Here are two interesting resources available for you to further develop your knowledge and skill sets when it comes to post-conflict stabilization and state-building . . .
The first is a joint venture from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute to develop a manual for those involved in post-conflict stabilization. The 244 page document is entitled “Guidelines for Stabilization and Reconstruction,” and is available for download here.
It is not unlike the recent cooperation between the U.S. Army and Marine Corps on Field Manual 3-07: Stability Operations, and before that, Field Manual 3-24: Counterinsurgency Operations, which is much more famous. Together, these three documents should be considered the key texts when it comes to U.S. government policy as it relates to post-conflict stabilization and stability operations in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ambassador John Herbst, who is the State Department’s Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, wrote about the Guidelines in his office’s Winter 2009/2010 newsletter, calling it “doctrine” for “civilian planners and practitioners involved in peacebuilding missions.”
According to Herbst:
[The] manual offers two important contributions: 1) a comprehensive set of shared principles and 2) a shared strategic framework. Both rise directly from the enormous wealth of knowledge and experience that has accrued across the global peacebuilding community over the last two decades. The development of the manual involved intensive vetting and consultation sessions with NATO planners, British stabilizers, UN peacebuilders and other key partners. It also involved a thorough review of hundreds of doctrinal documents produced by the very institutions that have toiled in these difficult environments. [Emphasis mine]
The second resource is a set of courses you can take from USIP that deals directly with post-conflict stabilization. The only issue is they are all based in Washington, DC.
Below are descriptions of two sample courses being held in June . . .
Covers the missions, cultures, operating procedures, and other essential characteristics of key international organizations, regional organizations, government organizations, militaries, and nongovernmental organizations in peace operations and stability operations. Inter-organizational planning, communication, and coordination in hostile environments are also addressed.
Participants explore the analytical links between economic activity and conflict as well as the practical constraints and rewards of using economic instruments of conflict management. Case studies and simulations set in Kosovo, Haiti, and Sudan encourage participants to formulate economic instruments within a strategic framework for economic development in vulnerable and conflict-affected states.
Those who wish to work in post-conflict stabilization often find it difficult to get their foot in the door unless they’re already a U.S. government employee and deployed into one of these areas, or have worked for an NGO in another area and brought in. Those who already work in this area find there are not many training opportunities and most of what you learn is either on the job or through self-study.
In both cases, by internalizing the above manuals and taking some of these courses, individuals can better position themselves for finding positions and working successfully in conflict and post-conflict environments.
Eventually, USIP says all the courses will be online. Three are already up and are available for free. I’ve taken their online certificate course in conflict analysis and thought it well worth the time.