Job Opening: Ecumenical Relations and Communications Coordinator, American Friends of Asian Rural Institute

Company: American Friends of Asian Rural Institute
Location: Seattle, WA
Start date: February 1, 2013
Application deadline: January 15, 2013
Education requirements: 4-year degree, master’s preferred
Languages needed: Japanese a plus


Job Summary: ARI seeks a creative, mission-driven individual to serve as its Ecumenical Relations Coordinator. This person will work to deepen and broaden ARI’s relationship with its community of overseas supporters and partners and to strengthen the overall fundraising program. In addition, this person will play a key role in implementing ARI’s overseas’ communication strategy to reach diverse audiences and build awareness of ARI’s mission and impact.

About ARI: Located in Japan, the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) is a training center for Rural Leaders. Founded in 1973 by Rev. Dr. Toshihiro Takami the aim of the program is to invite and train local grassroots leaders to more effectively serve in their communities as they work for the poor, the hungry, and the marginalized. Each year from April to December ARI brings together about 30 leaders from countries primarily in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific to take part in its Rural Leaders Training Program. The training focuses on sustainable agriculture through integrated organic farming techniques, community building, and leadership. It is community based and hands-on learning is emphasized in all areas. Working together they grow and share their own food. At the heart of the program is the concept of ‘Foodlife’ – a term designed to recognize and value the interdependency between life and the food that sustains all life. Upon completion, program participants, return to their home villages and communities to work side by side with their people, pass on their learning, to promote development from within. To date, ARI has trained 1,215 rural leaders from 55 countries throughout Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.

Work Environment: ARI is a school set on a working organic farm. The institute aims to live according to the principals it teaches. As such, sustainability is practiced by growing the food needed for the community on the campus. Each year community building is “taught” by working to create a healthy, cohesive, and supportive community from the culturally diverse group of people that come to ARI for the training program. Leadership, in the model of “Servant Leadership,” is exemplified in the lives of the community members. All staff members play an integral role in these aspects of the training. Work at ARI is more than just a job. It is a lifestyle. Staff may choose to live on or off campus.

Primary Job Duties: 1. Coordinating key elements of ARI’s overseas scholarship and fundraising program. (ARI partners with numerous Denominational and Mission Offices in North America and Europe, and is also supported by many individuals, churches, church related organizations, regional support organizations, and foundations.) 2. Fulfilling all other ARI staff responsibilities which include participation in farm work, advising participants, assuming a positive and supportive role in the life of the ARI community, and engaging in other training activities as required. 3. Implementing a communication strategy to tell ARI’s story, primarily through editing a semi-annual newsletter and Annual Report.

Supervises: Interns and Volunteers

Time Allocation: Development 40% Communications 30% Other Staff Responsibilities 30%

Staffing Relationships: Reports to Director. Also works closely with Associate Director, Public Relations Desk, Program Coordinator, Director of the American Friends of ARI, and other staff as part of Staff Meeting

TASKS Development and Donor Relations

  • Represent ARI in building and maintaining key relationships with denominational and mission offices, churches and church related organizations, and individuals primarily in North America and Europe, as well as working closely with the support organizations The American Friends of ARI and The European Friends of ARI
  • Occasionally travel to the US, Canada, and Europe to strengthen ties with support organizations
  • Identify grant opportunities and develop grant proposals.

Communications and Media

  • Edit ARI’s semi-annual English newsletter, “Take My Hand,” and English language Annual Report
  • Develop and disseminate other informational materials, both in hardcopy and electronic versions, for use in meetings, presentations and/or public events;
  • Work with ARI’s public relations desk to expand ARI’s use of web-based communication strategies, including e-newsletters, video, and other social media

General Staff Responsibilities

  • Participate in “Staff Meeting,” the main decision making organ of ARI
  • Serve on various administrative committees
  • Contribute to the curriculum (where relevant experience allows)
  • Assume an active role in the life of the community and the farm

Other Administrative

  • Work with overseas partners to recruit volunteers
  • Coordinate with Recruitment Officer in recruiting Program Participants and seeking Scholarship Funding


  • Bachelors’ degree in relevant field (Master’s degree preferred)
    Three to four years of work experience in an international and/or cross-cultural setting and one year or more of living outside of ‘native’ culture (preferably in a “developing” country)
    Experience in fundraising and donor relations
    Understanding of how to implement an integrated communications strategy (with ARI’s diverse supporter base including within the framework of Denominational and Mission Offices)
  • Experience creating and/or designing visual media/communications materials (print, digital, etc.);
  • Proficiency with PC based software programs (Word, Excel, Publisher), office technologies, and social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
  • Demonstrated professional commitment to human and community development
  • English language fluency (Japanese language ability advantageous, but not required)
  • Agricultural or food processing education and skills a great plus

Key Characteristics

  • Flexible, patient and compassionate, especially cross culturally
  • Strong communication and writing skills
  • Well organized with attention to detail
  • Skilled at working in teams and independently

For full details and to apply, see original posting at

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