Expand AU Menu

About the Program

Housed in the School of International Service at American University, International Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) is a program concerned with understanding the causes of war and organized violence, developing strategies for resolving conflict, and constructing conditions for peace. Peace, in this context, encompasses social justice and human rights, political pluralism, cultural diversity, ecological balance, and nonviolent conflict resolution and transformation.
 
IPCR faculty members combine a wealth of field experience, teaching excellence, and scholarship. With a strong emphasis on the blending of theory with practice, peace studies with conflict resolution, and always with a search for alternatives to violence, IPCR stands apart as a reputable and unique academic and professional training program. In addition to the graduate degree programs, the undergraduate concentrations, the certificate program and the practical hands-on institutes, there are many related opportunities on and off campus including the Mohammed Said Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace.

Philosophy of the Program

We live in an era of transition, the scope and depth of which goes beyond anything yet witnessed in human history. Our program supports students who wish to examine spiritual or faith-based approaches to conflict, acknowledging the age-old quest of the human spirit toward transcendence. We recognize and honor values and ethics embedded in different cultural and religious traditions, as well as look for ways to resolve differences, reach reconciliation and create social healing. At the same time, our program places an emphasis on human rights as part of a transformative process of social reconstruction and reconciliation. Attention to human rights issues can promote social justice and civic participation and support the establishment of institutions consonant with these norms.

We believe that achieving global consensus for a humane, ecologically viable, new global system is possible. Transformation at both the individual and societal levels is necessary to achieve this possibility. From this perspective, a new global system requires new political and social arrangements, a new (or renewed) vision of humankind’s existential reality and purpose, and increased recognition and competence in dealing with cultural differences.

History of the Program

International Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) has a history that began with the students themselves. Students in the School of International Service called for peace and conflict resolution studies and in the 1980s faculty began to offer courses on various topics of peace and conflict resolution. Greater demand by students and faculty to expand course offerings eventually led to the development of a full Master of Arts degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, inaugurated in 1995. With the beginning of the MA degree and later additional dual and joint degree programs, IPCR has grown steadily over the years.