Working in peacekeeping is an exciting opportunity, however joining some of the more prominent organizations can be a complicated process, even if you have the required skills and experience. Some organizations such as NATO and EUFOR require you being recruited by the defense force of a member state. However, many less-known organizations are involved in peacekeeping and need a variety of skill sets and experience levels. These often can be joined by applying online on their respective websites and waiting to hear back from them if they consider you a fitting candidate. Whether you have many years of experience, are just joining the workforce or are still a student looking for an internship, there are many peacekeeping opportunities for you. It comes down to tracking down the right opportunity and then sending in your cover letter and resume.
Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG)
If you are a lawyer or an aspiring one and would like to be employed in peacekeeping, then PILPG may be of great interest. They are a global pro bono law firm that provides free legal assistance to parties negotiating peace. Founded in 1995 in London, England, it has since been relocated to Washington, D.C., where it has assisted in more than two dozen peace negotiations. The annual amounts of pro bono legal assistance amount to $20,000,000. PILPG is actively training the next generation of peace-builders. Currently, there are over 700 alumni. Some areas covered by PLIPG are Peace Negotiations, Post-conflict Constitution Drafting, War Crimes Prosecution and Transitional Justice, and Democracy and Governance. The PLIPG has openings for experienced professionals, but they also have an internship program and an externship program. You can apply HERE.
Conflict Dynamics International (CDI)
CDI fulfills its mission through two program areas, Peacebuilding (dialogue processes to persuade belligerents to talk peace with each other) and Frontiers of Humanitarian Action (humanitarian initiatives to improve the situation of peoples within conflict zones), to prevent and resolve conflicts between states and within states. They are actively involved in Sudan, Somalia, and Syria. CDI receives support from the governments of Australia, Denmark, Canada, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and other organizations such as The United States Institute for Peace and Save The Children (UK). Available openings can be seen on their careers page HERE.
Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (hd)
Hd is a private diplomacy organization founded and based in Geneva, Switzerland, that has been involved in mediating peace agreements for almost 20 years. They are involved in over 40 active dialogues in more than 20 countries. The organization’s mission is to prevent and resolve armed conflicts through mediation and dialogue. Hd is currently an active partner in mediations in Mali, Niger, Libya, Moldova, the South China Sea, The Gambia, Myanmar, Iraq, Ukraine, The Philippines, Nigeria, Syria, the Central African Republic, Senegal, and Somalia. In the past, it has been part of many more meditations, such as in Liberia and East Timor. Hd has a multicultural environment consisting of more than 20 nationalities and is proud of its equal number of men and women staff. While professionals are needed, an entrepreneurial spirit and experience in fast-paced environments are desired traits. Openings include long-term and short-term roles in the areas of HR, IT, Finance, Fundraising Logistics, and Communications. All current jobs can be seen HERE.
Danish Refugee Council (DRC)
Founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1956 and with operations in over 30 countries, the DRC is Denmark’s largest international NGO. The NGO offers direct assistance to populations affected by military conflict. They have initiatives to provide food, cash grants, and even to build infrastructures such as roads and bridges. DRC provides all kinds of training in agriculture and literacy for refugees. The DRC has missions in just about every continent. Even though the headquarters are in Copenhagen, Denmark, most available opportunities are in conflict zones abroad. They have many opportunities for a variety of experience and skillsets. You can see them HERE.
Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
DCAF, founded in Geneva, Switzerland in the year 2000, keeps states accountable for security and justice reforms in conflict zones. Whereas there are many regulations holding militaries accountable, such rules for the private security sector are more recent. DCAF has the expertise to assist governments in implementing such reforms. With a staff count of 170 from 40 different countries, the organisation has field offices in Mali, The Gambia, Lebanon, Belgium, Slovenia, The West Bank, North Macedonia, Honduras, Libya, and Tunisia. DCAF has a variety of openings requiring different skillsets. You can see their current job offers HERE.
The United States Institute for Peace (USIP)
USIP was founded by the United States Congress in 1984 to be a nonpartisan, independent Federal institute dedicated to the idea that a world without violent conflict is not only possible but is imperative to the United States and the security of the world. USIP works with governments to resolve disputes and thus avoids costly military escalations. The organization has seen great successes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Colombia. Its more than 300 employees work abroad or at the headquarters in Washington, D.C. The USIP has trained over 65,000 professionals since its inception. Students currently studying in universities in the Washington, D.C. area have the opportunity to work as paid part-time research assistants. If you are talented and have knowledge of how to build a more peaceful world, you may find some great opportunities HERE.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
THE ICRC was formed in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1863 as a humanitarian organization to treat wounded soldiers during and after battles. Before the International Committee of the Red Cross, wounded soldiers were left to die on the battlefields across Europe. In 1864, the Geneva Convention was adopted by 12 entities agreeing to protect the ICRC medical staff from attack during their duties. The convention has since then been ratified several times and acts as the guideline for International Humanitarian Law. Today the organization has modernized and expanded considerably in its functions, with its main aim being to protect civilians who are not actively involved in the ongoing armed conflict and also combatants who have given up their arms. On that note many soldiers do receive an ICRC ID card in case of becoming POWs as the ICRC is meant to have access to POWs in order to be able to check on their well-being and make sure no human rights are being violated, making it still the only organization that takes care of wounded and captured soldiers during and after combat. The organization also aims to protect women against sexual violence in conflict zones and children who are easily exploited to being recruited as child soldiers, especially in Africa. Many people go missing during wars, and finding them is another area the ICRC specializes in. The ICRC has 18,000 staff in over 90 countries, with its key operations being in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lake Chad, Iraq, Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The International Red Cross is a large organization with over 1,000 employees in its Geneva headquarters alone. More than 150 nationalities make up its staff, and there are endless opportunities available for the right candidates, whether in the field abroad or at the HQ in Geneva. You can see all the career opportunities HERE.
The United Nations (UN)
A Peacekeeping employer list would not be complete without mentioning the United Nations. Not only is it the most familiar peacekeeping organization, but it is also the largest (44,000 personnel) and the most powerful one. Founded in 1945, the UN has its headquarters in New York City and also has principal offices in Geneva, Vienna, The Hague, and Nairobi. Its one primary role is to preserve world peace. Still, it has multiple other functions and several specialized agencies such as UNESCO and UNICEF. The UN can be joined as a soldier if you are serving in one of the 193 member states. As a police officer, if you are from one of the member states. And also as a civilian by sending in your resume at the UN careers website HERE. If you have skills and experience and you would like to be involved in peacekeeping chances are the UN has an opportunity for you.
If you are interested in becoming a peacekeeper, your primary motivation is likely that you would like to be part of something that makes a difference to the world and people’s lives. Your first thought may be to join the United Nations as when one thinks of peacekeeping; it is hard to do so without seeing the blue helmets of UN peacekeepers. The truth is that while the UN is a large organization with vast opportunities, these may not be the right opportunities for you. If you are a soldier serving in a UN, NATO, EUFOR, or AU member state, you may have the opportunity to join one of these organizations through your defense force; however, you may complete your service without having had a chance to do so. As terrible as armed conflict is, there has always been, and there most likely will always be a growing demand for peacekeepers. This ever-increasing demand results in once small peacekeeping organizations needing more and more skilled staff with a drive to work in this field. Peacekeeping is not an easy job, and it is not for the faint-hearted. It is one thing to find the skills and experience, and it is another thing to find that person who meets the requirements but is also willing to work in a dangerous conflict zone. If you have the drive and desire to be a peacekeeper, you may often find that your skills and experience come as secondary as many of these organizations will train you. Once you have decided to become a peacekeeper, you will find an ocean of opportunities with organizations that you never even knew existed but that are doing just as important work as the United Nations and NATO. These opportunities will change your life forever, add incredible experience to your resume, and improve the lives of many others who depend on people like yourself to improve their situation.