About

Over the past ten years, there has been an emerging awareness among policymakers and academics of the importance of leadership training as a component of state-building in the process towards achieving sustainable peace. On a technical level, the art of building democratic state capacity is well understood. But the harder political task—helping the leaders of warring factions achieve their objectives, to work collaboratively in avoiding war or supporting postwar reconstruction, and to build democratically accountable links between the governors and the governed—requires a careful examination of the underappreciated “leadership factor” in peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction.

Since 2005, the Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity, established at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars by then Director Howard Wolpe, seeks to fill this gap by promoting holistic and sustainable approaches to international conflict resolution, prevention and post-conflict recovery. It achieves this objective in two ways: first, through the organization and implementation of in-country training programs designed to strengthen the trust, communication, and negotiation skills among key leaders in countries emerging from violent conflict; and, second, by stimulating discussion and analysis of ways to achieve more effective and collaborative strategies for peace building and strengthening state capacity through organizing public and private conferences and meetings and promoting ways in which the “voices” of those impacted in peace-building endeavors can be heard in the policy community.

The Leadership Project’s core activities are made possible through the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, and the United States Agency for International Development. In addition, significant support for Africa-related leadership training initiatives has come from the United Nations Peace Building Fund and USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives.

The Leadership Project collaborates with the following partners:

For internship opportunities with the Leadership Project, click here.

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Experts & Staff

  • Steve McDonald // Senior Advisor, Africa Program and Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity
  • Aly Lyons // Program Associate