Insightful analysis is essential to any conflict management process, from prevention to mediation to reconciliation. This course will help you understand the potential trajectories of a conflict situation so you can develop effective peacebuilding strategies.

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

A nuanced understanding of the context and dynamics of a conflict can determine the effectiveness with which you intervene, help you untangle the often-unintended consequences of any actions or policies, prevent any harm from being done, and help determine future priorities for program development.

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will be able to: Identify the two analytical tools to help identify emerging threats of conflict and opportunities for managing or resolving a conflict
  • Apply these tools to historical cases and relevant problem-based scenarios
  • Differentiate the various stages of the Curve of Conflict and map the generation, escalation and resolution of intrastate and international conflict

Overview Video

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

If you cannot view the video, click here.

 

Agenda

Week 1 - Conflict in the Contemporary World

This week we explore the importance of conflict analysis in today’s world and how the nature of conflict and trends in deadly violence have changed since World War II.

Learning Objectives

By the end of week, participants will be able to:

  • Define conflict;
  • Explain how trends in violent conflict have changed since the end of World War II;
  • Distinguish between interstate conflicts, intrastate conflicts, and complex conflicts; and
  • Provide examples and characteristics of complex conflicts.

Featured Experts

The following experts provide insights throughout the chapter via video and podcasts embedded in the course:

  • Matthew Levinger, Research Professor, The George Washington University
  • Dominic Barter, Empathy Builder, Restorative Circles

Featured Live Events

Week one features the following live-streamed events:

  • Guest Podcast
  • Program Webinar

Week 2 - Conflict Analysis as a Leadership Tool

This week we delve into ideas such as the difference between a conflict assessment and conflict analysis, the importance of active listening, and the concept of "Do No Harm."

Learning Objectives

By the end of week, participants will be able to:

  • Outline characteristics of adaptive leadership and identify ways in which conflict analysis can foster them;
  • Describe resilience and identify ways in which conflict analysis can help develop it; and
  • Discuss the role of adaptive leadership and community resilience in your work.

Featured Experts

The following experts provide insights throughout the chapter via video and podcasts embedded in the course:

  • Matthew Levinger, Research Professor, The George Washington University
  • Jeffrey Helsing, Associate Vice President, United States Institute of Peace

Featured Live Events

Week two features the following live-streamed events:

  • Guest Podcast
  • Program Webinar

Week 3 - Stages and Dimensions of Conflict

This week examines two specific frameworks for conflict analysis: the "cycle of conflict" and the "curve on conflict." Various components of these analytical frameworks will then be discussed further, such as: the difference between conflict prevention, management and transformation, the root causes and structural causes of conflict, and trigger events.

Learning Objectives

By the end of week, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the cycle of conflict analytical tool;
  • Describe the curve of conflict analytical tool;
  • Apply the curve of conflict analytical tool to a conflict;
  • Outline ways in which conflicts escalate and de-escalate;
  • Distinguish between stable and durable (negative and positive) conceptions of peace; and
  • Identify the characteristics of root causes, structural causes, accelerating causes, and triggers of conflict.

Featured Experts

The following experts provide insights throughout the chapter via video and podcasts embedded in the course:

  • Matthew Levinger, Research Professor, The George Washington University
  • Jeffrey Helsing, Associate Vice President, United States Institute of Peace

Featured Live Events

Week three features the following live-streamed events:

  • Guest Podcast
  • Program Webinar

Week 4 - The USIP Conflict Assessment Framework

This week we explore the various stages and components of the USIP Conflict Assessment Framework.

Learning Objectives

By the end of week, participants will be able to:

  • Outline the four steps of USIP’s Conflict Assessment Framework;
  • Compare and contrast the USIP Conflict Assessment Framework with others in the field;
  • Conduct a self-assessment;
  • Develop a strategy to gather information for a conflict assessment;
  • Identify dividers and connectors and the range of actors in a conflict;
  • Analyze drivers of conflict and peace;
  • Chart potential windows of risk and windows of opportunity for a conflict; and
  • Apply the findings of a conflict assessment to your own work.

Featured Experts

The following experts provide insights throughout the chapter via video and podcasts embedded in the course:

  • Matthew Levinger, Research Professor, The George Washington University
  • Jeffrey Helsing, Associate Vice President, United States Institute of Peace

Featured Live Events

Week four features the following live-streamed events:

  • Guest Podcast
  • Program Webinar

What to Expect

The Academy’s instructor-led online courses provide an opportunity for learners to participate in a cohort-style class led by an expert instructor no matter where they are in the world. These classes are conducted online, but allow learners from across the globe to interact with and learn from each other, as well as their Academy instructors. These classes utilize the self-paced online course, which is structured around video lectures from instructors and subject matter experts, and are supplemented with recommended resources, activities, discussion forums, case studies and knowledge assessments. This learning model is best suited for individuals who:

  • Want direct engagement and interaction with course instructor(s) and participants;
  • Prefer having a guided and scheduled learning experience;
  • Desire feedback on work they produce; and
  • Are unable to travel to another location to participate in a course.

Learners in the instructor-led online courses have the opportunity to attend and participate in live engagements such as podcasts, panel discussions, and other events at USIP, each week. Each week will offer learners an opportunity to engage with mentors, experts, and colleagues in real-time. Real-time discussions with instructors and colleagues will revolve around current events and reflections on scenarios, live events, and the application of theory or practice.

Certificate Requirements

Participants will earn a Level 2 Certificate upon successful completion of this course. In order to obtain the Level 2 Certificate, the participants must submit a portfolio of their learning, as well as meet the live engagement requirements. Participants will be required to:

  • Respond to 4 Current Events Discussion Forum;
  • Contribute to at least 1 Course Discussion Forum per chapter;
  • Participate in at least 4 Live Events; 
  • Participate in at least 4 Live Discussion Forums;
  • Receive an 80% or higher on the course Final Exam; and 
  • Write a 300-500 word Reflection at the conclusion of each week.

Course Instructors

Guest Experts

  • Matt Levinger, Director, National Security Studies Program, Program Director, Master of International Policy and Practice, George Washington University

Related Publications

Iran and Afghanistan’s Long, Complicated History

Iran and Afghanistan’s Long, Complicated History

Thursday, June 14, 2018

By: Scott Worden; USIP Staff

As neighbors with a 585-mile frontier, Iran and Afghanistan have connections spanning centuries. Since 1979—the year of Iran’s revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—relations between Tehran and Kabul have ebbed and flowed. USIP’s Scott Worden discusses the complex relationship between the two countries, how Iran has built influence there, and where the U.S. and Iranian interests have overlapped in relation to Kabul.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Next Steps on U.S. Policy Toward North Korea

Next Steps on U.S. Policy Toward North Korea

Monday, June 4, 2018

By: Ambassador Joseph Yun

Subcommittee Chairman Gardner, Ranking Member Markey and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning on “Next Steps on U.S. Policy Toward North Korea.” I am a Senior Advisor at the United States Institute of Peace, although the views expressed here are my own. USIP was established by Congress over 30 years ago as an independent, national institute to prevent and resolve violent conflicts abroad, in accordance with U.S. national interests and values.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

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