An Inside Look at Developing the Peacebuilding Program

By Ariadne Papagapitos

We are pleased to report that the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Peacebuilding program, formerly the Peace and Security program, has recently published a new framework and funding guidelines. The revised program is grounded in the theme of conflict transformation: by identifying specific drivers of conflict and supporting grantees working to transform them at the multilateral, regional, and grassroots levels, we hope to contribute to efforts to build a just and sustainable peace.  For the Fund, aligning these three levels is critical.  Progress in one area cannot be made without progress in the others and, importantly, the concerns of communities on the ground in a conflict should inform policymaking processes around conflict management.

The aspiration for international cooperation that creates the conditions for peace has remained consistent since the program’s inception in 2002.  The underlying purpose of previous work to build mutual respect and understanding between the global Muslim community and the West was to reduce conflict among communities.  Through our U.S. Global Engagement grantmaking, we sought to reduce conflict at the nation-state level by encouraging the United States to act more responsibly and collaboratively in its relationships with other governments and with regard to pressing global issues.  Grantees have promoted the use of conflict resolution tools including policy innovation, development assistance, and respectful dialogue that permits full exploration of the concerns of the parties to conflict.

Advancing just and durable peace is a big goal relative to the size of the budget.  This is why we intend to focus on conflicts, issues, and relationships that have disproportionate influence on international peace and security.  This program vision will be carried out by building on the RBF’s policy and diplomacy work with new players and fresh modes of engagement, complementing it with on-the-ground work with constituencies, funding collaborative policy approaches that propose innovative ways to address threats to peace and security, and working with grantees to carry them out.  We hope to elevate examples of how the world, and the United States, can push back on the biggest drivers of conflict and work with new partners to advance shared responsibility for securing peace.

As we begin to animate our new program framework and strategies, we are relying on the expertise and advice of the many talented grantees and partners in the community to whom we are grateful for their patience and advice as we completed our program review.  We hope that you are as pleased with the outcome as we are, and we welcome your feedback and comments below.