The Peace Professional – the courage to wage peace.
From peace worker to accredited Peace Professional: CPSC created the first values- & competency based accreditation process for placing Peace Professionals. Various institutions, incl. UN divisions, note that placing ill prepared or qualified staff is a common problem in areas of conflict. In response, CPSC developed best practices & standards through its accreditation program for peace professionals. Peace Professionals are peace workers assessed & accredited for their capacity & readiness to serve effectively: advise governments & international institutions; mediate, monitor, & set up elections; manage difficult projects/situations to prevent violence from erupting; guide societies toward non-violent structures & governance. Other professions have standards and codes of conduct, why not the peace profession? Law school graduates must article before practising law. Medical students must intern. CPSC believes peace workers should also prove competency & aptitude before practising.
Ongoing: Establish best practices for peace professionals; create a cadre of accredited peace professionals & facilitate non-violent resolution of conflicts. CPSC’s methodology has withstood academic & professional scrutiny. Stellar peace professionals accredited in this pilot work include Dr. Ben Hoffman, Ex-Director of Conflict Resolution at the Carter Center. Future: CPSC’s successful volunteer initiative now seeks funds, partnerships, endorsements to increase the accreditation of Peace Professionals. CPSC welcomes funding/partnering to host a high-level workshop to explore the merits, challenges, & opportunities of peace professionalism - the courage to wage peace. CPSC doesn’t compete, but rather works with others to serve peace.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
Six months of CPSC research failed to find a single organization in the world working on a values & competency-based assessment of peace professionals for areas of conflict. So some professionals opted, pro bono, to flesh out Dr. Johan Galtung’s “peace professional” concept. (www.transcend.org). Through consultation with NGOs, private sector, academics, & practitioners—including Dr. Galtung, known as the father of peace studies – CPSC professionally developed a unique methodology - documented, peer reviewed, pilot tested & refined over several years. Just 7 Peace Professionals accredited in this process represent, inter alia, the military, international development, restorative justice, ombudsmanship, police, faith, & court mediation, in areas like the Balkans, Uganda, Sudan, Tanzania, Eastern Europe. (www.civilianpeaceservice.ca/accredited-roster-1). One current applicant spent 14 years as a refugee. Another founded a successful organization training youth in alternatives to violence
To its knowledge, CPSC has pioneered & piloted the first values- & competency-based peace accreditation methodology in the world. Its groundbreaking methodology has withstood the test of academic & professional scrutiny. Indeed, some teachers/profs have used CPSC’s set of Core Values & Key Competencies in their peace studies curricula. In 2011, CPSC co-hosted a “Path to Peace Professionalism for Youth” workshop towards a career in peace work. A wide cross-section of government, NGO & private sector organizations representing youth attended. CPSC has reached out to link with government, military, trainers/universities, peace organizations, headhunters, & employers - to promote & advance the assessment & accreditation of Peace Professionals.
Those reducing violent conflict without formal recognition now gain accreditation. Those sourcing them have pre-qualified candidates. All peace workers gain greater professional respect for their courage to wage peace. Accreditation bridges academia & effective application of knowledge; provides a career path to peace as a profession; pre-qualifies candidates & sets profession-wide benchmarks i.e. quality control. This better protects citizens, screens clients, reassures employers, credits peace workers & takes seriously achieving peace. Accredited Peace Professionals have inter alia helped free girls from Joseph Kony in Sudan, instituted an ethics & anti-corruption campaign in Tanzania, reviewed capacity building for Baluchistan’s Ombudsman & influenced national policy in Nepal. Now imagine thousands of accredited peace professionals for employers & decision-makers, incl. national governments, to draw on at short notice for professional guidance in preventing & transforming violence.
Global: Inadequately prepared or qualified staff remains a problem in areas of conflict. CPSC’s challenge: CPSC’s pro-bono work to create the first viable assessment and accreditation model for peace professionalism now needs supplementary resources (partnerships, endorsements, funding & in-kind contributions) to accredit many peace professionals and create a peace profession - similar to engineering, environmentalism, medicine, etc. Past challenges included: Early resistance to CPSC’s concept of professional accreditation for fear it may diminish peace volunteers. Fear that assessing values might be impossible or ignite litigation. CPSC overcame these fears by showing how values and competency can be assessed constructively. Even unsuccessful candidates have praised the process for its impact on their lives. CPSC does not train, but rather assesses & accredits people. Where candidates fall short in terms of competency, CPSC refers them to learning institutions for further training.
Good intentions are not enough. Peace work is a discipline with extensive knowledge, expertise, & experience. Ironically, the word “peace” rouses some suspicion. CPSC’s methodology proves that accreditation based on values & competencies is necessary, works, but cannot be static. So each CPSC assessment includes a process review. While primarily geared to accreditation, CPSC also mentors candidates (to a limited but meaningful degree) -including referrals to training institutions to fill gaps in competencies. Detailed feedback to candidates has proven exceptionally useful, regardless of whether they have achieved accreditation. Cross-cultural adaptation of the accreditation process requires further work as CPSC grows. CPSC is also planning an experiential component. It is more difficult to raise funds for groundbreaking initiatives, such as pre-qualifying peace professionals for competency (to improve all placements) than to raise funds for placing peace workers regardless of aptitude