Peace and Conflict Studies; The Foundation Course

3 credits / 9 weeks weeks
10 Sep 2018 - 9 Nov 2018

Professor Amr Abdalla
Professor Ross Ryan

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.




Amr Abdalla

Dr. Abdalla is the Senior Advisor on Policy Analysis and Research at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) of Addis Ababa University, and the Senior Advisor on Conflict Resolution at KARAMAH (Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights). In 2013-2014, he was Vice President of SALAM Institute for Peace and Justice in Washington, D.C. From 2004-2013 he was Professor, Dean and Vice Rector at the United Nations-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica. Prior to that, he was a Senior Fellow with the Peace Operations Policy Program, School of Public Policy, at George Mason University, Virginia. He was also a Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences in Leesburg, Virginia. He practiced law as a prosecuting attorney from 1978 to 1987 in Egypt. He then emigrated to the U.S. where he obtained a Master's degree in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. He has been teaching graduate classes in conflict analysis and resolution, and has conducted training, research and evaluation of conflict resolution and peacebuilding programs in several countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. He teaches regularly (face-to-face and online) at American University in Washington, D.C., University for Peace, University of Addis Ababa, and Open University of Catalonia. Dr. Abdalla pioneered the development of the first conflict resolution training manual for the Muslim communities in the United States titled (“…Say Peace”). He also founded Project LIGHT (Learning Islamic Guidance for Human Tolerance), a community peer-based anti-discrimination project funded by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). In 2011, he established with Egyptian UPEACE graduates a program for community prevention of sectarian violence in Egypt (Ahl el Hetta).

Ross Ryan

Instructor, Liason, Media, Peace and Conflict Studies Specialization and Editor, Peace and Conflict Monitor and Peace and Conflict Review Ross Ryan holds degrees in political science and literature from McMaster University, Canada and the M.A. degree in environmental security from the University for Peace, Costa Rica. He is chief editor of the Peace and Conflict Monitor and managing editor of the Peace and Conflict Review, as well as instructor in the department of peace studies and liaison officer of the media, peace and conflict studies specialization. He is currently working on a research project entitled “Information Technology, Civic Engagement, and the Cyber-Ethnography of Peace Movements”.



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