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WEEK 3: May 21 – May 25, 2018

The Thematic Courses build on the foundational material by delving into particular strategic areas and focused applications.

Babu Ayindo (Kenya) and Kyoko Okumoto (Japan)

This course is grounded on the belief that all humans are artists; therefore, it is designed for any peace worker interested in tapping into his/her own individual creativity in composing works and processes of meaning, beauty and imagination while simultaneously working towards breaking cycles of violence. This is an intensive course that intentionally seeks to go beyond the claim that the “arts are powerful” and examine the nature and theory of arts-based approaches to peacebuilding.

Through interactive and experiential learning, the course will explore select art forms and how they evolve and intersect with community-based efforts in building peace. These art forms include: storytelling, handwork, forum theater, visual arts, music and dance. A special component of the course will be a field-visit with pioneer artists in Mindanao working at the intersection of arts and peacebuilding. The learning space will be organized to provide a supportive and challenging environment for participants to propose and develop arts-based initiatives that they can apply in their own contexts.


Gladston Xavier (India) and Florina Xavier (India)

Conflicts or disasters at any level or of any type can trigger a traumatic reaction among individuals, groups, communities and societies. The series of reactions produced depend upon the type of trauma experienced. Oftentimes, people who are traumatized cannot escape the environment that caused it. In addition, they may not even be aware that they have been traumatized and carry on without understanding the signs and symptoms. They are unable to seek help due to a lack of awareness and/or access to therapeutic intervention.

This course will explore and discuss the basic understanding of trauma, including practical ways to overcome it during and after conflict. The course will adopt an “elicitive” learning process and follow a workshop format using experiential role plays and case studies combined with short lectures. By the end of this interactive course, participants will: a) be able to recognize the causes of and reactions to trauma from multiple perspectives; b) have an understanding of the specific dynamic causes and effects of trauma in relation to conflict; and c) have tools and techniques to deal with trauma which can assist in the process of healing.

This course is designed for peacebuilding and development practitioners, community leaders, government and non-governmental workers, humanitarian relief service providers, and anyone who may have worked in conflict settings and areas affected by natural disasters.


Jonathan Rudy (USA), Tala (Twinkle) Bautista, and Rev. Fr. Noel R. Ponsaran (Philippines)

National Security frameworks all too often leave out key community stakeholders from the process of deciding how to address priority issues. When outsiders intervene in local contexts, as with suppressing rebel movements through violent means, humanitarian intervention or ecological activism, community-level wisdom, insights and participation are often overlooked.

Through lecture, group work, video and case studies, this course will explore how government, the security sector and civilians play a part in ensuring security for all. Be it at a community or national level, Human Security puts people first in the search for security. It has three basic goals: freedom from want, freedom from fear and a life lived with dignity. ‘People-First’ security looks at how each sector in society contributes to these three pieces and seeks collaborative problem-solving processes where they are missing.

In this course, participants will gain a deeper understanding about the drivers of violent extremism, and how terrorism, poverty, and climate change are all connected. Participants will learn to tackle these macro issues by asking key questions about what makes humans more secure and ensures that resources, be they the security sector, financial or climate goals, will work together for sustainable outcomes. By using case studies, participants will ultimately be able to design their own interventions that address root causes of insecurity while shaping and building capacity to promote positive security mechanisms.

This course is designed for anyone working in environments of conflict where multiple stakeholders have competing views on security. It will benefit individuals working at policy or programmatic levels in community-based organizations, NGOs, and INGOs that focus on some aspects of security. Persons from the security sector and government would specifically benefit from this shift in security paradigm presented in the class.


Shamsia Ramadhan (Kenya), Jean Baptiste Talla (Cameroon) and Myla Leguro (Philippines)

Religion, in recent years, has gained prominence in the public domain contrary to the thinking that it will become irrelevant. However, its role in many societies has been both constructive and destructive. Religion has been manipulated to perpetrate violence leading to fear and suspicion among people of different faiths. Religion has also been used to promote reconciliation and social cohesion. The course is designed to promote joint action by faith actors, particularly those working in multi-religious contexts, in regions experiencing interreligious hostility and religious motivated violence.

This course will explore processes to engage religious actors and institutions to support peace in settings where religion is a key factor in conflict and where religion is already a driving force for communal cooperation. The course will further highlight religious teachings on justice and peace from different faith traditions and demonstrate how they can be applied to peacebuilding and conflict transformation. Through case studies, role plays, group discussions and exercises, participants will analyze religiously-motivated conflicts, map out religious resources for peacebuilding, and examine challenges and opportunities for interreligious action and cooperation. Participants will outline plans that will facilitate concrete applications of interreligious peacebuilding in their respective contexts.

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