“Challenges to Peacebuilding” is an academic field course (4 credits) at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) 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 organised 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 studying conflict resolution at the Institute but is also of interest to those studying 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 and in 2012, Nepal will be the country case study.
Dr. Pushpa Iyer, Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Policy and Management at MIIS designed this course and leads the students through a year long journey.