initiative has been implemented in five countries and the digital library has grown to 1,400 books in 15 languages. In collaboration with local partners, over 600 writers, illustrators, editors, and volunteer translators have been trained during this time. By early 2019, we expect to scale the initiative to 10 countries and the digital library to 20 languages.


The responsibilities include, creatively contributing as a member of the Let’s Read! senior management team, to strategize decisions related to Let’s Read!, including strategic partnerships, implementation, tech development, outreach and communications, and fundraising. The senior program manager will handle a portfolio of countries and collaborate with local staff and partners to design or expand country-specific implementation plans to increase content, promote reading, raise visibility and grow user adoption of the Let’s Read! web app and Android app. The senior program manager will train, coach, and mentor in-country staff and facilitate workshops with partners and, in some cases, children’s book editors and translators. S/he will be responsible for routinely monitoring and reporting on Let’s Read! user analytics and writing concept notes and proposals to attract funding to scale Let’s Read! S/he will assist with tasks related to digital library maintenance such as tagging content and uploading EPUBs.

The senior manager for Let’s Read! will report to the Books for Asia assistant director. S/he will coordinate closely with Asia Foundation and Books for Asia staff based in country offices, as well as with country directors and deputy country directors. In Foundation headquarters, the senior manager will communicate with Programs, Global Communications, and Resource Development units. S/he will occasionally represent Books for Asia at conferences in the US and abroad.


The successful candidate will possess the following skills, experience, and qualities:

  • Five to fifteen years of project management experience, including in the global south
  • Bachelor’s degree required; master’s degree preferred
  • Experience with technology and education projects
  • Experience with communications, marketing and social media campaigns
  • Ability to work with digital platforms, programs and file types, such as SharePoint, InDesign, and EPUB, to collaboratively and creatively design and implement projects,
  • timelines, monitoring and evaluation elements, and budgets
  • Demonstrated leadership skills and ability to “lead from behind” to motivate, train, and mentor Asia-based staff
  • Outstanding representational and cross-cultural communication skills
  • Effective oral and written communicator in English and proven ability to write successful proposals for funding
  • Experience with children’s book creation, publishing, and digital publishing is a plus
  • Experience related to Asia Foundation program themes such as women’s empowerment, environmental resilience and/or conflict resolution is a plus
  • Ability to travel up to 30% of time
  • Interest in the work of The Asia Foundation


The ideal candidate is someone who understands, appreciates, and seeks to address access to information issues in the developing world. The candidate is passionate about Asian development and has boundless enthusiasm for working collaboratively in a multicultural environment. Candidates with a background in marketing, communications, digital publishing, information science, education, linguistics, and/or fundraising are encouraged to apply.


You will have the opportunity to help solve some of the toughest challenges in the development/aid sector. Address environmental problems in the region, improve access to legal information, enhance civil society, promote government engagement/collaboration, and encourage learning and awareness.

You will work in an innovative environment and build lasting relationships. The Asia Foundation, its donors, and its partners are unmatched throughout the region. This is an opportunity to work with and learn from some of the most accomplished leaders, influencers, and social entrepreneurs working in Asia today.

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.


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