Design Principles and Process

Our Program Goals are achieved using these Design Principles:


  • Use unfamiliar settings to impel participants into physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding experiences.
  • Encourage participants to go beyond perceived limitations.
  • Physical outdoor activities with real life consequences.


  • Facilitate engaging, relevant and sequenced experiences that include feedback, reflection, and transference.
  • Ongoing Monitoring and Evaluation.


  • Collaborate with regionally-and country-based partners who are experts in leadership, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding efforts.
  • Partner with internationally-based Outward Bound schools in 35 countries.


  • Utilize best practices and theory from the conflict resolution, peacebuilding, leadership and experiential education fields.
  • Involve leaders in the above fields with our work.


  • Demonstrate a long term commitment to participants for rigorous follow up through leadership coaching, workshops retreats and speakers.
  • Provide physical and emotional safety for participants.



  1. PARTNERSHIPS:  Outward Bound Peacebuilding programs begin with a partnership between an Outward Bound school and an external organization. Partner organizations can range from small local groups to large multilateral institutions. Examples of partner organizations may include Search For Common Ground, the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, or the Sri Lanka Press Institute. The partner will generally assist and often lead recruitment efforts.
  2. WILDERNESS EXPEDITION:   A crucial aspect of an Outward Bound Peacebuilding program is the wilderness/urban expedition. These expeditions will range from 4-14 days and will predominantly take place in a wilderness setting where participants experience such things as: camping, hiking, rock climbing, sailing, and sea kayaking.  Participants will move through a specially designed curriculum that weaves together the essential expedition progression and skills present in every Outward Bound experience.
  3. FOLLOW UP INITIATIVES:  As explained above, much of the long term efficacy of an Outward Bound Peacebuilding program is based on follow-up programming. This can take the form of multi-day retreats, 1 day workshops, gatherings, trainings and outside speakers
  4. ALUMNI ACTIVITIES:  – These are initiated by alumni and supported by Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding and partners (e.g. day long hikes, evening social gathering, alumni expeditions).
  5. EVALUATIONS: To ensure Outward Bound Peacebuilding is being effective and can continue to improve on its methods, evaluations will be conducted at various points during and after the program. With the orientation, participants will be surveyed in categories of self-efficacy, inter-group relations, and peace advocacy to establish a baseline for subsequent survey.

The process for an Outward Bound Peacebuilding program is flexible. It can be adapted to suit the needs of the partnering organization, the participants’ cultures and personal and professional profiles, and the specific conflict issues and environment.We synthesize the best practices of the peacebuiding and conflict resolution field with Outward Bound schools and consult with a global team of Outward Bound instructors and experts in the field.