This course provides an overview of the peacebuilding field and introduces the skills needed to succeed in it. Guided through an exploration of USIP’s 30+ year experience engaging with local partners in conflict zones around the world, learners are exposed to a set of key theories, skills and approaches to building peace and to real-world examples that exemplify the complex challenges of peacebuilding.

UNAMID Head of Office in Sector North, Hassan Gibril, greets (right) king Yassir, the head of Al-Berti tribe, in his palace in Mellit, North Darfur. (Flickr/UNAMID)
UNAMID Head of Office in Sector North, Hassan Gibril, greets (right) king Yassir, the head of Al-Berti tribe, in his palace in Mellit, North Darfur. (Flickr/UNAMID)

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Explore and define different conceptions of peace, conflict, and violence.
  • List and identify key skills and fields of practice utilized in building peace.
  • Trace the history and evolution of peacebuilding as both a practice and a field of study.
  • Think about how peacebuilding skills can be applied to real-life dilemmas and challenges.
  • Compare and contrast application of peacebuilding skills across different contexts.

Overview Video

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

If you cannot view the video, click here.

 

Agenda (Click the + symbol next to each week to see featured topics, events, and experts)

Week 1 - Introduction to Peace, Conflict, and Violence

The chapter highlighted throughout the week provides a definition of conflict through which one can explore the social, political, and economic dynamics of peace and violence. It also provides a short history on how the peacebuilding field has evolved, compares and contrasts different definitions for peacebuilding and lays out scientific research that supports peacebuilding work.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Compare and contrast two definitions of peacebuilding, highlighting strengths and shortcomings of each; 
  • Reflect on the Seville Statement on Violence and its conclusions regarding human beings’ propensity for violence in comparison with your own life experience; and
  • Describe an example of how peacebuilding skills have been used to improve a real-world conflict situation

Featured Experts

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

  • Daryn Cambridge, Senior Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace
  • Susan Hayward, Director of Religion & Inclusive Societies, United States Institute of Peace
  • Illana M. Lancaster, Senior Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace
  • Nancy Linborg, President, United States Institute of Peace
  • George Lopez, Former Vice President of the Academy, United States Institute of Peace
  • Alison Milofsky, Director of Curriculum and Training Design, United States Institute of Peace

Featured Live Events

Week one features the following live-streamed events:

  • Guest Podcast with Salman Sufi, Director General at the Chief Minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit, Punjab Province, Pakistan
    • As one of Pakistan’s most prominent gender equality advocates, Salman Sufi will join the Introduction to Peacebuilding Instructor-led Online Course to discuss the role of gender in peacebuilding in South Asia and how women can become more involved in civil society.
  • Program Webinar with Palwasha Kakar, Senior Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace
    • Palwasha Kakar, USIP’s Senior Program Officer for the Religion and Inclusive Societies Program, will join us to discuss religious mapping, its gaps, and the role of religious actors in the broader peacebuilding field.

Week 2 - Overview of Peacebuilding Approaches

The chapter highlighted throughout the week lays out the spectrum of tools and approaches utilized by peacebuilders in different contexts. It introduces the different roles third parties can play in building peace, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of local ownership of the process and outcome of such efforts. Finally, it presents five, 21st century priorities for building peace around the world.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this week, learners will be able to:

  • Understand the varying approaches to preventing violence, building peace, and transforming conflict
  • Compare and contrast definitions and understandings of peace and violence in different contexts
  • Reflect on the role of conflict in peacebuilding

Featured Experts

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

  • Matt Levinger, Research Professor, George Washington University
  • Nancy Linborg, President, United States Institute of Peace
  • George Lopez, Former Vice President of the Academy, United States Institute of Peace
  • Jacki Wilson, Former Senior Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace
  • Darine El Hage, Regional Program Officer, Center for Middle East and Africa, United States Institute of Peace
  • Linda Bishai, Director of Research, Evaluation & Learning, American Bar Association, Rule of Law Initiative

Featured Live Events

Week two features the following live-streamed events:

  • Guest Podcast with Hind Kabawat, High Negotiations Committee, Syrian Constitutional Committee
    • A member of the High Negotiation Commission for Syria’s Constitutional Committee and lifelong advocate for human rights in Syria, Hind Kabawat will join as a guest podcast speaker to discuss the intricacies of Syria’s peace process and the approaches of key stakeholders in the region.

Week 3 - Communication Skills

The chapter highlighted throughout the week presents six different active listening techniques and why they are integral to one’s practice as a peacebuilder. It also provides an important distinction between two forms of (group) communication – dialogue and debate.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this week, learners will be able to:

  • Understand the importance and methods of effective communication skills
  • Reflect on the roles of non-verbal communication, constructive reactions, and different cultural approaches to communication

Featured Experts

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

  • Jacki Wilson, Former Senior Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace
  • Alison Milofsky, Director of Curriculum and Training Design, United States Institute of Peace
  • Illana M. Lancaster, Senior Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace
  • Rusty Barber, Director of Program Development & Operations, United States Institute of Peace
  • Jeffrey Helsing, Associate Vice President of the Academy, United States Institute of Peace

Featured Live Events

Week three features the following live-streamed events:

  • Guest Podcast with Dan Snodderly, Author of Peace Terms
    • In this episode, the Intro to Peacebuilding course is joined by Dan Snodderly, author of Peace Terms, and a number of peacebuilding practitioners that help us unpack how some of the most important peacebuilding terms are used and how they have evolved over time.
  • Program Webinar with Khitam Alkhaykanee, Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace
    • Khitam Alkhaykanee, Justice and Security Dialogue (JSD) field officer in Iraq within the Rule of Law program, will join the Program Webinar to discuss the JSD program which aims to hold a series of facilitated dialogues in order to rebuild relationships between police forces and civil society in post-conflict countries.

Week 4 - Application

The chapter highlighted throughout the week presents a number of different conflict scenarios and invites participants to apply what they have learned through the training by recognizing and integrating different peacebuilding skills and approaches

Learning Objectives

By the end of this week, learners will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of holistic, cross-sector approach to peacebuilding
  • Participate in real-world cases, applying skills and knowledge, to demonstrate how the various peacebuilding tools work together
  • Reflect on missed opportunities where foundational peacebuilding tools were overlooked

Featured Experts

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

  • Jacki Wilson, Former Senior Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace
  • Ginny Bouvier, Former Senior Advisor for Inclusive Peace Processes, United States Institute of Peace
  • Aubrey Cox, Senior Program Specialist, United States Institute of Peace

Featured Live Events

Week four features the following live-streamed events:

  • Guest Podcast with Joseph Hewitt, Vice President for Policy, Research, and Learning, and Tonis Montes, Program Specialist, United States Institute of Peace
    • Guests Joseph Hewitt and Tonis Montes will join the course to discuss the various ways to monitor and evaluate peacebuilding programs, taking a specific look at the long-term peace process in Colombia.
  • Topical Webinar on Nonviolent Action with Maria J. Stephan, Program Officer, and Tabatha Thompson, Program Specialist, United States Institute of Peace
    • Guests Maria and Tabatha will join to discuss the vital role nonviolent action has historically played in social movements and the potential for its use in promoting change and reducing violence in some of today’s most critical conflicts.

Who Should Take This Course

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.

What to Expect

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. To receive their certificate, each week learners are expected to:

  • Complete a chapter in the online course
  • Post a response on the Current Events discussion forum
  • Contribute to at least 3 other discussion forums
  • Participate in at least 1 live event
  • Write and submit a 300-500 word reflection paper

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.

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