The Center for Conflict Studies (CCS) was founded in 2011 by Dr. Pushpa Iyer, a scholar-practitioner in the field of conflict studies and current faculty member.
Conflicts are inevitable phenomena with a propensity to turn destructive very quickly, and are largely viewed negatively. CCS focuses on the study and application of the right tools for managing conflicts and therefore approaches conflicts more positively, as vehicles for change.
At CCS, we advocate for nonviolent change. We emphasize bridging research and practice to better understand and manage conflicts effectively and to change current inequalities and social injustices. This entails acquiring knowledge about the conflict through one’s own experiences and those of others.
Knowledge, we believe, translates into action because from the minute we comprehend, our thought process begins. Even if we choose not to or are unable to exercise our voice, knowledge is empowering. We believe that when human beings reach the point where knowledge brims over, action is inevitable. Our task is to create the space and the resources for knowledge acquisition.
In the words of Dr. Iyer, "Knowledge as action; Action as Change."
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The following are the focus areas of all CCS programs:
- Understanding Conflicts: Identifying conflict, its sources and root causes, parties, and the dynamics of conflict are primary and key steps in resolving conflicts. We hope through research to further our understanding of the nature, variety, and types of conflict situations in the world around us. We place a special emphasis on research that furthers understanding of violent conflicts. This means that studies that focus on armed actors – state and non-state – will be of great interest to us.
- Developing tools and skills to resolve conflicts in a non-violent manner: The field of Conflict Studies has many tools to deal with conflict, such as mediation, negotiation, facilitation, and dialogue. However, there are many other methods, such as a society’s traditional methods of dealing with conflict, which have not received much attention. Research that furthers the toolbox of conflict resolvers will receive our support.
- Peacebuilding in post-war societies: Societies that emerge from violent conflict are faced with the mammoth task of building and re-building infrastructure, relationships, and systems to ensure that conditions to prevent conflict from re-emerging are established. Research that focuses on the many aspects of building peace and will therefore receive our attention includes, but is not limited to: justice, trauma healing, dealing with the past/history/memory, security reforms, development, gender, governance, peace agreements/ implementation. Also of interest to us is research on the challenges faced by actors – state and non-state - involved in peacebuilding. We are also particularly interested in the intersection of conflict, security, development, and peace.
The Center’s research projects and consultancies seek to bridge the gap between theory and practice and to provide rich, empirically tested materials to policy makers.