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7 Common Career Paths in Peacebuilding

Peacebuilding is a field that seeks to reduce violent conflict through non-violent methods, using practices such as research, policy analysis, and conflict transformation. Practitioners in the field are pursuing this goal in a world experiencing historic levels of global conflict, made ever more complex by factors like climate change and globalisation.

From a career perspective, this has led to a wide range of in demand skills and experiences, and by extension career paths, into the field of peacebuilding. This article will outline 7 common peacebuilding career paths by describing the types of work currently being performed, as well as the necessary skills, qualifications, and compensation a would-be applicant can expect. 

#1 Conflict Transformation Practitioner

In peacebuilding, conflict transformation practitioners support local communities to engage with one another about the conflict they are experiencing, often through some form of facilitated dialogue. Depending on the needs of the community, these dialogues will address the causes of conflict, promote mutual understanding, and determine next steps in working towards peace. A practitioner will either facilitate the dialogues with individuals directly, or offer training sessions to local community members to facilitate them independently. The exact title of the position and focus of the role will change depending on the needs of the community; for instance, whereas conflict transformation practitioners work on shifting the nature and experience of conflict among affected individuals, dispute resolution practitioners specialise in negotiation and mediation to help resolve disputes. 

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Similar Career Titles:

  • Peace Mediator
  • Dialogue Facilitator
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Practitioner

Qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree in areas like Conflict Resolution, Peace and Post Conflict Studies, Law, or a related field may be the minimum requirement. 
  • Completion of accredited dialogue facilitation, mediation or arbitration training program. 
  • Practical experience in dispute resolution, dialogue facilitation, or conflict transformation. 

Salary:

  • $66,130 USD (based on data from US Bureau of Statistics) 

Related Resources:

#2 Academic Researcher

In the field of peacebuilding, academic researchers help advance our understanding of peace and conflict in both local and global contexts. Researchers in this field may conduct in-depth studies and investigations to identify the root causes of specific conflicts, assess the effectiveness of peacebuilding strategies, and contribute to the development of evidence-based policies. Their aim is to provide valuable insights and inform practical strategies for promoting peace. As such, this research can involve a wide range of academic disciplines, such as political science, sociology, and behavioural psychology, depending on the focus of the study. 

Similar Career Titles:

  • Peace and Conflict Researcher
  • Conflict Analyst
  • Policy Researcher

Qualifications:

  • Bachelors, Masters, or PhD degree (The level of qualification for such positions varies. It will be influenced by factors such as whether you are managing other researchers, the type of data being collected, and how extensive the data collection is) from a field relevant to the study being conducted.
  • Experience in research design and data analysis.  

Salary:

  • $63,000 (based on data from US Bureau of Statistics). Varies depending on level of education, region, and industry. 

Related Resources:

#3 Monitoring and Measurement Specialist

In order to demonstrate that peacebuilding efforts are working, real time data collection and measurements are needed. As such, a Monitoring and Measurement Specialists will help design, implement, and manage systems to monitor the progress and impact of peacebuilding programs. Their key responsibilities include developing indicators, collecting data, ensuring data quality, and providing evidence-based insights for program improvement. Specialists will collaborate closely with many other peacebuilding practitioners to ensure that peacebuilding projects are well-informed, evidence-driven, and aligned with program goals for building and sustaining peace.

Similar Career Titles:

  • Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist
  • Performance Analyst
  • Peace Impact Specialist

Qualifications:

  • Masters Degree in a relevant field such as Peace and Conflict Studies, International Relations, Political Science, or Sociology is often required. 
  • 3+ years of applied experience in monitoring and evaluation in a comparable setting.

Salary:

  • $45,000 to $105,000 USD (Salary based on average across job ads found in multiple job boards). Varies greatly depending on seniority of position and level of management responsibility.   

Related Resources:

#4 Trauma Counsellor

Trauma-informed care is becoming an essential component of many different peacebuilding roles. Practitioners in this role focus on addressing the psychological and emotional impact of trauma within conflict-affected communities. Trauma Counsellors can provide essential therapy and support to individuals who have experienced trauma, aiding their recovery and healing. A practitioner in this field may also equip other peacebuilders with the knowledge and skills needed to recognize and respond to trauma appropriately within their own work. For those being affected by conflict, practitioners can work to strengthen the resilience of communities in the face of trauma and adversity.

Similar Career Titles:

  • Trauma-Informed Care Trainer
  • Community Resilience Coordinator

Qualifications:

  • Educational requirements vary by role; for counsellors or therapists, a Master’s degree in Counseling, Clinical Psychology, Social Work, or a related field is common.
  • Licence or certificate in relevant mental health professions may be required.
  • Practical experience providing trauma-informed therapy and support.

Salary:

  • $70,000 USD (Salary based on average across job ads found in multiple job boards). This salary will vary based on the nature of delivery (e.g., whether it is in an educational versus counselling setting).

Related Resources:

#5 Peacebuilding Project Manager

A peacebuilding project manager is responsible for planning, organising, and overseeing initiatives aimed at fostering peace and stability in conflict-affected regions. They can do this either by managing peacebuilding organisations and directing the creation of new projects, or by focusing on specific projects or components within larger programs through detailed project planning and resource allocation. Typically, all project management roles will involve working closely with other participants in peacebuilding projects (such as practitioners from the other roles described in this article) as well as the local communities themselves, supporting and guiding their day to day functions.

Similar Career Titles:

  • Peacebuilding Program Coordinator
  • Senior Manager

Qualifications:

  • A Masters degree in public administration, political or social sciences, international studies, management and development related fields.
  • 5+ years of experience managing comparable projects and/or in an organisation leadership position.

Salary:

  • $90,000 USD (Salary based on average across job ads found in multiple job boards).

Related Resources:

#6 Peacebuilding Communications Specialist

A Communications Specialist in peacebuilding manages the sharing of information about peace initiatives and values. They do this by creating communication plans, engaging with media and stakeholders, and developing content for advocacy campaigns. The target audience and goals of these projects can range, including promoting awareness of peacebuilding efforts for a global audience, to sharing information about peacebuilding principles to local communities in conflict directly. Overall, their goal is to ensure accurate media coverage, offer culturally sensitive messages, and foster understanding to mobilise support for peacebuilding initiatives.

Similar Career Titles:

  • Peacebuilding Outreach Specialist
  • Communications Intern
  • Communications for Development Specialist 

Qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree or higher in communications, public relations, journalism, international relations, or a related field is often required. 

Salary:

  • $45,000 to $115,000 USD (Salary based on averages across job ads found in multiple job boards). 

Related Resources:

#7 Peacebuilding Policy Analyst

A peacebuilding policy analyst will evaluate and assess policies related to conflict resolution and peace promotion that impact regions in conflict. Collaborating with community stakeholders, those affected by the conflict, and other peacebuilding practitioners, they will conduct research to understand the impact of existing policies and propose recommendations for improvement. Additionally, they monitor the implementation of policies and evaluate their outcomes to ensure they align with peace and stability objectives. The work of Policy Analysts in this field can range broadly, looking at overarching frameworks like that of the UN, or much more local policies that govern the area experiencing conflict specifically. 

Similar Career Titles:

  • Peacebuilding Policy Researcher
  • Peace and Conflict Research Analyst 
  • Conflict Analyst

Qualifications:

  • Bachelors, Masters, or PhD may be needed depending on depth of analysis and level of management responsibility. 
  • Demonstrated experience in planning and conducting policy analyses. 

Salary:

  • $37,000 to $75,000 USD  (Salary based on averages across job ads found in multiple job boards and US Bureau of Labor Statistics). 

Related Resources:

Important Final Note: the term ‘common’ in common career path does not necessarily mean ‘expectation’. A “common career path” refers to the usual steps people take in their career journey to move forward in a particular field. The positions listed are very important roles within the peacebuilding field, relevant to peacebuilding projects that are taking place in conflict affected regions all over the world. However, this is not an exhaustive list. Even within the career types described, there will be subcategories and adjacent fields of work that are just as relevant in finding skills and experiences that can build people into competent peacebuilders. As such, this list is a launch point towards those careers; it will be helpful for anyone looking to find work as a peacebuilder or who wants to reskill within the peacebuilding field. 

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