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How to End Wars and Craft Peace: Major Issues and Dilemmas in International Conflict Management

Course enrollment will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

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Course Description

Violent political conflicts, such as the civil wars in Syria and Ukraine, cause enormous human suffering and undermine global security. What can the international community do to prevent and resolve such conflicts? This course surveys the major issues that policy-makers face in international conflict management: preventing escalation, mediating and enforcing peace agreements, intervening militarily, and addressing refugee and humanitarian crises.

The course provides an introduction to the major issues and dilemmas facing the policy makers who are engaged in conflict management and resolution. It is divided in three main sections. The first section provides a brief historical overview of violent conflict and conflict management practices after the end of the Cold War. In this section, we will pay particular attention to the main concepts and theories underlying the practice of international conflict management today. The second section will then focus on the key issues of contemporary international conflict management. In this section, we will learn about and discuss the theory and practice of conflict prevention, international mediation, humanitarian intervention, refugee crisis management, peacekeeping, and post-conflict institution building. The discussion of each of these topics will be accompanied by case studies of previous conflicts in places such as Bosnia, Cambodia, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Rwanda, and Somalia. Finally, the third section will focus on the recent conflicts in Syria and Ukraine. Among others, we will discuss how the international community has engaged with these conflicts, what the main policy dilemmas have been, and how our existing knowledge of conflict management theory and practice can inform current and future policy. Throughout the course, we will pay particular attention to the ethical dilemmas underlying contemporary strategies and methods of conflict management as well as their costs and benefits more broadly.

By the end of this course students will be able to: distinguish between the main conflict resolution theories and practices; understand the merits and limitations of the different strategies and policy choices that international actors involved in conflict management take; appreciate the ethical dilemmas, costs and benefits underlying different forms of conflict management strategies and actions; evaluate the outcomes of conflict management actions taken and compare them with the alternatives.

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