Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution Career Resources

Updated 4/1/20, 12:45 P.M. EDT

David J. Smith, JD, MS

I’m a Washington, DC based educator, career coach, and consultant. I teach at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University and the School of Education at Drexel University. My career coaching focuses on individuals looking for careers in peacebuilding, conflict resolution, international, educational, humanitarian, development, and related fields. You can learn more about my work here. I’m the author of Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (IAP 2016). The Kindle version of my book can be purchased here and on Google Play here. If you wish to reach me (including recommending resources for this page), go here.

In light of the current COVID-19 crisis and adjustments that educators, universities, colleges, and employees are making to work and learning, I’ve posted resources that might useful to students, professionals, and educators. Feel free to use anything here without the need to ask permission. What is here is mostly my work, but I’m willing to post others’ resources. What would you like to see on this page? Check back to this page for changes and additions. Also, if you are an educator, and would like me to visit virtually with your students, let me know. That can be easily arranged. The best way to reach me is here or at

Recent Developments!

The April edition of The Peace Journalist is now out in print. This is an important journal for peacebuilding and conflict resolution students. The current edition focuses on the COVID-19 crisis and peacebuilding in Northern Ireland. See below.

PCDN recently published a good piece on how the COVID crisis will advance teleworking. Go here.

If you are looking to supplement your web-based courses, consider incorporating some of the U.S. Institute of Peace’s micro-courses. They are free of charge.

On my website I have some resources that I use with clients. Go here. Feel free to access and share with students.

Job seekers might start with my recent LinkedIn Pulse article: Job Hunting in a COVID-19 World

Videos, Podcasts, and Webinars on Career Development

These are recent career focused virtual programs I’ve offered

The Future is the Present, Virginia Mediation Network 5/4/20

A Career in Conflict Resolution, ACR Webinar, 4/18/18

Blog Talk Radio: Getting a Job in Peacebuilding, 1/10/17

ADRHub Webinar – Looking at Career Paths for Young People in the Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution Fields, 5/25/16

My YouTube Channel (all career videos)

Event Reports

These posts provide important information to students and professionals about organizations that are hiring in the field

Society for International Development Career Fair, 1/29/20

CPRF – Getting a Job in Peacebuilding Career Fair, 2/19/19

International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education, 4/5/19 (day one)

International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education, 4/6/19 (day two)

RPCV and ECA Alum Career Fair, 9/6/19

Society for International Development Career Fair, 1/31/19

Online Resources, Articles, and Sites on Career Development

PCDN Global Career Resources

Resources on My Website

Forbes Articles on Career Exploration

Job Search Engines

Looking for jobs and applying for positions online is the most common strategy used today. Though one-on-one meetings are best, this is not always possible (though by using Zoom, Google chat, Skype, etc. it can still be done easily). If do look online, make sure that when you find a position you go to the website of the employer to make sure it is still open. There is often a lag time between when an employer site takes down a job, and an aggregate site finds out.

When in applying online, remember:

  • One position might take you an hour or more to apply for. Though you can likely “save” what you are working on, it’s important that you have all your materials together when you apply (resume, references, cover letter).
  • Don’t apply for online positions when you are fatigued, tired, or frustrated. You will make mistakes and sometimes they are unforgiving (that is, can’t be corrected) or you will miss things.
  • If you can find someone to reach out to directly when you are applying, do that in addition to applying online. Consider setting up an informational interview (maybe virtual). Here’s a good email approach to setting it up.
  • If you get a virtual interview, treat it as in person interview: dress professionally, prepare (a lot!), make sure your tech is working, keep your background neutral, etc.

Here are a few sites I suggest. Many recommend your setting up a profile (so that similar jobs will be sent to you) or joining (which may involve a cost).

Idealist (for jobs in the not for profit, social justice/change fields, etc.)

ReliefWeb (for jobs in the humanitarian, NGO fields, etc.)

Devex (for jobs in the international development field, etc.)

Daybook (for jobs in government, policy, Congress-related, etc.)

Indeed (for a range of positions)

USAJOBS (for jobs in the U.S. government)

Purchasing Peace Jobs Online

My publisher just sent out the below email regarding ordering my book or any IAP book online.

Graduate and Undergraduate Program Information

If you or your students are considering grad school (or undergrad programs), consider these resources to get you started

Guides to Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Programs (Undergraduate and Graduate)

PCDN’s Resources List for Graduate School

Models for Understanding Careers in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution

Below are two models to help understand careers. The first is commonly known as the Strategic Peacebuilding Pathways Wheel developed by John Paul Lederach and Katie Mansfield. It presents the various fields that constitute peacebuilding. I’ve modified it to provide specific organizational and entity examples. The second is a model I developed for my book on “indirect” and “direct” action careers. My argument is the “indirect” action work is more prevalent and allows for incorporation of peace/conflict skills in most any field. The micro/meso/macro distinctions reflect who the work is applied.

From Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (IAP 2016)
(c) Information Age Publishing

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