“Challenges to Peacebuilding” is an academic field course in which students are introduced to the theory and practice of peacebuilding through the study of a post-war country.
The field component of this course is organized during the winter term (J-Term). Preparations for this course include pre-departure workshops (Fall semester) wherein students learn about the history and background to the conflict. Experts are brought in, students watch documentaries and read scholarly and journalistic articles. Upon return, a debrief workshop (Spring Semester) helps students reflect on their experiences, analyze and present their findings in a variety of forums.
The course is especially useful for students in the fields of conflict studies, human rights, development, business and environment. It is designed to supplement and complement conflict resolution theories and concepts learned in the classroom with ‘real-world’ examples on the nature of conflict, its impact on people, peacebuilding initiatives and in understanding the kinds of actors involved in rebuilding and bring peace to a country. Another key objective of this course is get students to learn to deal with the complexities of conducting field research, develop data collection instruments and summarize data for a qualitative analysis.
In 2009, the course was conducted in Cambodia; in 2010 the course traveled to Sierra Leone; in 2012 to Nepal; and in 2013, Gujarat was the case study.
Dr. Pushpa Iyer, Associate Professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) and Director of the Center for Conflict Studies designed this course and leads the students through a year long journey.
The course is open to current graduate students, practitioners and those interested broadly in conflict and peace. Exceptional undergraduate students may also be considered. MIIS students can receive up to four academic credits for this course.