Minor in Peace & Conflict Studies

I. The importance of Peace and Conflict studies as an Academic Discipline

A. Worldwide

Academic and professional programs in peace and conflict studies have considerably grown in number over the last decades to prepare students to become professional conflict resolvers. Universities that are not prepared to host such programs have opted for a minor in peace and conflict studies (e.g. the Justice and Peace Program at Georgetown University, the Justice and Peace Studies Program at the University of St. Thomas, the Certificate in Peace and Justice Studies at the University of San Francisco, etc…). These programs are key in giving students the necessary skills and credentials to:

  1. Enroll in a Masters program in conflict resolution
  2. Work as crisis management experts, activists, mediators, etc.
  3. Widen one’s horizons

Become active members in peace and justice related organizations (see table 1) and contribute to the many existing peace and conflict journals.

B. In Lebanon

In addition to helping widen their students’ academic horizons and increase their employment opportunities, universities in Lebanon have the social responsibility of introducing their students to peace and justice concepts and skills.
Lebanon remains a conflict zone with few grassroots initiatives aimed at managing its disputes. The absence of grassroots inventiveness is the consequence of a shortage in conflict resolution trainings and programs. Conflict resolution education empowers students by imparting the necessary skills and knowledge-base for managing social change and conflict.
The youth’s powerlessness in the face of conflict leads it to despair and increase its dependency on the ruling class and/or migrate. Lebanese Universities must engage in building a qualified peace taskforce and NDU must take the lead in shaping Lebanon’s future conflict resolvers.

II. A Peace and Conflict Studies Minor’s Connection to the Goals of Notre Dame University

Initiating a peace and conflict academic minor would draw from a variety of already established departments – Sociology, Economics, Politics, Psychology, Religion and others by bringing these varied disciplines into dialogue and collaboration, the peace and conflict minor would enable a comprehensive and original understanding with which to address the topics of peace and war. A minor that brings established fields of study together through course requirements would also bring students into dialogue.

III. Design of the Peace and Conflict Studies Minor (18 credits)

9 credits Core Minor requirements:
POS 315 Conflict Analysis and Intervention: a multitrack approach
POS 405 Diasporas: Conflict and Peacebuilding
POS 425 Understanding and Creating Social Change

9 credits out of a pool of the following courses:
IAF 402 Human Rights in International Politics
IAF 411 Conflict Management and Resolution
IAF 333 Terrorism
IAF 407 International and Regional Organizations
NGO 204 Civil Society in the MENA-Region
NGO 307 Religion and Development
POS 319 Democracy and Human Rights
POS 337 Dialogue Among Civilizations
NGO 401 Civil Society and Advocacy
POS 240 Law and Society
POS 323 Minority Politics