Peacebuilders and the Pandemic
Exploring the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Peacebuilders' Personal and Professional Experiences
Keywords:Peacebuilders, COVID-19 pandemic, Ambiguity, Grief, Remote Research
This research explores how participants who self-identify as peacebuilders have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic personally and professionally. Twenty-seven peacebuilders worldwide reflect on their experience of the COVID-19 pandemic in an online survey and text-based reflective interview, sharing insight into how it has affected them and their work in the peace sector. Peacebuilders have experienced the ambiguity of the COVID-19 pandemic in differing ways, with some seeing opportunities in their work and personal life, and others, threats. The results reveal 12 common aspects that have affected the peacebuilders' lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, in their work, peacebuilders have experienced changes in their relationships with colleagues and stakeholders because of interpersonal barriers due to COVID-19 lockdowns and distancing measures. Concerning the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on peacebuilders' personal lives, the research reveals that their mental health has been negatively affected and peacebuilders see an increase in anxiety. The causes of this anxiety include an inability to make plans and conduct pre-planned peacebuilding projects. The theoretical foundation in this study understands the COVID-19 pandemic as a period of ambiguity and grief. This approach results in a previously unexplored and timely examination of how the pandemic has affected peacebuilders personally and professionally. This paper offers peacebuilding organisations insight into what aspects peacebuilders require support with, to ensure they can continue their essential work now, and in the post-pandemic world.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Lorraine Jean Hayman; Dr. Insung Jung
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