Looking out on a year can take many different perspectives - UNITAR’s Peacekeeping Training Programme began the year welcoming new candidates for its Master degree in “Conflictology”.  “Conflicts are everywhere – but solutions exist!” It is in under this slogan that we called for applications for the third intake of the Joint UNITAR – UOC International Master’s Degree in Conflictology. Building on the strong belief that education and training in the field of conflict management, resolution and transformation can contribute to a more peaceful world, the objective of the Master’s Degree is to bring together practitioners from all over the globe and create an environment conducive to the exchange of knowledge and information.

By going through a large number of applications, we decided to share some of the personal stories behind the applicants with you as they moved us and show the strong drive of our participants to act as agents of peaceful change.

“I once thought that the use of force was the answer to any conflict, but after multiple tours and deployments overseas I soon realized that this is not the path to realistically solving conflicts, in truth I learned that it only creates new conflicts and fuels existing ones, and in the end, all that are involved loose one way or the other.” (Applicant for the Master Degree in Conflictology).

Participants of the third intake of the Master’s Degree arrive from all world regions, with a majority of applicants from the African continent. We are particularly impressed with the high-quality applications and the strong motivation shown by the participants. Above all, the solid commitment of participants to act as agents of peaceful change contributes to our motivation to continuously improve the courses and adapt to the needs of the learners. The following two stories are exemplary for over 100 applications we received.

(1)  Change-makers in the Arab Spring

 “As the Arab Spring movement unfolded across the Middle East and North Africa, we saw young people leading non-violent revolutions, using new technologies to mobilize societies to bring about change. While the Arab Spring has caught the world’s attention, every day there are young people who are building bridges across communities unnoticed, working together, educating each other, and helping to manage conflict and promote peace. UNITAR & UOC’s Certificate & Post-graduate Diploma programme provides young people like me, with increased self-esteem and sense of personal control, greater development of life skills including leadership, peacebuilding & crisis management.”

(2)  Being a UN peacekeeper

“My main motivation is being able to successfully follow this online Master degree in Conflictology. Since, I sincerely believe is this master content basic knowledge that all peacekeepers, like myself, should master for the development of any professional and effective career in the United Nations as a Civil Affairs, Political and field officer. I consider the core programme of this master degree one of the main pillars of our daily work, particularly in conflictive and post conflict countries. As a peacekeeper we are always negotiating and harmonizing divergent groups of interest in multi-cultural environments, under high-pressure and sensitive socio-political situations. This instable context, in which conflicts and violence are continually escalating, makes techniques and tools in crisis management and conflict resolution, key elements of success, peacekeeping and finally the fulfilment of our UN mandate.”

These are only two among a large number of interesting stories behind our master’s students. UNITAR is looking forward to getting to know the study group and to accompany the participants while taking further steps in developing their capacity as agents of change.

In addition to the Master’s Degree in Conflictology, based on the needs and demand from partnering training institutions, four new training courses were developed in the following exciting topic areas: “Child Soldiers and Security Forces”, “Youth and Peacebuilding”, “Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping” and “Mission preparedness (EMDR)”. All of these courses will be piloted and run this year for the first time.

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Find more information on The International Master’s Degree in Conflictology