Conflict Transformation Across Borders
BORDER ZONES can be sites of conflict among states and transnational actors over currency and trade, migration and refugees, environmental threats, and contested sovereignty, illustrated by the European refugee crisis, the U.S.-Mexico border, disputes over contested borders in East Asia, and many other cases around the world. Trained, dedicated individuals capable of developing innovative responses with which to transform conflicts are needed to build institutional and social bases for coexistence and a lasting peace.
Led by an international faculty of peace building practitioners and scholars, this summer institute in Ecuador is designed to equip early-career professionals, graduate and advanced undergraduate students, and other future peace builders with practical tools, knowledge, and hands-on experience to understand the complexities of conflicts within and across border regions, and the types of interventions that can be used to transform these conflicts. Ecuador is the perfect venue for studying these issues, as it is the largest recipient of refugees in Latin America, has advocated for the concept of universal citizenship, and has negotiated the negative impact of transnational environmental damage with neighboring states and with extractive industries.
Participants will reside in a university residence near the FLACSO campus in Quito, and will make field visits to the Amazon cloud forest in Baeza, and to the Northern Border region in Carchi province. The language of instruction will be English, although some Spanish-language talks will likely be included with translation provided.
Conflict Transformation Across Borders is offered through the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance in UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. The program will be jointly run with UMass Boston partner institutions, la Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), and the Center for Mediation, Peace, and Resolution of Conflict (CEMPROC).
This program uses a combination of classroom learning and discussion, hands-on experience through simulations and field visits, and interaction with high-profile guest speakers who are practitioners and scholars in the field of conflict transformation. Students will have the opportunity to engage in simulations and site visits during the practical training component of the course.
After laying a theoretical foundation, the program will include the analysis of concrete cases of conflict and peace building in the region, as well as practical skills training workshops on conflict analysis, negotiation and mediation, cross-cultural and nonviolent communication, and proposal writing.
Participants will research and design their own proposal for a peace building intervention, and will receive feedback from a panel of experienced experts in the field. Those wishing to submit their proposals to funding agencies for consideration will receive encouragement and technical assistance. In this way, the summer institute serves not only to generate knowledge and develop skills, but to act as a platform for action.
- Human security vs. national security in border regions
- Transnational dimensions of conflict and peace building
- Skills workshop: Conflict analysis
- Border disputes and binational dialogue/peace processes the cases of Ecuador-Colombia and Ecuador-Peru
- Forced migration and social conflict in migrant-receiving communities
- Skills workshop: Negotiation and mediation
- Skills workshop: Project development and proposal writing
- Conflict involving transnational environmental challenges
- Indigenous identity, ethnicity and conflict in border regions
- Skills workshop: Cross-cultural and non-violent communication as peace building resource
- Security sector reform; disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) and the Colombian armed conflict
- Nonviolence and civil resistance
All participants will register for CONRES 626 Advanced Intervention (3 graduate credits). CONRES 696 Independent Study (3 graduate credits) is offered as optional credit.
Credit will be granted by UMass Boston, but students, including recent graduates, from any university are welcome. These credits, which are also transferable to other universities, can be used towards earning a MA or certificate in Conflict Resolution, a MSPA in International Relations, or (in consultation with the student's advisor) a PhD in Human Security and Global Governance at UMass Boston.
Professor Jeff Pugh
Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance
University of Massachusetts Boston
View Professor Jeff Pugh's Bio
Professor Cecile Mouly
Department of International Studies and Communication
View Professor Cecile Mouly's Bio
Invited guest speakers may include:
- Francisco Carrión, former Ecuadorian minister of foreign relations and ambassador to the United Nations
- Col. Flavio Cárdenas, former UN peacekeeper and officer in the Ecuador-Peru war
- Rev. Israel Batista, presidential appointee to the Commission on Truth and Transparency to investigate the Angostura attack by Colombia on a FARC camp in Ecuadorian territory
- Yves-Renee Jennings, George Mason University/World Bank conflict resolution expert (retired) on Haiti—Dominican Republic border
- Many others
What Students are Saying
“This program is unique for me because it combines theoretical classes with trips in which we can apply in practical terms what we learn in class. That was the best part for me.”
“Inspired me to do my master’s in conflict resolution”
“It was wonderful, and I learned a lot of stuff in the three weeks, probably more than I’ve learned in the three semesters of all my other classes in my undergrad, so I really recommend it.”
This program was highlighted by NAFSA in UMass Boston's Paul Simon award for campus internationalization.