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.

Course Designers

Guest Experts

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

Also featured in the course

A wide array of USIP experts and practitioners share their insights, reflections and stories from the field.:

  • Andrew Wilder, Vice President, Asia Center, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Rusty Barber, Director of Program Development & Operations, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Ginny Bouvier, Former Senior Advisor, Inclusive Peace Processes, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Lauren Van Metre, Former Acting Vice President, Applied Research on Conflict, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Georgia Holmer, Senior Advisor for Anti-terrorism Issues, OSCE Secretariat
  • Ferdaouis Bagga, Former Program Specialist, Rule of Law, Justice and Security, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Khitam Al-Khaykanee, Program Officer, Rule of Law, Justice and Security, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Hodei Sultan, Program Officer, Asia Center, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, Former Program Officer, Africa Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Ariana Barth, Program Officer, Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Aubrey Cox, Program Officer, Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Linda Bishai, Former Director, North Africa Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Colette Rausch, Associate Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Nadia Gerspacher, Former Director, Security Sector Education, Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding
  • John Lewis, U.S. House of Representatives, Georgia  
  • Dr. Erica Chenoweth, Associate Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver

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