What Can you do With a Degree in Peacebuilding, Strategic Peacebuilding Pathways from the Kroc Institute

Strategic Peacebuilding Pathways

Professor John Paul Lederach, professor of international peacebuilding, and Katie Mansfield,
peacebuilding network coordinator from  Kroc Institute for Peacebuilding at Notre Dame University, have published this wonderful resource exploring the diverse career paths of individuals pursuing degrees in peace studies. For more information see


What does the whole field of peacebuilding practice look like?
Where do I fit in?

What are the potential career pathways for a strategic peacebuilder? 

This graphic, developed by John Paul Lederach, professor of international peacebuilding, and Katie Mansfield, peacebuilding network coordinator, is a response to questions about the field and a desire to advance understanding of peacebuilding practice beyond the focus of its many specialized subfields. It illustrates the  field’s main components and subcomponents and their relationship to each other.


The inner circle highlights the three major areas of strategic peacebuilding: 
1) efforts to prevent, respond to, and transform violent conflict;
2) efforts to promote justice and healing; and
3) efforts to promote structural and institutional change.  

The outer circle highlights sub-areas of practice and career focus within those three areas. For each of these sub-areas, a variety
of individual career pathways emerge.  For example, the following are
career pathways taken by Kroc Institute alumni (many careers could be
included in multiple categories): 

Restorative Justice

  • Addressing historical and ongoing harms against indigenous people
  • Community-based restorative justice 
  • National restoration processes (addressing historical structural harm)
  • Prison system reform 

Transitional Justice

  • International Criminal Court or tribunals 
  • Justice to address mass atrocity and human rights
  • National and local justice processes 

Trauma Healing  

  • Child soldier reintegration 
  • Collective community healing 
  • Refugee resettlement and services 
  • Trauma therapy and counseling/social support
  • Victim support and reparations 

Humanitarian Action  

  • Crisis health care and social services
  • Human rights protection and monitoring 
  • Humanitarian advocacy and law
  • Humanitarian emergency response 
  • Information management for relief operations
  • Public health work related to structural and physical violence 

Government and Multilateral Efforts  

  • Civil-military relations 
  • Demobilization and disarmament 
  • Diplomacy
  • Intergovernmental organizations 
  • Peace processes 
  • Policy analysis and implementation
  • Post-conflict reconstruction      

Nonviolent Social Change 

  • Active nonviolence
  • Community organizing, mobilization or social action/movements
  • Issue-based educational campaigns
  • Media/journalism/writing 
  • Minority and marginalized empowerment and civil rights advocacy 

Dialogue / Conflict Resolution Strategies  

  • Arts-based approaches to social transformation
  • Conflict monitoring and early warning
  • Cross-cultural contact programs
  • Inter-faith, inter-ethnic, and intercultural dialogue 
  • Language interpreting or teaching 
  • Local peacebuilding institutes and training 
  • Mediation or dispute settlement 
  • Reconciliation 
  • Violence prevention or resolution 


  • Adult and civic education
  • Applying gender lenses to peace and conflict
  • Building peaceable schools
  • Educational reform initiatives
  • Investigating cultural and structural violence
  • Leadership development and training among historically disadvantaged groups
  • Service learning 
  • University-based peace studies/ peace education/ peace research 
  • Vocational schools 


  • Economic development 
  • Gender equality work
  • Housing and urban development/redevelopment 
  • Human and social development 
  • Local and international development 
  • Microfinance and small business development 
  • Strengthening democratic institutions and participation 
  • Sustainable development, sustainable agriculture  

Dealing with Transnational and Global Threats  

  • Corruption and organized crime 
  • Cultural and structural violence
  • Economic and social injustice 
  • Environmental degradation and climate change 
  • Gender exclusion and gender-based violence 
  • Genocide and mass violence 
  • Human rights violations 
  • Human trafficking  
  • Imperial domination 
  • Nuclear and small arms proliferation
  • Poverty, hunger and homelessness
  • Terrorism 
  • War    

Law: Advocacy and Solidarity  

  • Family law and domestic violence protection
  • Human rights law
  • Immigration law, immigrant services and education 
  • Indigenous cultural preservation, solidarity and rights 
  • International law and policy work 
  • Labor and employment law/protection 
  • Land issues
  • Migrant justice, migration and human trafficking  
  • Work with youth: Child protection, rights, services    

Tags: Careers, Conflict resolution, Mainstreaing, Paths, Peacebuilding, Resources

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Replies to This Discussion

This is truely a wonderful resource for Peace and conflict practitioners. Thanks Kroc Insitute at Notre Dame University.

Shamita Omote
Loaded i must confess, nice work.
This wchich I would very like and waited. Thanks very much to Prof. John Paul Lederach, Katie Mansfield and Kroc Inntitute for peacebuilding at Notre Dame University.
I think this is interesting.I have been debating between Notre Dame and NOVA Soutth Eastern University for a Phd in Peace and Conflict management but am getting close to making my choices now. This graphic rep is powerful.Thanks.
This is truly wonderful but the connectivity between peace building and each area of inner circle, as depicted the tentative curriculum of each, did not show the synergy or correlation in addressing the issue of peace building. In the circle, i have identified three areas that i can fit in which are education, development , government and multilateral efforts.  Notwithstanding a big thank you to Kroc Institute


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