This micro-course defines and describes conflict analysis processes and the ways in which they inform the development and implementation of peacebuilding programs. It presents the five main elements of USIP’s conflict analysis framework and describes how to ensure that one’s analysis is sensitive to the conflict and those impacted by it.

The commander of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia visits the site of a truck-bomb attack allegedly conducted by al-Shabab in Mogadishu on Oct. 15, 2017. Photo: Flickr/AMISOM/Tobin Jones
The commander of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia visits the site of a truck-bomb attack allegedly conducted by al-Shabab in Mogadishu on Oct. 15, 2017. Photo: Flickr/AMISOM/Tobin Jones

Course Overview & Key Objectives

By the end of this micro-course, participants will be able to achieve the following objectives:

  • Define conflict analysis and its importance;
  • Identify how conflict analysis accounts for the evolving nature of violent conflict;
  • Recognize how context and experience shapes conflict analysis; and
  • Identify different ways in which conflict analysis can be conducted.

Overview Video

Click on the video below for an overview of the course.

If you cannot view the video, click here.

Agenda

Section 1 – Introduction to Peace, Conflict, and Violence

Meet the course presenters and get a broad overview of what conflict analysis is and why it is important.

Section 2 – Definitions & Historical Context

Defines conflict analysis and how it accounts for the changing nature of violent conflict.

Section 3 – Stories from the Field

Examines how local context, experience, and knowledge help shape a conflict analysis in the field.

Section 4 – Theory & Practice

Discusses the different ways conflict can be viewed and analyzed.

Section 5 - Quiz

Checks your understanding and retention of key terms, concepts, and ideas presented in this course.

Section 6 - Scenario

Provides an opportunity to apply what you have learned to a fictional conflict scenario.

Section 7 - Reflections

Allows you to share what you have learned and read what others have learned from this course and how these skills and knowledge will impact the work we do.

Course Instructors

  • Dr. Jeffrey Helsing - Peacebuilding Consultant, former Associate Vice President of the Academy, USIP
  • Matthew Levinger - Director, National Security Studies Program; Program Director, Master of International Policy and Practice; George Washington University

Related Publications

Border Clash Between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Risks Spinning Out of Control

Border Clash Between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Risks Spinning Out of Control

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

By: Gavin Helf, Ph.D.

A dispute over irrigation water triggered a clash between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan last week that quickly spread along the border, resulting in the death of more than 40 people and displacing 30,000 on the Kyrgyz side — the worst such incident in the region since the collapse of the Soviet Union. While such flare-ups, albeit less deadly, are a regular occurrence in the region, this time the situation could get out of hand as the leaders of both countries are incentivized to stoke a crisis that distracts from the domestic unrest caused by their mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Iran Nuclear Talks Open a Window for Broader Middle East Security

Iran Nuclear Talks Open a Window for Broader Middle East Security

Thursday, April 29, 2021

By: Ambassador Hesham Youssef

Since the end of World War II, there have been several attempts that ultimately failed to establish a regional security framework in the Middle East. These attempts have historically fallen short, undermined by distrust, power politics and conflict. Today, a new window of opportunity may be emerging to establish a stable, broadly accepted mechanism for deescalating conflicts, setting norms and building confidence and cooperation between states in the region. World powers should consider the ongoing Vienna talks — aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal that the Trump administration withdrew from — the first step in this direction. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Sidestepping Great Power Rivalry: U.S.-China Competition in Africa

Sidestepping Great Power Rivalry: U.S.-China Competition in Africa

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.; Thomas P. Sheehy

If the early months of the Biden administration are any indication, the U.S.-China rivalry shows no signs of dimming anytime soon. Initial meetings between top Biden administration and Chinese officials in March were heated and appear to have done little to reduce tensions over many divisive issues. There is growing bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress for “hardline” policies against Beijing. Meanwhile, China is increasingly active worldwide, including in Africa, where its expanding presence is concerning to the United States.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

Russia Pulls Back Troops—But Not Its Threat to Ukraine

Russia Pulls Back Troops—But Not Its Threat to Ukraine

Monday, April 26, 2021

By: Donald N. Jensen, Ph.D.

Russian ships and trains are moving back the tens of thousands of troops massed on Ukraine’s border because, Russia’s defense minister said last week, their “surprise inspection” had “demonstrated their ability to ensure the reliable defense of the country.” In reality, the Kremlin stood down after its saber-rattling failed to unnerve the Ukrainians—and after President Biden warned President Vladimir Putin directly to drop the military threat, effectively...

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

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