IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Makes sense to me!

If we are serious about peace, and we are honest with ourselves about the scale of the obstacles to peace, it seems only reasonable to “professionalize” peace making.  As usual, the Canadians are in the vanguard with stuff like this.
“Grading the Peacemakers

My guests are Gord Breedyk and Erich Schellhammer, two Canadians pushing an initiative to formally accredit international peace professionals to work with parties at war with each other. Gord is a non-profit leader in Ottowa, Canada. Erich is a professor at Royal Roads University in Vancouver, B.C. and director of the Bachelor of Arts Justice Program, which orients junior and senior undergraduates to social justice opportunities as careers.

In the private and commercial world, the International Mediation Institute has a certification process for international commercial mediators. However, there is no accreditation process for peace professionals working in international conflict. On this edition of The Doug Noll Show we will learn more about a Canadian attempt to correct this problem.

Gord and Erich used the term “peace professional” to illustrate the broad and deep range of competencies and values necessary for effective peacemaking. They tell us that the term “peace professional” is more attractive to senior diplomats and military leaders than the term “mediator.” Internationally, mediation has gained somewhat of a bad reputation because the people appointed as mediators have had spotty credentials as professional mediators with consequent poor results.

Peace professionals, as defined by Gord and Erich, embody values including empathy, humility personal maturity, sound judgment, sincerity, a strong desire for social justice and peace for all, and a willingness to learn. In addition, peace professionals demonstrate a number of core competencies, including: communication, conciliation, conflict analysis, facilitation, mediation, negotiation, operational planning, peace building, personal security, strategic thinking, and teamwork. Gord and Erich envision accredited peace professionals as being accepted at the highest levels of world governments as catalysts for peace.

Gord and Erich explain that the accreditation process is into phases. In Phase 1, an applicant for accreditation submits a resume of experience for review by a panel of accreditors. If the accreditors believe that the applicant has sufficient experience and knowledge to continue on, the applicant is asked to write a series of self-reflective essays. In addition, the applicant provides three references who are asked to comment on the applicant’s core values. After the applicant has completed the essays and provided references, the applicant goes through an intensive interview process with the accrediting panel. The interview process is designed to be self-reflective and go deep into the core values of the applicant. If the panelists agree that the applicant demonstrates the core values of the peace professional, the applicant is allowed to move to Phase 2.

In Phase 2, the applicant’s core competencies are evaluated. Again, the applicant is asked to provide self-reflective essays on the applicant’s core competencies and provide references that can attest to those competencies. A second interview process occurs centered on the applicant’s core competencies. At the end of the process, the panel makes a final decision as to whether the applicant meets the standards to be accredited as a peace professional.

In the pilot project, five people applied for accreditation and two people have been accredited. The pilot project was designed to test out the accreditation process and to prove that those who are accredited are truly at the highest level of professionalism.

Gord and Erich see this project as a long-term endeavor. They hope that as time goes on, the quality of accredited peace professionals will demonstrate the power of the credentialing process. Their project is drawing the interest of both the Canadian and United States military leadership as those organizations begin to realize the importance of the peace professionals’ core values and competencies within the military.

The challenge going forward is to find funding to make the accreditation process sustainable, to find qualified applicants, and to demonstrate to the world diplomatic and military leadership that accredited peace professionals are valuable additions to peace processes internationally. More information about the accreditation process and Civilian Peace Service Canada can be found at the website www.civilianpeaceservice.ca.”


November 10, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Good post, but Royal Roads University is in Victoria, BC.

    Comment by Patty Shaw | November 10, 2010 | Reply

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