Elections are designed as instruments for building and sustaining democratic institutions as part of good governance. Instead of being instruments for peace, elections in many contexts are now causes of violence. “Democratic institutions are not meant to eliminate conflict; they are designed to manage it and channel it in productive directions” (Conducting a Conflict Assessment, A Framework for Strategy and Program Development). Elections are arenas for political competition to occur, as such, electoral operations programming ensures that elections remain vehicles for participation and constructive conflict management, and that they do not devolve into destructive forms of conflict. The goal of this course is to deepen participants’ understanding of election violence and ways to prevent it, to discuss questions of electoral integrity, and to use elections as a peacebuilding tool. It also aims to provide practical tools to build the capacity for participation in election operations, such as election observation, in order to prevent violence, manage conflict and build peace.
Theory & Practice of Reconciliation
This course is concerned with understanding and embracing a form of justice that satisfies human need and promotes reconciliation. Beginning with key theoretical underpinnings and a multi-disciplinary approach to concepts of justice and reconciliation, this course will explore the contemporary applications of justice and reconciliation in post-war settings, both locally and internationally. Presenter and participants will critique and compare various popular expressions of societal justice and reconciliation through structures such as: The International Criminal Court (ICC), Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRC), Restitution / Reparations, and Reintegration Strategies. In addition, various parallel and collective indigenous justice efforts will be studied and compared with the dominant justice systems. Of particular interest are the growing innovations in new hybrid justice models that attempt to satisfy the collective needs of traumatized societies, and the continued search for how to ensure a future transmission of generational justice that is embedded with a concern for the common good and reconciliation.
Reflective Peace Practices (RPP)
There are many people and organizations working in the field of peacebuilding. Are these efforts bringing about the desired change or are we too busy doing good without changing anything? How do we know that our efforts are contributing to a desired change? RPP provides the framework for conceptualizing proactive peace plans through conflict analysis, drafting SMART goals, framing key conflict drivers/factors, and identifying practical actions that will address the key conflict factors. In short, RPP consists of the choices we make in programming and how to design this program. It was first organized by the Collaborative for Development Action (CDA; now called CDA Collaborative Learning Projects) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA in collaboration with practitioners from around the world. RPP is a great tool for peace practitioners, managers and those who are interested in impacting the socio-political landscape of their society. Through RPP, participants will also explore program monitoring and evaluation.
(Intervention) Skills for Social Change
This module explores the theory and practice of third-party intervention from the perspective of conflict theory and the African experience. The challenge of intervention in social conflict is examined in a variety of settings ranging from personal to community to inter-state conflicts. Using case studies from Africa and the two-thirds world, participants will engage in an interactive dialogue on the concepts, frameworks, and processes of intervention relevant to their own cultural contexts and situations. A comparison will be made with intervention models from non-African cultures.
Dealing with Church and (Religious) Organizational Conflicts
Religious sectarianism has historically been a powerful driver for many conflicts in churches, parachurch organizations, and other faith-based organizations. The phenomenon of identity & religion and how they relate to conflict is the subject of this module. Are our different identities the primary reason why humans are unable to relate peacefully? This module discusses: ethnic identity, ethnocentrism, historical formation of identity, culture and identity, and psychological perspectives on identity. Religious beliefs play a critical part in identity-based conflicts. Misunderstandings about different interpretations of the Divine and religion have played a significant role in violent conflicts throughout the world. Topics discussed include political perspectives of identity and religion, major religious traditions, and views about war and peace. More importantly, the module will suggest skills in intervening in identity & religious conflicts.
Non-Violence – Faith-Based, Philosophy and Practice
This course aims at the formation of participants in non-violent approaches to social change. There is a realization that, more often than not, many people think that there is no alternative for bringing about social change. By so doing, we remain blind and seek no alternative. More often, the violent means we choose ends in loss of lives, including innocent lives, as well as destruction of properties and infrastructures. Non-violence, which is lesser known but more powerful, ethically justifiable, and less costly than violence is an alternative choice for peaceful conflict resolution and for bringing about social change. The focus of this course is on disputes and strife among groups at the local, communal, state, national, regional, and international levels. Course Objectives: To create awareness on the existence of alternative to violence so as to break the spiral of violence and to create options for a more human alternative; To enable participants to become familiar with the thinking/underlying different approaches in the employment of non-violent actions; To develop such skills as peacemaking, and nonviolent strategies and methods for achieving social change; To develop a willingness to take action for peace and justice.