Skip to content

Summer Peacebuilding Program

PTDCCS is excited to announce the launch of the Summer Peacebuilding Program (SPP), a three-week long intensive training program designed to bridge the theory and practice of building peace in societies that are emerging from conflict, violence or war.

SPP provides an opportunity for participants to learn from the experiences and approaches of scholars and practitioners who work on some of the most difficult challenges our world faces today, including: resolving conflict, ending all forms of violence, providing social justice, and creating more secure and developed societies by transforming the conditions and relationships of conflict. SPP therefore welcomes all those interested in exploring the above-mentioned topics through a process of self-reflection, gathering of theoretical and conceptual data and its application to real world problems. Students and practitioners in the field of conflict, peace, development and security studies are eligible to apply.

Please visit our website for more information on SPP, including an outline of the sessions, important dates, application information, cost, scholarship opportunities, and more. You can apply online here.


I Am Troy Davis Book Club

troydavis-textOn Tuesday, November 18 the Center for Conflict Studies and the William Tell Coleman Library at MIIS will host a discussion on race, the death penalty, and the U.S. criminal justice system through a reading and discussion of “I Am Troy Davis” by Jen Marlowe. Troy Davis was executed by the state of Georgia in September 2011, despite international protests. This discussion is a part of the Troy Davis Community Book Club events, which are being organized all around the country. For more information on the book club, please click here.

The discussion will be held at the DLC Design Space at 6pm. This event is open to the public, but all attendees must register.

Reflections – November 2014 Issue

ReflectionsCoverNov.14The new issue of Reflections, the Center for Conflict Studies’ quarterly magazine, is now available. In keeping with the Center’s recent research projects and upcoming conference, this issue focuses on water conflicts. Articles include a commentary on water conflicts with California examples by Ann Clarke, a discussion of the ways in which water can be a catalyst for cooperation by Robert C. Brears, and an analysis of the importance of the environment, nature, and resources in human identity by Michael Vincent McGinnis. Please click here to read the new issue.

Water Conference Keynote Speaker: Jason Kestrel Burnett

jason_burnett_0CCS is proud to announce that Carmel Mayor Jason Kestrel Burnett will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Water Conference. His keynote address will be titled “Water Management: Finding Consensus in Complex Problems.” The address will be delivered at the opening of the conference on November 6.

Jason Burnett was re-elected as the Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA in April 2014. He served as Mayor since 2012 and as a City Councilmember from 2010-2012. He is Managing Partner of Clean Fund, a company that works to structure and secure financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Jason serves on multiple Monterey County Boards, including as President of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority Board of Directors. Previously Jason was the Associate Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and prior to the EPA he worked for Evolution Markets, a brokerage and consulting firm. He has testified before and been interviewed by Senate and Congressional committees and continues to engage federal and state policy leaders on a myriad of issues. He has been quoted in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. Jason is a trustee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and chairs its finance committee. He is on the Board of the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. Jason holds a Master of Arts in Earth Systems and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University and lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA with his wife, Melissa Burnett, and their son Sebastian Burnett.

Details of the conference panels can be found here. For a full schedule, please click here. Everyone must register to attend the conference.

Challenges to Peacebuilding in Mindanao – 2015 January Field Course


CCS announces an academic field course “Challenges to Peacebuilding in Mindanao, Philippines” this January (2015). The course will help participants link the theory of peacebuilding to its practice through field research.

Through this course, participants will interact with NGOs, INGOs, religious leaders, government officials, civil society members and members of peace zones in Mindanao. There will be visits to areas in central and northern Mindanao. First hand information gained from these meetings will be analyzed as a group through regular debrief sessions during and after the field trip. Outcomes will be presented through presentations at various forums and through a variety of publications. In Mindanao, the Catholic Relief Services with a long history of peacebuilding will be our host organization.

The course is open to current students – graduate level, but also exceptional undergraduates – enrolled in conflict studies or related disciplines. Practitioners and others interested in learning more about peacebuilding are also welcome. There are no geographic or nationality restrictions at this time. For more information and to submit your application online, click here.

Roundtable Discussion – Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color

KellyMcMillin              WillMatthews                 RosemarySoto

On October 9, CCS will host a roundtable discussion on Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color. Panelists will include Kelly McMillin, the Salinas Chief of Police; Will Matthews, Senior Communications Officer at ACLU Northern California; and community member Rosemary Soto. The discussion will be moderated by Professor Pushpa Iyer of MIIS.

Please join us for this important and timely discussion. The event will be held from 6pm to 8pm in the Samson Reading Room (453 Van Buren Street, Monterey) at MIIS.

Book Launch and Discussion with Julia Reynolds


“Intense, intimate… A sprawling, literary true crime effort.” -Kirkus Reviews

Julia, a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Conflict Studies, is a reporter and editor who has worked for MediaNews newspapers, PBS, NPR and other outlets. Julia will discuss the Nuestra Familia gang, which is the subject of her new book, “Blood in the Fields.” She will also highlight findings from her ongoing research on the role of women and girls in the gangs in Salinas.

The event will be held on Thursday, September 18 from 6.00pm to 8.00pm at the DLC Design Space at MIIS.

2014 Conference: Conflicts Over Water and Building Bridges with Water


We are excited to announce our third annual conference to be held in Monterey, CA from Nov. 6-8, 2014!

Conflicts Over Water

Water, a basic human need, a human right, is a limited resource. The eternal conflict over access to and control of water has been made more complex in recent times with climate change, privatization, damming and water exploitation for industrial and other commercial use. Poor water management, increased water pollution and unconstrained use of power for control over this resource makes conflicts over water a huge impediment to building an egalitarian, just, sustainable and peaceful society.

Water conflicts are also asymmetrical in that they impact the vulnerable sections of society – women, children and other marginalized groups – more negatively. The unpredictability of water as a resource adds to the problem, making negotiations and resolutions of water conflicts extremely challenging. After all, water gives life but it can destroy too. The paradox of water in the real world demands that conflict resolvers remain innovative, flexible and most importantly, comfortable working in grey zones.

Building Bridges With Water

So, how do water conflicts really get resolved? What innovative efforts have been made to bring warring parties in a water conflict to meet at least halfway on the bridge, if not cross the bridge entirely? Most importantly, how can we use water, often a source of conflict, as a means to resolve the conflict, that is, to build those bridges with water?

This conference aims to highlight the complexities of water conflicts and share approaches made by conflict resolvers, communities, institutions and governments in resolving these conflicts.

Read more about the conference.

Submit Your Proposal

We invite proposals from graduate students, academics and practitioners in conflict studies and other related disciplines (such as law, human rights, gender, culture and environment) who can offer perspectives from their empirical research (we insist on first-hand, ground-up research) particularly on but not limited to the following conference sub-themes:

  1. Water Supply
  2. Water Scarcity
  3. Water Pollution
  4. Water Access
  5. Water and Climate Change
  6. Water and Dams
  7. Water and Culture
  8. Water and Gender
  9. Water and Politics
  10. Water Use & Impact (Agriculture, Industry – Fracking, Mining, Commercial & Household)
  11. Trans boundary Water Conflicts
  12. Water Privatization, Pricing and Trading
  13. Water Conservation/ Management/ Diplomacy/ Agreements

Learn how to submit your proposal for our Fall 2014 conference here!

Submit your proposal online here.

New Book from CCS Visiting Scholar Julia Reynolds – “Blood in the Fields”

BITFcoverThe Center for Conflict Studies is happy to share that CCS Visiting Scholar Julia Reynolds will be releasing a new book this fall, titled “Blood in the Fields: Ten Years Inside California’s Nuestra Familia Gang.” Published by the Chicago Review Press, this book presents Julia Reynolds’ extensive research on the Nuestra Familia gang, one of the most violent gangs in the U.S. whose home is here in the Salinas Valley. Reynolds examines the identity of those involved with the gang, the gang’s operations and violence, and law enforcement’s efforts to dismantle Nuestra Familia. Drawing on interviews with gang members both in and out of prison as well as a trove of other research and documents, “Blood in the Fields” is a must-read for those working to break the cycle of violence in our communities.

Visit Julia’s site for more information, including where to pre-order the book.

In addition, on August 26 Julia will join community experts on youth violence and gangs for a discussion on the problem of violence in our community and some of the promising solutions. Other participants will include Willie Stokes, Executive Director and Founder of the Black Sheep Redemption Program; Brian Contreras, a founder of Second Chance Youth Program; Kelly McMillin, Chief of Police for the Salinas Police Department; and J.D. Hillard from the Santa Cruz-based NPR affiliate KUSP Radio. The discussion will be held at 7:00pm at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Please visit their site for more information.

Peace, Trade, and Development Program 2014

IMG_0220CCS Director Pushpa Iyer will once again be teaching in the Peace, Trade, and Development program this summer at MIIS. This four-week course is designed to give upper-level students and new professionals the concepts and tools to work in human security, global trade, social change and development. Dr. Iyer will begin teaching on July 24th with an Introduction to Conflict and Peace, followed by a section on Culture and Conflict on the 25th. The following Monday will entail a day of site visits in Salinas, and the classes will wrap up with Challenges to Peacebuilding and Skills for Conflict Resolution on July 29th.