a critical need

Governments and citizens across the world need strong institutions and individuals with skills, creativity and commitment to meet the challenges of numerous interconnected problems of peace, security, governance, and development. The need for women’s involvement and leadership at all levels of society is critical to meeting these challenges.

Women’s Peacebuilding Leadership Program

Women's Peacebuilding Leadership Program of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding of Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia

The Women’s Peacebuilding Leadership Program develops women leaders in peacebuilding by providing a quality practice-based peacebuilding education focused specifically on the needs of women, including:

  • A graduate certificate from the internationally known Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at EMU
  • Short residential requirements (five weeks in the US, two 10-day and one five-day period)
  • An individual mentorship component that provides the student with guidance during practice opportunities and support for skills development.

The Women’s Peacebuilding Leadership Program educates women in conflict analysis, prevention, and transformation through classes that focus on practice-based methodologies. Both the class work, and in particular the mentored practice, assist women in integrating globally-based theories, analytical methodologies, and practice skills with traditional understandings and practice in order to develop processes that will work with the root causes of conflict to transform present relationships and structures.

Sudan, South Sudan, and Kenya 2014 applicants: click here.

Program details

This cohort-based program brings together women peacebuilding practitioners from specific geographic regions of the world to learn together over a two-year period at EMU and in their own communities. During this time, the women:

  • Learn new skills and knowledge in peacebuilding and leadership by completing the graduate certificate program in women’s leadership.
  • Apply these skills and learnings in their home institutions and communities, receiving assistance and coaching from experienced peacebuilding practitioners
  • Develop increased capacity to design, implement, and influence peacebuilding processes at all levels of society.

The program includes:

  • Three courses taken at the Summer Peacebuilding Institute at EMU in May and June of the year the cohort begins, including development of an individual strategic work plan.
  • Two additional courses and a synthesis and graduation gathering within the geographic region over an 18-month period.
  • Mentoring during the time between class periods.

Women’s peacebuilding leadership news

  • somaliland_graduates_web1

    First graduates of EMU’s Women’s Peacebuilding Leadership Program recognized in Somaliland ceremony

    February 6th, 2014

    As she boarded the first flight of her globe-circling journey, Jayne Docherty, PhD, program director at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), carried a clutch of certificates she would present to the inaugural cohort of graduates in an innovative peace-training program. All women, all Muslim, all university-educated, and straining the bonds of their conservative ...More

  • women_fiji_web

    South Pacific Women Challenge Abuses

    June 13th, 2013

    In Olga Hamadi’s line of work as a human rights lawyer in West Papua, death threats are common. Violence and human rights violations are plentiful and sorely overlooked, Hamadi said, and police and military personnel who victimize her clients often turn the blame on her. While there are many lawyers in West Papua – one ...More

  • Koila Costello-Olsson and Queenie Thompson

    Dark Beatings, Not Just Sunny Beaches, for Many in South Pacific

    June 13th, 2013

    Sun, unblemished beaches, friendly islanders who like to dance in grass skirts, slow pace of life. A great place to be a tourist. These images dominate the Western media in reference to the South Pacific. “At once a sanctuary and playground, our magical resort [in Fiji] offers blissful reverie to those who seek intimate peace ...More

  • More articles

Frequently asked questions

I am a woman and very interested in being a part of this program. How can I apply? WPLP does not accept individual applications; the program works in collaboration with partner organizations around the world which receive funding, screen applicants and then recommend them to EMU to see if the applicants meet admission requirements. (KENYA 2014 APPLICANTS: You already have a supporting organization and should apply here.) If you wish to know whether there is a cohort in your region to which you may apply, please contact us at .

What is the difference between the graduate certificate in conflict transformation and this one? Both certificates are 15 hours; however, WPLP coursework is shaped by the specific needs of women leaders who frequently come from conflict or post-conflict zones.

Does EMU/CJP accept individual applications to the program? See above.

Where does funding come from? WPLP is funded by a variety of government and development organizations.

Does the program only accept women? For now, yes. We hope to eventually welcome men who are concerned with gender issues and empowering and accompanying women in political processes and community leadership to build healthy and transformed communities.

Contact info

For more information, contact Janice Jenner, director of the Women’s Peacebuilding Leadership Program, at 540-432-4238 or .