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Washington Semester Program - Peace and Conflict Resolution

Peace and Conflict Resolution

Welcome Peacemakers,

We are embarking on a semester-long academic journey together during which you will acquire new knowledge and lasting life experiences. The purpose of this journey is to prepare you as conflict analysts, peacemakers, peacebuilders and conflict resolution practitioners.

As we set sail on this journey, have you ever wondered how intractable conflicts come to an end?

How peace accords are negotiated?

How top negotiators maneuver between a plethora of tactics and strategies?

What does it take third party interveners to persuade former antagonists to come to the table and talk?

The International Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) program is grounded in the best practices of experiential and traditional learning pedagogies to foster learning and emphasize the importance of integrating theory, research and practice. The overall program consists of a Seminar, an Internship, a Research Practicum and a Field Trip to:

Bosnia-Croatia-Serbia (Fall Semester)

Cyprus-Greece-Turkey (Spring Semester)


The seminar is the core component of the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program (IPCR) and is the equivalent of two courses (eight credits). The seminar will provide you with analytical skills in investigating the dynamics and modalities of intractable and deep-rooted international and identity-type conflicts. It includes a theoretical overview of contemporary conflict resolution perspectives and approaches developed during the post-WWII, post-Cold War and post-9/11 eras. It examines the role and impact of third party interveners (such as mediators, negotiators and others) in bringing former enemies to the table and eventually assisting them towards transforming their relationships. It provides you with multiple lenses to understand and analyze the decision-making procedures of the parties during various phases of escalation, de-escalation and termination (peacekeeping, peacemaking, peace-building and sustainable reconciliation). Finally, we will be looking at exemplary case studies of efforts to terminate conflict and negotiate for peace such as the cases of Sudan, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Northern Ireland, and South Africa, in addition to the case studies of Bosnia and Cyprus.

Field Trip:

Field study trips to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia (Fall) and Cyprus, Greece and Turkey will provide you with a firsthand experience in understanding the various peacemaking and peacebuilding dynamics of long term and sustainable peace and reconciliation among former enemies. The trips provides you with excellent opportunities to meet with top political leaders from all sides of the conflict, including briefings by United Nations and European Union diplomats, academics, researchers and ordinary citizens whose lives have been affected in conflict zones. We will learn from their perspectives how various roadblocks en route to peace have constrained their efforts for a political settlement and reconciliation. Above all, your fresh ideas as conflict analysts and peacebuilders are needed in Bosnia and Cyprus, as well as in other parts of the world to help find the way forward for people in their quest to better understand one another and coexist peacefully.

Please note that these program descriptions are proposed plans of activities. Specific travel itineraries and venues are subject to change.

Student Reaction

"The Peace and Conflict Resolution Program was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live and learn in the field. We interacted with amazing speakers. It was easily the most rewarding experience of my life. I would recommend it to anyone."
Duncan Gray, Goucher College