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Are you curious about what it takes for young women, like yourself, to lead in the male-dominated field of peace and security? Do you want to gain practical and professional skills to master effective leadership for peace? Or are you looking for an opportunity to meet a unique group of peers from around the world that will build your international network of strong women with a common goal? Then this opportunity might be for you.

The #SheLeads4Peace Summer School will offer participants the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills to realise their ambitions to become a leader in peace and security.

What motivates us at UNITAR to offer you the best possible summer school? Our answer is: Did you know that it is estimated that 50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old? That the COVID-19 pandemic has set the world back by a generation on its agenda to reach gender parity? Increasing the number of women elevated to lead and contribute to peace processes at all levels is not just desirable from an equity perspective, but it is crucial for sustaining peace.

In light of the realities of the world we are living in, UNITAR is delighted to be able to offer online summer school for young women peacebuilders.

Event Objectives  

With the focus on encouraging leadership in young women as well as an emphasis on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, UNITAR’s #SheLeads4Peace Summer School seeks to:

  • Provide participants with opportunities for professional growth and personal development in regard to becoming an effective leader for peace;
  • Help participants increase their own awareness of their leadership styles through  exploring examples of effective leadership for peace;
  • Allow participants to learn first-hand about working for the United Nations and International Organisations; 
  • Give participants an insight into the latest developments regarding the realisation of Agenda 2030;
  • Provide participants with opportunities to build and join a network of strong women with a common goal.

Content & Structure

The #SheLeads4Peace Summer School will consist of two weeks of half-day virtual sessions focused on what it means to lead effectively for peace as young women as well as gaining familiarity with the sustaining peace ecosystem.

Module 1: International Geneva and the sustaining peace ecosystem

Long gone are the days where the world’s leaders have either law, business, or political background. In today’s world – and even more so in tomorrow’s world – leaders will come from all walks of life and they must represent diverse backgrounds. With this as the starting point for the design of this summer school, the first module will provide a base level foundation for all participants by exploring what multilateralism, peacebuilding, and the fight for gender equality mean in 2021.

By aiming to go beyond the traditional notions discussed in International Relations and Peace Studies, this module will provide students with an insight into the realities of working towards the sustaining peace agenda. Through an insight into the various mechanisms that simultaneously pursue the same goals and the various frameworks that shape their working remits, this module will give participants a more in-depth understanding of the sustaining peace ecosystem which they will be able to draw on as they continue their studies, complete job applications, and begin their careers

Participants will be able to:

  • Discuss what tools, strategies and mechanisms are currently being used to successfully realise the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Differentiate between the mandates and thematic areas of work of the different UN agencies and international organisations;
  • Discuss the current UN reforms and to what extent the emerging prominence of the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus will influence how we achieve peace;
  • Describe how the different stakeholders that contribute to the sustaining peace agenda interact and work together (from the grassroots level to the international level);
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the sustaining peace agenda, the Women, Peace and Security agenda and other peace related frameworks.

Module 2: Effective leadership

Building upon UNITAR’s Women’s Leadership for Peace programme, this short module will explore the theory behind the curriculum and introduce participants to the six key themes: (1) Clarity, (2) Authenticity, (3) Power, (4) Wellbeing, (5) Connection, and (6) Mastery. As the next generation of leaders, UNITAR believes that it is important to also share the reasoning and relevance of these six themes with participants, in the hope that they will go on to share this knowledge with others they meet during their careers.

The starting point for developing influential leaders is to examine and provide appropriate and effective mindsets, skills, and tools. In addition, the specific nature of different leadership contexts, as well as the particular reality for women leaders in the field of peace and security, must be considered. Within the Women’s Leadership for Peace programme, UNITAR will use the six key themes as a running red lace through which participants will be encouraged to reflect, both inwardly and outwardly, on effective leadership. As participants will be at the beginning of their careers and, therefore, will not necessarily have extensive leadership experience upon which they can draw as they reflect on leading in complex environments, a group simulation and roll-play exercises will used to support with the reinforcement of learning through the application of knowledge.

Participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the multiple ways in which the six themes that UNITAR uses as the base of its Women’s Leadership for Peace course are relevant for leading in complex environments;
  • Show a clear understanding of the ways in which ecosystems will influence leadership challenges and how others perceive your personal leadership styles;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of why wellbeing is so important in leadership for peace and identify good practices for looking after themselves;
  • Identify examples of effective leadership for peace.

Module 3: Becoming the next generation of women leaders for peace

To support with their journey to becoming effective leaders for peace, participants will be presented with various exercises to encourage increased self-awareness regarding their natural leadership tendencies. One of the beliefs upon which the Women’s Leadership for Peace programme has been built upon is that self-awareness is critical for peace leaders – while different leadership traits are needed in different contexts, to be an effective peace leader you must be able to adapt your approaches and expectations depending on the context and challenges that you are facing. For some people, this self-awareness will come naturally, but for others it is a skill that will need to be developed. Hence, by providing participants with this knowledge and insight at the beginning of their careers – as well as a safe space in which participants can reflect, practice, fail and try again – UNITAR believes that the graduates of this programme will have the cognizance to become the next generation of leaders. Throughout this module, participants will discuss what sort of leaders they want to be and develop a plan on how they will become those leaders.

Participants will be able to:

  • Compare their own leadership approaches to these five themes and identify areas of personal strength and weakness;
  • Recognise what leadership characteristics and traits they believe inspire best practices;
  • Demonstrate increased self-awareness regarding how they present themselves and interact in group settings;
  • Debate their understanding of different and diverse identities and how these have shaped their consciousness and world view;
  • Produce a 12-month work plan on how they will work to take their personal leadership style to the next level.

Module 4: Tips, tricks and navigating those early career hurdles

When speaking to young women who were in the position of looking to start their careers only a few years ago, the overwhelming majority said that they wished that they had been presented with a chance to learn more about different entry routes and gain skills to handle being young women in male-dominated and hierarchal environments – consequently, that is what this module will seek to do.

Through the organisation of skills development workshops and simulations exercises (particularly regarding writing cover letters, interview technique, and how to approach assessments), participants will get to put into practice what they have learned during the course. Similarly, UNITAR will organise Q&A sessions with HR professionals, young women who have recently been in the same position as participants and thought leaders who will be able to share their experiences and lessons learned with the participants.

Additionally, one of the most challenging aspects about applying for jobs is telling a convincing narrative about your skills and experiences. With this in mind, participants will be encouraged to do some research, in advance, into the types of jobs that they are interested in and the skills/competencies needed for those positions. Participants will then work in groups to explore what picture they could paint about themselves in their applications – through working in groups on this task, we hope that the participants will gain a new perspective of themselves through the eyes of their peers.

Participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of how to navigate the different possible entry routes for a career in peace and security;
  • Practice implementing a range of tools and mindsets to help them navigate male-dominated environments with confidence;
  • Examine the necessary hard- and soft-skills that are needed for a career in peace and security and distinguish which of these skillsets they need to further develop;
  • Describe how they will further their skills in the immediate future and in the longer term;
  • Show confidence in their applications by illustrating articulately that they have the required skills and knowledge for a career in peace and security.


This course will be held online from 2-13 August 2021. Participants will engage in half day virtual experiential sessions. Participants are responsible for ensuring that they have a stable internet connection which will allow for up-to 5hrs of video conferencing a day.

Targeted Audience

The #SheLeads4Peace Summer School is designed for young (self-identifying) women who are looking to make the transition from further education into the workplace and are eager to start their career with the self-awareness that is needed to be an effective leader for peace. It is suggested that participants should be post-graduate students (either at a Masters or Doctoral level) or in their first year or two of their career. However, outstanding candidates who are in their final year of undergraduate studies are also encouraged to apply. 

UNITAR encourages applications from underrepresented groups and persons with disabilities to apply.

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