Today, we are surrounded by conflict in some way or the other — be it between nations or within society or even the workplace — that has led to extensive human suffering. There is a strong necessity for creative and practical ways of dealing with conflict and for peace-building.
One of the ways is to study peace-building, which looks at how to reconstruct society in the post-conflict world through developing Negotiation, Arbitration and Mediation skills. Many of these courses involve study of Political Science, International Relations and other Social Science disciplines. In India, quite a few institutes across the country offer conflict resolution and peace-building courses, which are primarily at the post-graduate level.
The one-year PG Diploma in Conflict Transformation and Peace Building at the Aung San Suu Kyi Centre for Peace, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi, gets students to delve into the causes of various kinds of conflicts such as inter-state, intra-state and how they are managed and transformed and to analyse and manage conflicts of different kinds.
The Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution at Jamia Millia Islamia introduced a full-time two-year Master’s in Conflict Analysis and Peace Building back in 2007. The core focus is to understand the root cause and to develop strategies and tools to rein in, deal with, find solutions and prevent conflicts. The course analyses various kinds of conflicts and considers the possibility of escalation and resolution. Key focus areas include Conflict Prevention, Conflict Resolution, Conflict Transformation, Peace Negotiations and Post-Conflict Reconstruction. Apart from this, the centre also offers a Ph.D. in Peace and Conflict Studies.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University also offers a two-year PG programme called Introduction to Peace and Conflict Resolution, which aims to provide students with a critical analysis of Conflict Resolution from Marxist, Liberal, Gandhian and Feminist lenses.
The Guwahati Campus of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) offers a two-year Master’s programme in Peace and Conflict Studies, which engages with issues of peace and justice and involves the history, sociology and politics of conflict and violence.
Down South, Mysore University’s Gandhi Bhavan has a Master’s programme in Peace and Conflict Resolution, which was launched in 2011. This multidisciplinary course incorporates elements from Political Science, Geography, Economics, Philosophy, Psychology, Journalism, Religious Studies, Defence Studies and Gender Studies to allow students to explore how conflicts can be managed to reduce violence and maximise justice.
IIT-Madras offers an introductory course on Conflict, Reconstruction and Human Security. It studies the nature of conflicts and strategies for resolution, prevention, peace building and reconstruction. This also involves topics such as rebuilding the state, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration and includes case studies of countries such as Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and Nepal.
Peacebuilding is a dynamic and long-term process that includes various paradigms such as world order, power politics, societal transformation and more. Such courses give students an opportunity to study, analyse and address the causes of global conflicts and come up with creative and scientific solutions that take into account different approaches and perspectives.