Building a Career in the Peace and Development Industrial Complex: Working at the frontlines of change


PCDN helps changemakers and changemaking institutions around the world advance careers & ecosystems of impact.  We launched our PCDN Career Impact Series to help you gain the tools, insights and inspiration to advance your career. We leverage PCDN’s leadership team’s four decades of diverse expertise and frequently invite leading innovators, troublemakers and builders to share their career paths and tips. We do this every week for free.

Join us every week on Zoom for a highly interactive session and come with any questions, your challenges, or favorite tips regarding careers.

The Rotary Peace Fellowship supports PCDN’s 2021 Career Chats. Are you an existing or emerging peace leader looking to take your career to the next level? You might be eligible to receive full funding to pursue a MA or professional certificate in peace & conflict studies. Learn more about Rotary Peace Fellowships at www.rotary.org/peace-fellowships.

When: We will be online at Noon Eastern Standard time every Thursday for the foreseeable future as long as there is interest from our community.

Our Session on February 18 at noon EST features Dr. Mary Hope Schwoebel (full bio below) sharing key tips on Building a Career in the Peace and Development Industrial Complex: Working at the frontlines of change.

Dr Schwoebel has over 30 years of experience working on some of the world’s most complex humanitarian, development and conflict affected contexts. She has lived and worked around the world for institutions including the United States Institute of Peace, UNICEF, USAID, as well as local and international NGOs. She currently is an  Associate Professor in the Department for Conflict Resolution Studies at Nova Southeastern University. She holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University

Mary Hope will share her experience working in and on some of the world’s most challenging contexts as well as on policy and research related to development and peacebuilding, gender and conflict, indigenous approaches to peacebuilding, and governance and peacebuilding. In particular she will discuss key emerging trends including evaluation, building in ethical engagement and challenging power relations, working on systems approaches and supporting locally led innovations. She will discuss how to develop the skills to advance a career in this sector, the pros and dangers in working in potentially dangerous contexts and her key lessons from her own career as well as advising countless students and younger professionals.

As with all PCDN Career Chats, there will be substantial time for open discussion and questions on building a career of impact.

Why is PCDN doing this?  Because we are dedicated to helping changemakers at all stages access the tools, resources and information to advance careers of impact. Plus, PCDN.global was created to help as many people as possible around the globe and we’re even more committed to service this trying period.

How do I sign up? Click on the registration link on our site. Once your registration has been approved, you will receive information on how to participate.

How do I participate? Each week we will be on Zoom  Participants will receive information via email about how to login. You will either need to download Zoom on your computer, tablet/smartphone (we recommend using the app to be able to have a more engaging experience) or you can call in via phone via the numbers provided.

Is there any cost to participating? No, to help as many people as possible it is free.

Can I participate when I want? Yes, all you need to do is register. Then you can join in whenever you have time. These are designed to be dropped in chats.

How can I ensure my questions are addressed? While we will make an effort to address as many questions as possible, we cannot guarantee we will be able to get to everyone. Questions can be posted at anytime in the Social Change Career Helping Line or free to drop us an email at info(at)pcdn.global

Where else can I go for help? PCDN offers a number of ways we help our community for free including

  • We highly recommend joining our free Social Change Career Helping Line. This is the world’s first free, peer and expert sourced space for building careers of impact. Members (to date we have 3900 members from over 140 countries) can get support and share their own insights 24/7.
  • We also produce the Social Change Career Podcast featuring some of the world’s leading changemakers & innovators who share their journeys to building a career of impact. We cover diverse sectors from peacebuilding, social entrepreneurship, tech and social change, impact investing, humanitarian relief, startups and more. Each episode includes in-depth actionable advice for changemakers.
  • Subscribe to our newsletters and get the world’s best curated content (including jobs, fellowships, funding, events, news & inspiration) connected to the SDGs and all things impact) in your inbox.
  • Read our Career Series. We have hundreds of posts on building a Career of Impact that you can access for free (and we continue to add more content).
  • Check out our Opportunity Board Find jobs, fellowships, internships, funding, trainings, events and more in nearly every corner of the world.


What happens if I need more support in my career journey? We do offer very affordable career coaching that includes customized one-on-one coaching to help you get from passion to hired. We are uniquely qualified as we have over four decades of combined experience in the social sector, have conducted groundbreaking published research on building careers of impact, have built NGOs, social enterprises, worked & consulted at leading academic institutions, NGOs and conducted programming, evaluation and impact work in multiple sectors.  We’ve also hired many people, mentored hundreds of people around the globe, and also had successes and of course some real failures (quitting jobs, working for organizations that run out of funding and more).  If you have questions get in touch or setup a free 15 minute exploratory chat.

Will sessions be recorded/viewable later?

We are recording many of the sessions to be viewable later (we will let people know prior to each session if it will be recorded).  If you have a sensitive question that you would like us to raise in the session anonymously drop us an email with your request at info(at)pcdn.global.

What are you doing to help ensure the security/privacy of participants?

To help ensure security we are having people register and provide some basic info prior to the session.  Only those who have registered can participate. If you have a sensitive question that you would like us to raise in the session anonymously drop us an email with your request at [email protected]



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Dr. Mary Hope Schwoebel
Mary Hope Schwoebel, Ph.D., brings 30 years of experience in the fields of peacebuilding, governance, humanitarian assistance, and development, and has worked for governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay, where spent five years. She then spent six years in the Horn of Africa, managing programs for UNICEF, USAID, and NGOs in Somalia and Kenya. While raising a family and pursuing her doctorate, she spent 15 years consulting for USAID and State Department their partners, and other multi-lateral and non-governmental organizations.She has worked on every continent and in some of the world's most challenging environments, including Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Kenya, Peru, Pakistan, Colombia, Turkey, Nepal, and Indonesia, among others. Just before accepting a faculty position at DCRS, she had spent five years at the Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding at the US Institute of Peace, where she developed and conducted training courses in over a dozen countries overseas and in Washington, D.C. and researched and authored policy-oriented publications. During her time in South Florida, Dr. Schwoebel has served as DCRS's Chair of the Curriculum Committee for all but one year since she has been at DCRS. During the 2018 election, she served as an Elections Monitor in various locations in Broward County. She is the Co-Chair of the Planning Committee of the Graduate Education in Conflict Resolution Symposium. She also serves on the Advisory Committee of the multitlaterally-funded multi-country research project "Forging a Resilient Social Contracts in Fragile and Conflict Contexts". She is the Director of Public Policy for the NSU chapter of the American Association of University Women. Dr. Schwoebel is the author of a wide range of publications on international affairs, most recently “Legitimacy, Statebuilding and Peacebuilding in Somaliland: in Local Peacebuilding and Legitimacy, edited by Christopher Mitchell and Landon Hancock. Selected other book chapters include, "The Intersection of Public and Private Spheres for Pashtun Women in Politics" in Gender, Political Struggles and Gender Equality in South Asia and "The Evolution of Somali Women's Fashion During Changing Security Contexts" in The International Politics of Fashion: Being Fab in a Dangerous World. In 2017 she served as Visiting Editor for a special issue of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development entitled, Peacebuilding Approaches to Preventing and Transforming Violent Extremism. Since she has been at NSU, she has overseen two multi-country studies in West and East Africa, one of gender and violent extremism and the other on transborder and regional issues in violent extremism, where she oversaw research teams comprised of international and national researchers in multiple languages. Her areas of interest include peacebuilding and state building, peacebuilding and development, gender and conflict, culture and conflict, and the interactions between religious and indigenous systems of governance and conflict resolution and international interventions.

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