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Effective Advising - Global Edition

Effective Advising in Complex Contexts: Enabling sustainable peace

About the course

Violent conflict is one of the primary obstacles to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the majority of populations in humanitarian need live in states affected by armed conflict. The international and national community – from the humanitarian, development, stabilisation, peacebuilding and human rights sectors – need to enhance their effectiveness in supporting locally led efforts fostering sustainable peace.

The objective of Interpeace’s Effective Advising Course is to equip experts and advisors with tools and approaches that will help them work effectively in complex and unpredictable environments. Designed to treat “advising” as a professional skillset which can be honed and finetuned, the course focuses on the personal and relational dimensions of advising to reinforce participants’ ability to identify and foster opportunities for change.

The global edition of this professional development course consists in a 5-day workshop complemented by three live online sessions (pre and post-course) and supplemented by background reading and individual preparation.

A team of three experienced facilitators guide ~20 participants from around the world to take a step back from their day-to-day work environments. The course stimulates participants to reflect on their individual roles, their effectiveness as advisors, and to analyse their own perceptions of change.

Interpeace’s interactive and practice-oriented methodology provides a space for professionals to reflect on their personal professional practice and behaviours, take a fresh look at advisory challenges and tackle these more consciously and creatively using practical frameworks.

Note: This is not a course focused on peacebuilding theory or programming. This is a course for advisors seeking structured training to advance their professional approaches and individual behaviours working in polarised and peacebuilding contexts.

Why focus on advising?

Effective advising is about the capacity of advisers to position themselves appropriately and consciously in their professional setting, relate to the people they work with, and to deliberately choose their ways of working and engaging.

At Interpeace, we believe that many of the limitations we see in international assistance particularly in conflict-affected settings can be addressed through a peace-responsive approach. Peace cannot be built and sustained by “peacebuilders” alone. It requires all those working for peaceful and resilient societies to seriously commit to operationalising conflict sensitivity and contributing to peace outcomes through their sectoral programming. Peace responsive organizations act in ways that enhance collective impact, support inclusive and locally led change, and strengthen society’s resilience in the face of conflict and violence.

The Effective Advising Course is based on the belief that improvements to individual advisory capacities will strengthen all other levels of our work: generating more effective programmes, organizations, and systems of international assistance. In their individual capacities, advisers play a key role in overcoming organizational, programmatic, or system-wide barriers.

The role of advisers is especially extensive and complex in settings affected by conflict. Advisers are often key influencers: they promote change from within, play insider-outsider roles, make connections, build key relationships, and contribute fresh perspectives. Often playing the role of “backstage” changemakers, advisors can increase impact, promote sustainability and inspire transformation.

Interpeace recognises that the multifaceted challenges faced by the development, humanitarian, and peacebuilding sectors can at times feel overwhelming. As individuals, we simply cannot “fix” all these issues. However, we can reflect on the complex dynamics at play and listen to those around us to carefully identify leverage points for change that are manageable and lead to positive outcomes that support the flourishing of more peaceful societies.

Is this course right for you?

This course is for professionals from the humanitarian, development, peacebuilding, human rights and stabilisation fields and focuses on skills and practices that are applicable across sectors.

We welcome participants from non-governmental organisations, governments, international organisations, military, research centres, grassroot organisations or independent experts. Participants advise on a range of domains: technical matters, social change strategies and programmes, policy issues and organizational change processes. Participants work in or on countries wrestling with dynamics of conflict and violence, complex social change, and polarisation.

We welcome mid-level to senior level advisors with a range of different backgrounds. One of the course’s success factors is a dynamic mix of participants which creates a unique environment conducive to learning with and from fellow advisors.

Participants are selected following a rigorous selection process to ensure a diverse mix of participants from different backgrounds, enriching the learning environment and peer-to-peer exchanges.

The online sessions of the Effective Advising course take place on Zoom

The course methodology

The three facilitators – Anita ErnstorferNora Refaeil and Jan Ubels  – provide frameworks which advisors can apply to clarify and more consciously address the situations, assignments and multifaceted challenges they are facing.

The training team applies a lively mix of working formats to support learning. All participants will gain access to a library of resources and relevant literature, videos, podcasts on the topics addressed.

The course is geared towards adult learning with the creation of an environment encouraging exchange and listening between professional peers. Together, the team fosters conversation, indicates linkages between topics, and facilitates a dynamic learning process and a constructive group atmosphere. A safe space supports the sharing of the often complex and sensitive challenges participants face.

The course invites participants to undertake a deep and honest self-reflection. Participants learn this is just as much about dealing with themselves as it is about dealing with the challenging situations and issues they work with.

Practical examples are used to highlight the application of methodologies discussed. Participants should be ready to prepare, share and discuss issues and scenarios from their own professional experience with the group.

 
Anita Ernstorfer
Nora Refaeil
Jan Ubels

What will you learn?

By the time you finish the course, you will be better equipped to:

  • Identify a variety of advisory roles and consciously navigate them, adapted to task and context.
  • Embrace complexity and ambiguity in advisory settings.
  • Understand conditions for systems change and how to accompany day-to-day change processes at different levels.
  • Develop awareness of your personal agency and critical interpersonal skills that are central to fostering constructive relationships as an effective and trusted adviser.
  • Grasp the importance of how organisational practices and individual behaviours can contribute to sustaining peace in conflict affected contexts.
  • Recognise and overcome resistance to change and learn how to remain adaptive in complex settings.
  • Identify leverage points for change that are simultaneously ambitious and manageable in practice.
  • Be more aware of your own behavioural patterns and manage your well-being, energy and creativity.

How to apply?

The 2023 call for applications is now closed.

To receive news of future calls for applications, please either complete the “sign-up for news” por-out box on this page or email us at: effectiveadvising@interpeace.org.

The Effective Advising in Complex Contexts course has been run by Interpeace since 2013. Interpeace is grateful for the ongoing partnership with and funding by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and for past funding from Global Affairs Canada.

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