Transforming communities through peace leadership

25 November 2018 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Barend Nagel
Book Launch read more
Peace Leadership: Self-Transformation to Peace is about a kind of leadership that puts peace first.

A young democracy such as South Africa is defined by a desire for better relationships, interconnectedness, inclusivity, cohesion, justice and a shared understanding. 
Peace Leadership: Self-Transformation to Peace offers a practical framework for all leaders, as well as for the average person on the street, on how to achieve this aspiration. 

A desire for peace

“It is every human’s desire to experience peace and to facilitate that peacefulness we need peace leaders.” The book offers strategies which leaders can apply to maintain and restore peace in conflict-ridden regions such as Bosnia, according to Martha Harunavamwe of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of Industrial Psychology, who contributed two chapters to the book. The text also offers peace strategies to communities outside conflict-ridden regions. 

The written work explores ways in which the 21st century leader has the power to influence a nation towards or away from peace, the possibilities of restoring relationships, as well as how social systems can be tailored in the best interest of citizens for the purpose of conflict resolution.

The building blocks

Peace Leadership: Self-Transformation to Peace is built upon a three-phase foundation. “Moving through different phases, leading self, leading with others and leading your community will enhance self-transformation to the creation of peace.” 

Through cycles of action, reflection, learning and adaptation, peace leaders will improve on efforts to obtain peace,” said one of the editors and author of seven chapters, Prof Ebben Van Zyl. These building blocks model a more civilised and flourishing world in which the financial, political, health and education, human security, and legal needs of the community are served, thus creating a peaceful society.

Prof Van Zyl who is also from the Department of Industrial Psychology, edited the book, with Dr Andrew Campbell of the International Peace and Leadership Institute in the US.

Leaders are in the eye of the beholder

Two chapters of the book were written from a governance perspective. In her contribution, Prof Liezel Lues of the UFS Department of Public Administration states that there are large communities of peace leaders, considering they encompass all those who contribute towards nation-building, be they politicians, singers, actors, or business owners.

The importance of peace leaders should never be underestimated. If anything, scholar-practitioners, educators, academics, researchers, leadership development fraternities, peace organisations, negotiators, think-tanks, the diplomatic corps, government institutions, non-governmental organisations, consultants or advisors, security companies, the private sector and trade unions, should strive to become fluent in the concepts advocated for in Peace Leadership: Self-Transformation to Peace.