Center for Global Affairs

Peacemaking & Peacebuilding

Peace is a difficult-to-define concept, one that often finds itself framed as the absence of something else: of violence, of conflict, of inequality or oppression. Yet, scholars and policymakers are attempting to develop theories and practices that aim to build and sustain peace ¿ not simply the absence of war, but in the mold of what Johan Galtung defines as ¿positive peace,¿ characterized not only by a lack of physical violence, but also by the presence of harmonious relationships, equality and mutual interdependence. Conflict itself is not the primary problem making modern society less peaceful than it might be; rather, the use of violence to engage in many different conflicts stands as the main barrier to higher levels of peacefulness. This course will explore contemporary methods for peacemaking and peacebuilding as responses to real and potential deadly conflicts, particularly in a modern world in which the state no longer stands as the principal structure embodying the collective aspirations of the individual. There will be an emphasis not only on addressing conflict through high-level diplomacy ¿ often thought of as peacemaking ¿ but also through peacebuilding ¿ a set of highly interdependent and contextual social, economic and political practices often led by civil society or private-sector actors who aim to establish conditions in which political, social, economic and identity-based conflicts can result in constructive change rather than violence. The course will serve as a practical platform for students to explore how peacebuilding could be utilized as a mechanism to address recent global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide racial inequality.
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Associated Degrees