Mark Downes

Mark Downes

Hi and welcome on this course to being an effective advisor. This is a collaborative effort from the US Institute for Peace and DCAF’s International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT). The purpose of this course is to fill what we see as a gap within the international community and the development of good, effective advisors for international peacebuilding efforts.

If you look at peacekeeping, peacebuilding mandates, you see a change over the last ten, fifteen years, away from the more executive-type mandate to more towards reform and restructuring or advising and supporting under reform and restructuring of everything from security and justice institutions to the health sector, to education.

In each of these sectors there is a need for effective advisers to support these nationally driven processes and to be an advisor is a unique set of skills. Previously we’ve been sending people with substantive expertise so they are a good police officer from Boston or Berlin. But we’re not asking them to be police officers in these peacekeeping and peacebuilding environments. We are asking them to build institutions and support the process to build these institutions and that requires a leap both in knowledge but also approach that we’re asking of these police and military [personnel], educators and court reporters and the like.

We’re asking them not to be the role they have in their own country but to advise and to transfer their skills and knowledge and capacity to national counterparts. And so what this course aims to do, is to give these people who have the substantive expertise, the added set of skills on how to be an effective advisor.

So, we hope you find this course interesting, we hope you find it useful and we hope that the skills that you get through doing this course will help you to be a more effective advisor in the field. 

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