Effective Advising – Global Edition

Effective Advising in Complex Contexts: Enabling sustainable peace


Violent conflict is one of the primary obstacles to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The international and national community – from the humanitarian, development, stabilisation, peacebuilding and human rights sectors – need to enhance their effectiveness in supporting locally led efforts fostering sustainable peace.

Interpeace’s Effective Advising Course equips experts and advisors with new ways of approaching the complexity of their work in and on conflict affected contexts. Focused on three interlinked spheres of action: intra- and interpersonal, contextual, and organisational, the course reinforces participants’ ability to identify and seize opportunities for change.

The online global edition of this professional development course is made up of 12 ~2.5-hour sessions, 3 dedicated group work sessions, as well as background reading and individual preparation.

A team of three experienced facilitators guide ~25 participants from around the world to take a step back from their day-to-day work environments and reflect on their individual roles, personal approaches, behaviours and effectiveness as advisors.

Interpeace’s interactive and practice-oriented methodology provides a space for professionals to take a fresh look at advisory challenges and tackle these more consciously and creatively using practical frameworks.

Five core training modules structure the course: 1) Advisory roles; 2) Advising in peacebuilding contexts; 3) Personal agency & interpersonal skills; 4) Advising in complex systems and 5) Change processes and managing resistance.

Note: This is not a course focused on peacebuilding theory or programming. This is a course for advisors seeking structured training to advance their professional approaches and individual behaviours working in polarized and peacebuilding contexts.

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This course is for professionals from the humanitarian, development, peacebuilding and stabilisation fields and focuses on skills and practices that are applicable across sectors.

We welcome participants from non-governmental organisations, governments, international organisations, military, research centres, grassroot organisations or independent experts. Participants advise on a range of domains: technical matters, social change strategies and programmes, policy issues and organizational change processes. Participants work in or on countries wrestling with dynamics of conflict and violence, complex social change, and polarization.

We welcome mid-level to senior level advisors with a range of different backgrounds. One of the course’s success factors is a dynamic mix of participants which creates a unique environment conducive to learning with and from fellow advisors.

Participants are selected following a rigorous selection process to ensure a diversity of participants from different backgrounds, enriching the learning environment and peer-to-peer exchanges.

The online edition of the Effective Advising course takes place on Zoom.


The three facilitators – Anita Ernstorfer, Nora Refaeil and Jan Ubels  – provide frameworks which advisors can apply to clarify and more consciously address the situations, assignments and challenges they are facing.

The online course consists in 12 interactive sessions of 2.5 hours each (with short breaks as needed), 3 dedicated group work sessions on participants’ cases, as well as background reading and individual preparation. Interpeace’s team applies a lively mix of working formats to support learning: live sessions, pre-recorded videos, mix of online and offline individual and group assignments, and access to a library of resources and relevant literature, videos, podcasts etc. 

The course is geared towards adult learning with the creation of an environment encouraging exchange and listening between professional peers. A safe space supports the sharing of the often complex and sensitive challenges participants face.

Practical examples are used to highlight the application of methodologies discussed. Participants should be ready to prepare, share and discuss issues and scenarios from their own professional experience with the group.


By the time you finish the course, you will be better equipped to:

  • Navigate complex situations and contexts
  • Understand and accompany change processes
  • Apply greater awareness of the importance of organizational practices and individual behaviours to contribute to sustaining peace in conflict-affected contexts
  • Understand a variety of advisory roles and consciously navigate them, adapted to task and context
  • Apply a range of approaches to become a trusted and effective advisor
  • Understand and overcome resistance (contextual, organisational and interpersonal)
  • Develop awareness of your personal and interpersonal skills that are central to effective advising in complex contexts
  • Be more aware of your behavioural patterns and manage your well-being, energy and creativity

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There are approximately 25 places on the course. Applications for the 2022 online edition of the course are now closed. To be notified on future promotions of the course, please contact the course team directly: effectiveadvising@interpeace.org.

The Effective Advising in Complex Contexts course has been run by Interpeace since 2013, on behalf of the Human Security Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Since 2020, the Effective Advising in Complex Contexts course is sponsored by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Canada.