In and above Conflict - A study on Leadership in the United Nations
27 October 2011
Peace is seldom concluded when a peace deal is signed. The principal external role in consolidating peace frequently falls to United Nations (UN) missions and agencies. Their ability to achieve this task is contingent on many factors including resources and cohesive international political support. It depends most critically on effective leadership. What are the unique, defining challenges to UN leadership in conflict and post conflict environments? How have effective UN leaders approached these challenges?
This critical study by Fabrizio Hochschild was published by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) in July 2010. The author reviewed the relevant literature and interviewed more than 50 individuals involved in mediation and peacemaking in different functions and duty stations across the organization.The study draws on the best practices of recent former UN leaders who are broadly recognized as having been effective: in particular Sadako Ogata, Louise Arbour, and Sergio Vieira de Mello.
Although focused on UN leadership, the study will be of interest to people in leadership roles in conflict settings. The study report is divided into three main chapters:
The first chapter sets a broad framework for examining leadership in the UN context by summarizing the main lessons from the generic leadership literature.
The second chapter examines the particular challenges to leadership in the UN context. What contradictions do UN leaders have to manage? To what extent does the organization encourage or discourage leadership? How does the UN choose those who are expected to provide it with strategic leadership?
The third chapter analyses and draws lessons from the practices of recognized UN leaders: How have effective leaders in the UN created room for leadership? What is excellence in UN leadership about? What attributes and what behaviour models make leaders effective in a UN context? How have UN leaders managed with multiple, mutually incompatible demands of stakeholders? How have UN leaders advanced international norms and ideals in difficult or hostile environments?
The Conclusion summarizes 10 main points that emerge from the study and briefly looks at the
issue of weakness in UN leaders.
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