Effective peacebuilders often possess core attributes that enhance their efficacies in the workplace. These are sometimes developed over time through work experience, but are most often acquired through training programmes. Rotary International (Rotary), working in partnership with a number of leading universities, has invested heavily in such a programme. The question this study seeks to answer is “How successful is the Rotary programme’s contribution to the training of Peace Fellows as effective peace builders?” To date there has been no similar investigation of attempts to train professional peacebuilders. An initial exploration of the Rotary programme, its history, organisation and aims, draws upon a document analysis. Data used to evaluate the programme’s success in training peace builders derives from an online census survey of all, and interviews with a purposively selected sample of, Peace Fellows, who graduated from the programme between 2004 and 2012. Interviews with a small number of potential employer representatives augmented the data.
Rotary believes that, it can identify and recruit potential leaders. And then, through its worldwide network of clubs and working with partner universities, train and equip them with the requisite peacebuilding knowledge, skills and abilities – the core attributes. Once trained as peace builders, Peace Fellows can return to their employing organisations as efficient champions of peacebuilding. It is a laudable goal. The current research shows that, on its terms and in the view of those who have gone through it, the Rotary programme is doing well in delivering training. The nuances in the evidence presented, though not statistically significant, indicate that the programme does not deliver uniformly to all Peace Fellows. Also, circumstances both during and after the fellowship affect experiences and perceptions of Peace Fellows about the programme’s success in grooming them to become effective peace builders.
The results of this study contribute to efforts to train professionally peace builders by identifying and presenting training experiences and perceptions of former Peace Fellows. The research findings offer practical insights into the Rotary programme and how it delivers on training. The thesis contributes to the significant gap in the peacebuilding literature, especially the lack of attention given to the professional training of peacebuilders and its attendant issues. Moreover, understanding the core attributes required by effective peacebuilders is a first and necessary step towards developing effective training models for preparing professional peacebuilders.