This course will explore the content, values and pedagogy of peace education as it is theorized and practiced internationally.  Using a Freirean pedagogical perspective, participants will apply the framework of education about, for and by peace to develop a clearer understanding of how peace education might be effectively implemented in their context. The discussion will include both the formal and informal education sectors, with a focus on the ability of education systems to promote either a culture of peace or a culture of violence. Participants will review research from the field to develop an understanding of the difficulties of evaluating peace education programs, and how those challenges can be faced. Course activities will focus on building an effective online learning community where participants learn from each other and challenge their own perspectives through in-depth dialogue and inquiry.   


Ever since its establishment in 1945, the United Nations has performed a pivotal function in a great variety of affairs, large or small, international and national. As such, the UN has played an incisive role in the lives of people around the world. Much of what the UN does is taken for granted and even goes unnoticed by the larger public, to the point that there has been expressed that ‘if the UN did not exist it would have to be invented’. At the same time, millions around the world look to the UN expecting it to address many of the enormous challenges faced by humankind. These complex dynamics are complemented by the fact that the UN is both reliant on what the member states want, while at the same time, being much more than the sum of its members. This course provides a comprehensive and rigorous introduction into the UN system, including its origins and history, its organisational framework and the functioning of various organs, agencies, bodies and programmes. 

Students will critically examine the most important areas of the UN mission including the key Charter principles, the pillars of international peace and security, economic and social progress, development and human rights as well as a growing list of priorities and initiatives (e.g., gender equality and  mainstreaming; eliminating gender-based violence; environmental protection; climate change; post-2015 development agenda; Global Education First Initiative; action to counter terrorism; R2P, etc.).

In addition, the course offers a close scrutiny at some of the challenges the UN faces, and discusses also various proposals for its reform. Students will be encouraged to reflect on how UN priorities and initiatives can be constructively addressed in their respective fields and programmes of peace studies.


The UPEACE Foundation Course provides a critical and concise introduction to the broad field of “Peace Studies” for students in ALL UPEACE programmes. It initially addresses key conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of the origins and development of peace studies as an interdisciplinary area within the fields of international relations and political economy. Based on a critical analysis of policies, strategies, institutions, organizations and movements, the course then examines a range of core issues, dimensions, perspectives and paradigms for understanding the root causes of conflicts and violence and constructive strategies to address them and build peace in contemporary global, international, regional, national and local contexts. The core concepts include militarization, disarmament and arms control; human rights violations and promotion; gender inequalities, gender-based violence and gender mainstreaming; structural violence, human security, development and globalization; environmental sustainability; corporate social responsibility; international law in conflict and peacebuilding; cultural and religious identities; media’s role in conflict and peacebuilding; strategies of nonviolence; and peace education. This Foundations course will be essential in catalyzing the awareness, understanding and motivation of UPEACE students in diverse academic programmes to relate, ground and intersect their specific areas of academic and practitioner interest with core theoretical, conceptual and analytical ideas in peace studies.

This course offers a deeper understanding of the change processes that lead to more effective projects and impacts within organizations. It is intended to increase the students’ capacities to formulate strategies and to design, implement and evaluate projects within a development and conflict prevention perspective. The students learn and critically discuss the theories of change as well as the processes of strategic planning, and project design and evaluation. They apply these notions to the study of concrete cases and to the preparation of their own strategic development and projects. The course delves deeper on such tools as: all the steps leading to the formulation of strategic plans; context, problem and stakeholders’ analysis; project cycle; logical framework; outcome
mapping; adaptive management; project implementation; phasing out; project monitoring and impact assessment.