One avenue to develop additional skills related to peace and conflict resolution is through various training programs. Pursuing academic studies is one great method to developing expertise and for more information about programs see the Academic Guide. In this section, I provide some general suggestions for key questions to ask in researching opportunities and
A) review of key websites,
B) provide a list of summer training programs, and
C) discuss other training opportunities (short and long-term and a combination of online and on location trainings).
You’re also encouraged to research local and regional opportunities by contacting local organizations, universities, and NGOs as there are many relevant activities taking place around the world. In addition, a number of organizations do offer scholarships and funding (for example the Rotary Program listed below does provide funding for select participants), and you’re encouraged to inquire about the possibilities by reviewing website and contacting organizations.
When exploring any training program there are a number of questions that I would recommend anyone consider before considering a particular program.
1) Reputation of the Program – Given that the field of conflict resolution is still emerging and for most sectors there is a lack of standards/certification, it is important to do conduct a background inquiry about each program. What is the overall reputation of the organization? Can you speak with alumni of previous courses? Who are the training staff? What is the level of expertise? Any credible training program should be willing to provide you with answers to these questions and be willing to connect you with alumni? Talk with your colleagues to also obtain their opinions about a particular program/institution?
2) Format for Learning – What is the teaching format of the course? How do they help participants to develop skills? If there is experiential learning, are the cases based on real situations? What type of support and mentoring do participants receive to advance their skill level?
3) Elicitive vs. Prescriptive – Some training programs are fixed and always provide the same material and structure regardless of the audience. Other programs provide a more elicitive approach that adapts material/content to the particular needs of a group. In reality most trainings combine both, but it is important to explore if the content and format of a particular training is appropriate for you? For example, while mediation is a wonderful process and model, some trainings in mediation may provide examples and models that are not suitable for other regions.
4) Price – While organizations need to generate funds to support their activities, evaluating the price of a training is an important component. How much does the training cost? Does it cover all expenses? Do they provide scholarships (or partial)?
5) Follow Up – Some trainings are a one time event and after that you are on your own. Other organizations will provide on-going support and mentoring after a training (and perhaps connect you with their networks).
What are some other questions you think are key?
RESOURCES FOR TRAINING
A) KEY WEBSITES – You can find a number of excellent training opportunities on this site looking in the Forums Sections. Also try searching by keyword(s) to find various opportunities Other sites worth visiting include:
Alliance for Peacebuiding Member Forums
ReliefWeb Training Guide
National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation Events Blog
B) KEY SUMMER TRAINING PROGRAMS – A number of institutions around the world offer intensive summer training programs in peace, conflict resolution and related fields.
Bar-Ilan University, the Conflict Management, Resolution and Negotiation Graduate Program Tel Aviv, Israel – This Graduate Program operates the International Summer Certificate Program, which is focused on identity-based conflicts. It offers 11 credits (including an internship) and a certificate in Conflict Resolution, total tuition is $3,620. Applications are open to holders of undergraduate/graduate degrees and current graduate students, worldwide, from all fields and disciplines in social sciences, liberal arts and the humanities.
Eastern Mennonite University, Summer Peacebuilding Institute, Harrisonburg, VA – The institute has been held each summer for over a decade. Diverse courses focused on key aspects of peacebuilding are offered each year, generally in week long or five day sessions. Courses can be taken for academic credit or as professional training for practitioners at various experience and skill levels. An interactive approach is used in the classroom to draw upon the rich experiences of the participants as well as the instructors.
INCORE: International Summer Course, Northern Ireland. The INCORE Summer School provides a structured learning opportunity to analyse the dynamic and constantly changing field of conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
International Nonviolence Summer Institute: at the University of Rhode Island. Provides basic and advanced level training in nonviolence practice and theory.
International Peace and Security Institute: IPSI empowers the next generation of peacemakers. Founded on the core belief that education can mitigate violent conflict, IPSI facilitates the transfer of knowledge and skills to a global audience from the world’s premier political leaders, academic experts, practitioners, and advocates. They offer two month long symposiums on key issues in the field:
- The Bologna, Italy Symposium on Conflict Prevention, Resolution, & Reconciliation in partnership with Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
- The Hague Symposium on Post-Conflict Transitions & International Justice in partnership with the Clingendael Institute for International Relations and the Grotius Center for International Legal Studies at Leiden University.
Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute: MPI is an Asian training institute grounded in the Mindanao, Philippines context using models developed and adapted for and by Asians.
C) ADDITIONAL TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
International Peace and Development Training Center: The vision of (IPDTC) is to be part of the peace adult education field which generates improved quality, impact and effectiveness of peacebuilding, conflict transformation, violence prevention and post-war recovery – where individuals, communities and agencies are empowered with the skills, tools, knowledge and commitment to address conflicts constructivelly through peaceful and effective means.IPDTC works to provide high quality practical skills and knowledge-based training for conflict party leadership, government and decision-makers, practitioners and those engaged in peacebuilding and working with conflicts to improve applied peacebuilding and conflict transformation in the field.
Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University (Thailand): The Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University was established in 2004 to provide a three month, professional development certificate program twice annually to individuals currently working in related fields. Funding is available as part of the Rotary Peace Fellowship Program.
The Network University’s Course on Transforming Civil Conflicts- The online course has been taught since 1999 to a wide range of professionals working in conflict areas, academics, journalists and students. During the course the participants are familiarised with contemporary theories of conflict and conflict resolution, acquainted with a range of relevant information on conflict on the Internet and introduced to practical issues and debates within the field. They are brought together in a ‘learning community’ with people with a professional interest in conflict. The subjects for each of the course weeks are: Introduction to Conflict Resolution, Conflict Analysis and Conflict Prevention.
TechChange: delivers innovative and interactive courses on the role of technology in addressing social problems. And while we facilitate in-person courses and run simulations at leading universities like Georgetown, George Mason, George Washington Universities our real achievement has been to create a completely transformative online learning experience for participants from around the world.
Transcend Peace University TPU is an all-online university, currently headed by Prof. Dr. Johan Galtung, widely recognized as the core founding-figure of the academic discipline of peace-studies. Our inter-disciplinary courses are designed to cover issues pertaining to peace and development studies.
United States Institute of Peace – Academy for International Confli…
(In person and Online courses) – Offers practitioner and distance-learning courses programs that bring relevant courses to the widest possible community of practitioners, students, and academics.
UNITAR: The organization’s mission is to deliver innovative (online and on-site) training and conduct research on knowledge systems to develop the capacity of beneficiaries. Our goal is to be a centre of excellence recognized within and outside the United Nations system for standard-setting methodologies, high-quality training, and research capacity on knowledge systems.
West African Network for Peacebuilding: out a variety of trainings, including an annual Summer Peace building Institute.
MOOCs: Pros and Cons
One of the biggest pros of MOOCs is that they have successfully allowed millions of students to gain access to courses in higher education. Additionally, many MOOC have no enrollment limit which enables tens of thousands of students to take the course simultaneously, while still others offer access to courses after they technically end. Moreover, rather than simply utilizing rote lecturing techniques, the MOOCs include a number of interactive activities and student to student interaction.
While MOOC have made education accessible to millions around the globe, many have criticized MOOCs on a number of fronts. One criticism of MOOCs pertains to the difficulty in sustaining student engagement for online courses, the difficulty in enforcing academic integrity standards, and the difficulty in providing quality feedback (much of which is done peer to peer), because of the sheer size of the classes. Other critics of MOOCs worry that this type of learning will take away from the traditional learning environment, especially in regards to the well established benefits of in-person learning and the mentorship from course professors that often results from classes where students are physically present. Still others worry about intellectual property as Professors put their individually designed courses online with access to a global audience.
Upcoming MOOCs of interest to the PCDN community:
Coursera, was one of the first platforms to begin offering MOOCs. Coursera works with partner universities and organizations to offer free courses. To date, Coursera offers over 300 courses in various topics, such as medicine, biology and social sciences. Examples of upcoming courses that may be of interest to PCDN members include 1) An Introduction to Global Health through the University of Copenhagen; 2) Constitutional Struggles in the Muslim World also through the University of Copenhagen; 3) Conditions of War and Peace through the University of Tokyo; 4) International Organizations Management through the University of Geneva; 5) Computing for Data Analysis through John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; 6) Conditions of War and Peace through The University of Tokyo; 7) The Age of Sustainable Development through Columbia University.
As MOOCs become more popular, it seems reasonable to expect that course offerings will become broader in order to cater to the interests of individuals around the globe. Currently, many of these platforms collect data on their course offerings, student retention, etcetera, thus, if students are consistently enrolling in and completing courses in development, conflict resolution, peace studies, international relations, and others, then we can be optimistic about such platforms broadening the scope of classes available to and of interest to PCDN members.
Below is a list of additional platforms that provide access to MOOCs.
edX: Is a non-profit online education project out that was started by the Massachusetts of Technology and Harvard University. These two universities along with a consortium of other universities offer a range of classes. Upcoming courses of interest to PCDN members include:
Globalization’s Winners and Losers: Challenges for Developed and D… through Georgetown University
Age of Globalization through University of Texas Austin
Introduction to Global Sociology through Wellesley University
Future Learn: Is an online educational initiative that will be launched later this year. Future Learn will be partnering with various universities to offer online courses free of cost.
Khan Academy: The Khan Academy has been around for the longest time and served as a precursor and model for many of the current MOOCs. You can watch videos at any time and at your own pace. Khan Academy includes courses in Math, Science and Economics, Humanities, and Test Prep.
OpenupEd: Is a MOOC initiative supported by the European Commission. This platform offers free courses in a variety of subjects and languages. Courses that may be of interest to PCDN members include:
History and Institutions of the European Union
European Area of Freedom, Security, and Justice
Udacity: Is an online education platform that grew out of efforts by two Stanford instructors who provided free access to a course they were teaching. The goal of Udacity is specifically to provide access to higher education to students around the world. Udacity offers free courses in the fields of business, computer science, mathematics, physics, and psychology.
Udemy: Udemy is an online platform for MOOCs. Udemy instructors have expertise in a range of fields and come from various backgrounds. Udemy receives funding from numerous sources, including Insight Venture Partners, Lightbank and others. This platform provides a combination of free and paid courses. You can also start your own course on the site. Courses can be accessed at any time. Course that may be of interest to PCDN members include (and which are free):
The U.S. Constitution: A Biography
International Relations 101
Is American Democracy Broken: Perspectives and Debates
MOOCs: Stay Connected: Here are a few sites to keep members informed on the MOOC world
Mooc Provider Directory
“What we’re learning from online education,” Tedx Talk with Coursera co-founder, Daphne Koller
A Conversation about Massive Open Online Courses by Derek Bruff, Center for Teaching Director at Vanderbilt University.
“Instructions for Masses Knocks Down Campus Walls,” article by Tamir Lewin in the New York Times, March 4th, 2012.
“The Year of the MOOC,” article by Laura Pappano in the New York Times, November 2nd, 2012.
“MOOCs and Open Education: Implications for Higher Education,” by Li Yuan and Stephen Powell, JISC CETIS, March 2013.
“Retention and Intention in Massive Open Online Courses: In Depth,” by Daphne Koller, Andrew Ng, Chuong Do, and Zhenghao Chen, June 3rd, 2013.
“White Paper: Massive Open Online Courses,” by Dr. Lindsay Ryan, January 2013.
“Open Education on the Move: An Interview with Vijay Kumar,” by Robin Fizz, September 20th, 2012
“A Comprehensive List of MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) Provide… by Tarique Haider, April 24th, 2013.
We hope this resource guide on MOOCs has been useful and we invite you again to add any comments, questions, etc. to further enrich our knowledge and discussion of this emerging trend in online education.