PeaceNexus is a Swiss-based Foundation established in May 2009. It was founded by Anne Gloor and has been supported since its inception by the endowment granted by the philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss.
The thinking behind PeaceNexus
When philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss suggested in early 2008 to set up a foundation to address some challenges in peacebuilding that I had mentioned to him, it took me several months to come up with a plan. Identifying problems is one thing; finding ways to address them is tougher.
WHY – some problems inspiring the PeaceNexus concept:
- People driving change in peacebuilding organisations (as probably in any organisation) work twice as hard, take risks in change-averse systems, and their efforts are rarely acknowledged even if they succeed;
- The development of new ideas, and innovation in general, lacks funding; there is seldom a budget for it in (inter-)governmental organisations; and NGOs have trouble raising donor funding for proper project development;
- There is a lack of collaboration between organisations working on peace despite the fact that peacebuilding requires combined efforts at different levels and between different communities of expertise ;
- Despite its decisive role in development and its huge influence on governments, the business community is a neglected actor in peacebuilding.
WHAT – in response to these problems, I suggested that PeaceNexus should:
- Strengthen changemakers and innovators in peacebuilding;
- Assist impactful organisations to effectively meet peacebuilding challenges;
- Foster collaboration between peacebuilders;
- Promote the role of business in peacebuilding.
HOW – the PeaceNexus approach we chose:
PeaceNexus provides tailored advice to peacebuilding actors that we believe can make a difference. Upon a request from an organisation, we assess the problem, the organisation and the specific assistance required. We develop the project with the “client” and then hire experts to build a tailored implementation team (for more about the process click here).
…and what it has led to
Setting up PeaceNexus has been an enormous learning experience. It was seen as crazy to go out there and offer to be a nexus for established peacebuilding organisations; to fill expertise gaps; to act as a “match-maker”; and to serve as a small laboratory for new ideas. This is, however, what we have been doing since the official establishment of PeaceNexus in May 2009. This website gives you an idea of our work advising (inter-)governmental organisations, promoting responsible business and supporting NGOs. For ease of navigation, here some links to projects:
Our tailored support to NGOs has mostly consisted of assistance for organisational development. To be able to expand the number of beneficiaries we have created an NGO fund in 2012. For two years the fund provided seed money for new project developments. After the pilot phase we opted instead for calls for organisational development and peacebuilding innovation.
To promote the role of business in peacebuilding, we work with:
- Business associations (logo of NIR and link to projects with NIR)
- Business schools
- The World Bank
We also have our own crazy ideas such as:
- The development of a peace game to train peacebuilding officials or
- The development of a Trust Fund for company-community relations.
In addition to our operations, considerable efforts go into the ethical investment of our endowment fund. In 2012 we developed an ethical investment policy and carefully chose asset managers to implement it. We believe that organisations can make a difference by investing their own capital in compliance with their mission. In our case, we want to invest in companies that help stabilise conflict-prone societies. We are working on criteria to translate that ambition into practice.
With a strong team in place and my dream successor Catriona Gourlay taking over from me, I am now turning to new endeavours, staying connected with PeaceNexus as a board member.
Founder of PeaceNexus