All social interactions, from personal relationships to international arena, experience opposing preferences. Hence an introductory course on the theory and practice of negotiation and mediation is essential for understanding topics as diverse as marital disputes, organizational relations, community conflicts, group decision-making and international relations. It will enhance one's ability to critically review situations in order to find and adopt a mutually accepted solution to a given situation. This course is therefore designed to serve as a broad introduction to the nature, scope, theories and practices of negotiation and mediation. The course will examine the complex and yet essential roles of negotiation and mediation as part of the main procedures of dealing with opposing preferences and as models of constructive conflict transformation. The course will set the context with a discussion on the nature, assumptions, emotions and decision-making approaches involved in negotiations, the dynamics revolving around it and the gender perspective to it. It will also examine the various objectives, considerations, essences and processes of mediation.  The course utilizes participatory and interactive pedagogies.

The course will provide an overview of the role news media plays – and those it fails to play – when it comes to reporting on conflicts. After exploring the main tenets, arguments, debates and practical and theoretical approaches through which news media and journalism’s role in representing conflicts is understood and studied, the course will introduce Peace Journalism – a supposed corrective to the failures of news media when it comes to reporting on conflicts. The course will provide a critical appraisal of Peace Journalism from theoretical and practical points of view. Finally, an alternative, holistic way of conceptualizing the role of media in conflict-affected contexts will be explored. This will be based on the emerging discussions among scholars surrounding news media’s ability, and ethical responsibility, to create compassion and empathy among audiences for conflict-affected societies. The course aims to provide participants knowledge of existing critical tools and concepts to evaluate news media’s role in upholding a mirror to conflicts, and to understand the many distortions inherent in the mirror that news media does uphold. The course will also expose the participants to new ways of thinking about what role media can play in representing conflicts, based on the recent discussions within media studies.

The number of international migrants worldwide has continued to grow rapidly over the past eighteen years reaching 244 million in 2015, up from 222 million in 2010 and 173 million in 2000. Never since the creation of the United Nations has international migration and large-scale refugee movements been higher on the international agenda or a subject of more intense debate at national, regional and international levels. 

Two conflicting narratives are colliding in today’s world. Some argue that migration and migrants are bad for national economies, as well as a threat to law and order, culture and traditions, and even national security. Under this view, migrants unfairly compete for jobs, drive down wages and educational standards, drain national resources and services that are already in scarce supply, are more likely to commit serious crimes, while constituting a pool of potential terrorists. The growing vilification and criminalization of migrants and refugees in public discourse and national policies is a clear manifestation of this view. The other narrative is that migration is an integral part of the human condition and that migrants and refugees bring valuable human capital. Rather than being criminals or potential terrorists, migrants and refugees make positive contributions to economies and societies when enabled and empowered to do so. Migration can be harnessed as a positive force for sustainable development by filling gaps in labor markets; injecting fresh talent, expertise, dynamism and innovation; and enriching national culture and society with diversity. It can be ‘managed’ only through better analysis and action on empirical evidence regarding migration – not just emotions and political rhetoric – and in closer cooperation between States, be they ‘sending’, ‘receiving’ or ‘transit’ States or a combination thereof. The way migrants and migration are treated in the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is a good example of this view.

This course offers a broad overview of the scale of international migration, the underlying drivers, as well as the challenges it poses in today’s world. Students will become familiar with the relevant international and regional legal frameworks in this area, the main actors involved in addressing today’s large-scale movements of refugees and migrants, the mechanisms in place for international dialogue and cooperation, as well as new initiatives to improve the international governance of migration, including by the United Nations General Assembly. Students will become conversant with migration as a dimension of the United Nation’s new 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Finally, students will be asked to reflect upon the prospects for improved international cooperation on migrant and refugee flows in today’s global environment.

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.

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. 

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.