Peace and Conflict Studies

The Department of Peace and Conflict Studies is an integrated grouping of programmes that affiliate, interrelate and synergize around core themes and perspectives in conflict analysis and the challenges to peacebuilding. The programmes share a common goal of providing a critical understanding and analysis of root causes of conflicts and violence in diverse local, national, global and societal contexts, while specifically focusing on various dimensions, strategies, sectors, institutions and levels of conflict resolution and transformation to build a peaceful world. 

The Department offers the following Master of Arts Programmes:

Over the past several years, alumni have drawn upon the knowledge, skills, vision and commitment gained from these programmes to serve effectively and creatively in a wide range of peacebuilding-related roles in their societies and in the wider international community.

Resident Faculty


Manish Thapa (Nepal)

Head, Dept. of Peace and Conflict Studies, Resident Professor and Academic Coordinator of International Peace Studies Programme and International Peace Studies with specialization in Media, Peace and Conflict Studies Programme

Dr. Manish Thapa is Head of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies and Resident Professor of International Peace Studies Master Programme at the University for Peace. He is one of the founding members of Department of Conflict, Peace & Development Studies at Tribhuvan University Nepal (2007-2015). He is also currently Visiting Professor at the Institute of International Relations, University of Warsaw, Poland and Senior Research Fellow at Center for Europe – University of Warsaw- Poland. He received his Post Doctorate in International Relations from the University of Warsaw. He has served as Research Fellow in several universities and institutes in Europe and North America such as the University of Warsaw; Department of Peace & Conflict Research, Uppsala University; Brown University; McGill-Echenberg Human Rights Fellow & Jeanne Sauvé Scholar, McGill University; Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame. His publications include 6 books and numerous journal articles and book chapters including "Foreign Policy in the Global South: Anti-Westernism, Rhetoric and Identity" (Co-editor), London: Routledge 2017 (Forthcoming - In Press); "From Bullet to Ballot – Peacemaking and Peacebuilding in Nepal: Lessons Learned and Unlearned" (Editor), London: Routledge 2017 (Proposal accepted); “Internal Conflicts & Peacebuilding Challenges" (Editor), New Delhi: K W Publishers 2016 and "India in the Contemporary World: Polity, Economy and International Relations" (Co-editor), London: Routledge 2014.


Heather Kertyzia (Canada)

Resident Professor and Academic Coordinator of Peace Education Programme

Heather Kertyzia is currently Resident Professor and Academic Coordinator of Peace Education Master Programme at the University for Peace. She is also an assistant professor of Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding at California State University Dominguez Hills. She focuses on peace education, working with teachers in participatory action research to create more peaceful secondary schools. As a former secondary school teacher, Heather understands the importance of the local community in building more socially, economically and environmentally just educational spaces. As an interdisciplinary student and scholar, she has worked with communities throughout the Americas, with a recent focus on partnering with local grassroots organizations in Nicaragua.


Ross Ryan (Canada)

Instructor, Liaison, Media, Peace and Conflict Studies Specialization and Editor, Peace and Conflict Monitor and Peace and Conflict Review

Ross Ryan holds degrees in political science and literature from McMaster University, Canada and the M.A. degree in environmental security from the University for Peace, Costa Rica. He is chief editor of the Peace and Conflict Monitor and managing editor of the Peace and Conflict Review, as well as instructor in the department of peace studies and liaison officer of the media, peace and conflict studies specialization. He is currently working on a research project entitled “Information Technology, Civic Engagement, and the Cyber-Ethnography of Peace Movements”.


Mirian Vilela (Brazil)

Executive Director, Earth Charter International Secretariat and the Earth Charter Center on Education for Sustainable Development

Mirian is the coordinator of the UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she was an Edward Mason Fellow and a B.Sc. with focus on International Trade. She is currently working on a Doctorate on Education focusing her research on education for sustainability. She has worked with the Earth Charter International Initiative since the beginning of 1996 and therefore for more than 20 years, she has facilitated consultation processes and workshops, and coordinated local, regional and international projects. She has been a Professor in the Master's Programs of the University for Peace for over 10 years in the areas of Sustainable Development, Environmental Governance, and Education for Sustainable Development. Mirian participated actively in all major United Nations Conferences for Sustainable Development: Earth Summit (1992), Rio+5 (1997), Rio+10 in Johannesburg (2002), and Rio+20 (2012), articulating consultations and dialogues with various groups and sectors, as well as collaborating and influencing these processes.


Mayumi Yamada (Japan)

Resident Professor and Head of Doctoral Programme

Dr. Mayumi Yamada is Resident Professor and Head of the Doctoral Programme of the UN Mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica. Prior to joining UPEACE, she worked as the Recovery, Reintegration & Peace Building Officer of United Nations Mission in South Sudan. During the December Crisis 2013 in South Sudan, she remained as a life-saving staff, directly managing one of the biggest Protection of Civilians sites by supporting humanitarian assistance. Before joining UNMISS, she worked with UNDP Offices in Kazakhstan (Semipalatinsk: ex-nuclear testing sites), Maldives, Lao PDR and Solomon Islands, and the UN Centre for Regional Development (Disaster Management Planning Unit). She holds a Ph.D. Degree in Sustainable Development from Imperial College London, UK. She is originally from Kobe (Japan), who survived from the Great Hanshin- Awaji Earthquake in 1995.