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International Peace and Conflict Resolution | SIS

Featured Student Research

IPCR Master’s students are required to complete either a thesis or a Substantial Research Paper as part of their course of study. For more information on completing a thesis, please see the SIS Graduate Advising site.

The overall purpose of the Substantial Research Paper (SRP) is for Master of Arts students in International Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) to satisfactorily complete serious and sustained research and writing, based on analysis of both secondary and primary source material, that is, existing literature and the collection of data. The SRP is an integrative capstone project and involves the student working closely with a faculty member who provides supervision for the project. The successful completion of the SRP serves to demonstrate students’ ability to conduct theoretically informed, analytical research.

SRP requirements and guidelines are available in paper form in the IPCR office and the SIS Graduate Advising office. Each year, there will be a meeting called in the Fall semester to explain SRP requirements and guidelines to all interested IPCR MA students.

Thesis Title: Culture, Conflict Resolution and the Legacy of Colonialism

In addition to eroding indigenous power structures, the structural violence inflicted during colonialism left native populations with lasting self-doubt and rejection of traditional practices. Among these rejected traditions are informal processes of resolving conflict. Conflict resolution methods in different cultures often vary greatly in underlying values and perceptions. Due to impacted value systems, neither the restorative, social harmony focus of traditional processes, nor the retributive, compensatory justice focus of the colonists' formal judicial system make the available forums today wholly appropriate or adequate resources.

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Melissa Gang came to the International Peace and Conflict Resolution program at American University from three years of service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Vanuatu.  She graduated from AU with a Masters in 2010 and now works at a DC-based firm specializing in conflict management and mediation.

SRP Title: Conflict Analysis as Interactive Conflict Resolution?

Assessing World Vistion's "Making Sense of Turbulent Contexts" Workshops: A Comparative Analysis

Many international relief and development NGOs implement frameworks for conflict assessment to assist in designing conflict-sensitve programs. One such organization, World Vision, is unique in utilizing a participatory and interactive workshop methodology for conflict analysis. This comparative case study uses direct and participant observation to evaluate World Vision's approach to conflict analysis as a form of Interactive Conflict Resolution, comparing a World Vision workshop in India to a traditional problem-solving workshop on the Cyprus conflict.

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Lisa focused her studies on conflict analysis, applied conflict resolution methods, and conflict-sensitivity in relief and development work. Prior to beginning the MA program, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan and a project manager for a faith-based youth development organization in California.