UNITAR Fellowship Programme in Peacemaking and Preventive Diplomacy

This annual programme, now in its twenty-sixth year, offers advanced training in conflict analysis, negotiation and mediation to mid- and senior-level UN staff, diplomats and representatives of regional organizations. The primary focus is on preventing and resolving disputes through the United Nations. Senior United Nations staff members, including Special Representatives of the Secretary-General and renowned academics and practitioners serve as resource persons for the programme to discuss the latest knowledge and practice in the field.

The next two-week training programme will be held in Holmenkollen, Norway in June 2019. It offers a comprehensive framework for how disputes begin, escalate and are resolved. Case studies of conflict situations are analysed to develop an understanding of the issues, obstacles and problems which occur. The programme also offers advanced practice in the skills needed to carry out effective preventive diplomacy and peacemaking.

The programme is supported by the Government of Canada, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden.

Programme History

In 1992, after the failure of the international community to prevent the First Gulf War, despite clear “early warning”, a scholar in conflict resolution carried out a needs assessment in New York finding there was little in the way of a “culture of conflict prevention and resolution” and instead, more a culture of “reaction and crisis management,” with no UN training programmes for UN staff or diplomats in negotiation and mediation. She then approached the Executive Director of UNITAR, Marcel Boisard, with a proposal to create an advanced training programme for senior and middle-level UN staff and diplomats that would over time influence enough people to bring about reform in the UN’s approach to conflict.

The UNITAR Fellowship Programme in Peacemaking and Preventive Diplomacy was first held in 1993 and is now in its thirtieth year providing intensive training to UN headquarters and peace mission staff, regional organization representatives and diplomats from around the world. Senior officials of the OAU in 1999, requested a similar Fellowship Programme be created at the regional level in Africa. The first annual continental programme was conducted in 2000, followed by SADC Sub-regional training programmes, dedicated training for Francophone Africa officials, an African Women Peacemakers Programme, and high-level knowledge sharing among senior African peacemakers.

Tailored training is organized in preventive diplomacy for the Asia-Pacific region also. The first Seminar for Special and Personal Representatives of the Secretary-General was organized in 2001 with the participation of Kofi Annan. The regular SRSG Seminars provide an opportunity for exchange of lessons and experience among the seniormost leadership to enhance UN practice. Based on the requests of Indigenous representatives and the recommendation of UN Special Rapporteurs, the UNITAR Training Programme to Enhance the Conflict Prevention and Peacemaking Capacities of Indigenous Peoples’ Representatives was first conducted in 2000. Peacemaking and Conflict Prevention Programme alumni work from grassroots to policy levels to build more peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

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