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

Learning objectives:

  • 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.

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Agenda

Chapter 1: Introduction to Peace, Conflict, and Violence

This chapter 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.

Chapter 2: Overview of Peacebuilding Approaches

This chapter 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.

Chapter 3: Communication Skills

This chapter 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.

Chapter 4: Conclusion

This concluding chapter 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.

Instructors and Guest Experts

Course Instructors

Guest Experts

  • Pamela Aall, Senior Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Susan Hayward, Director, Religion & Inclusive Societies, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Jeffrey Helsing, Peacebuilding Consultant & former Associate Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Illana M. Lancaster, Senior Program Officer, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Matthew Levinger, Director, National Security Studies Program; Program Director, Master of International Policy and Practice; George Washington University
  • Nancy Lindborg, President and CEO, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • George Lopez, The Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies, Notre Dame
  • Michael S. Lund, International Relations Consultant
  • Althea Middleton-Detzner, Director, PeaceTech Lab 
  • Alison Milofsky, Director, Curriculum and Training Design, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Maria J. Stephan, former Senior Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • William B. Taylor, Vice President, Strategic Stability and Security, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Anthony Wanis-St. John, Director, International Peace and Conflict Resolution MA program, American University

A wide array of current and former USIP experts and practitioners share their insights, reflections and stories from the field in this course:

  • Khitam Al-Khaykanee, Program Officer, Rule of Law, Justice and Security, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Ferdaouis Bagga, Program Manager, National Democratic Institute
  • Rusty Barber, Director of Program Development & Operations, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Ariana Barth, Associate Director, Arabella Advisors
  • Linda Bishai, Director of Research, Evaluation and Learning, Rule of Law Initiative of the American Bar Association
  • Ginny Bouvier, Former Senior Advisor, Inclusive Peace Processes, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Dr. Erica Chenoweth, Associate Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver
  • Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, Executive Director, North America, Quilliam International
  • Nadia Gerspacher, Former Director, Security Sector Education, Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding
  • Georgia Holmer, Senior Advisor for Anti-terrorism Issues, OSCE Secretariat
  • John Lewis, former U.S. House of Representative for Georgia  
  • Aubrey Cox Ottenstein, Global Executive Director, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy
  • Colette Rausch, Research Professor, George Mason University
  • Hodei Sultan, Program Officer, Asia Center, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Lauren Van Metre, Former Acting Vice President, Applied Research on Conflict, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Andrew Wilder, Vice President, Asia Center, U.S. Institute of Peace

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