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Online courses in Nonviolent Transformation of Conflicts & Education for Emergencies: Concepts and Practices

Revolutionary armed conflict was once considered the only way for oppressed peoples to change severe injustice and oppression. Bloodshed was deemed necessary, often justified by the cliché that what was taken by violence can only be retrieved by violence. In the last decades of the 20th century, however, it became clear that armed insurrection is not the only choice for aggrieved groups and societies, and that nonviolent civil resistance, relying on a variety of forms of nonviolent action, could bring some impressive results. This six-week course offers an introduction to the history and fundamentals of a technique, process, and method that is essential for the toolkit of any peace builder. We will study a system that can enhance the possibilities for groups and societies to achieve positive results in acute conflicts with self-reliance and without resort to violence. This field is older than peace and conflict studies, but has contributed many of its core insights, despite often being misunderstood.

This course seeks to clarify theoretical and conceptual frameworks for understanding the role of education in times of emergencies as well as educational strategies and practices essential in helping to prevent and/or overcome such emergencies, including armed conflicts and “natural” disasters.   It is now recognized that although basic needs (e.g. water, food, shelter, physical security) are vital for emergencies-affected peoples and communities, education is likewise crucial. Drawing on exemplars from diverse regions, the course will examine a range of purposes that education can and should fulfill in emergency situations as part of a holistic humanitarian response and the broader challenge of building a culture of peace relevant for refugees, internally displaced peoples, ex-combatants and other vulnerable groups such as women and children to overcome physical and psychosocial trauma and suffering caused by displacement and loss of regular educational provision.

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