LinkedIn asked its regular posters to think about what it calls #BigIdea2019. I don't normally make New Year's resolutions or predictions. But here's my big wish. I'll do what I can to make it happen.
As I get read to write about where the peacebuilding world has to head next in finishing my textbook, I find myself thinking about the business world. There are groups like the Norwegian based Business for Peace which are trying to draw explicit links between the corporate and peacebuilding worlds. That’s obviously important. However, I think it’s even more important that we take some management ideas from that world and apply them to ours.
I had planned to write about ideas peacebuilders could draw from the business world until I spoke at (and mostly listened) a workshop organized the Rondine Cittadella del Pace. I was blown away and decided to put off dealing with the business world until next week. The staff along with a number of current and former students came to the United States and Canada to launch their Leaders for Peace. The idea is simple. Rondine is asking the 193 UN member states to redirect part of their defense spending toward training young leaders for peace, the way it has for the last twenty years.
I started my career as a political scientist and am now a peacebuilder. The two fields obviously overlap, but the nature of that overlap has not been obvious. However, after reading Rachel Kleinfeld’s wonderful new book, A Savage Order, I’m beginning to see not only where the connections lie but also where we need to (re)direct our peacebuilding work. Thirty years ago, Theda Skocpol and others convinced a lot of political scientists that we had to “bring the state back in” to our research on comparative politics which was then focused on voting behavior and the like. They were right then. They are right for peacebuilding in other ways today.