Department of 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.

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.

Faculty

Dr. Abdalla is a visiting professor of peace and conflict studies at the University for Peace and the Wesley Theological Seminary. He serves as the Senior Advisor on Conflict Resolution at the Washington-based organization KARAMAH (Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights in the Washington, D.C. area. From 2014 to 2017 he was the Senior Advisor on Policy Analysis and Research at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) of Addis Ababa University. In 2013-2014, he was Vice President of SALAM Institute for Peace and Justice in Washington, D.C. From 2004-2013 he was Professor, Dean and Vice Rector at the United Nations-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica. Prior to that, he was a Senior Fellow with the Peace Operations Policy Program, School of Public Policy, at George Mason University, Virginia. He was also a Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences in Leesburg, Virginia. Both his academic and professional careers are multi-disciplinary. He obtained a law degree in Egypt in 1977 where he practiced law as a prosecuting attorney from 1978 to 1986. From 1981-1986, he was a member of the public prosecutor team investigating the case of the assassination of President Sadat and numerous other terrorism cases. He then emigrated to the U.S. where he obtained a Master's degree in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. He has been teaching graduate classes in conflict analysis and resolution, and has conducted training, research and evaluation of conflict resolution and peacebuilding programs in several countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. He has been an active figure in promoting effective cross-cultural messages within the Islamic and Arabic-speaking communities in America through workshops, T.V. and radio presentations. He has also been actively involved in inter-faith dialogues in the United States. He pioneered the development of the first conflict resolution training manual for the Muslim communities in the United States titled (“…Say Peace”). He also founded Project LIGHT (Learning Islamic Guidance for Human Tolerance), a community peer-based anti-discrimination project funded by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). In 2011, he established with Egyptian UPEACE graduates a program for community prevention of sectarian violence in Egypt (Ahl el Hetta). Dr. Abdalla teaches regularly (face-to-face and online) at Wesley Theological Seminary and the University for Peace.

Resident Professor and Academic Coordinator of Peace Education Programme
Dr. Heather Kertyzia is the Head of the Peace and Conflict Studies department at the United Nations mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. Her teaching focus lies within the Peace Education and Gender and Peacebuilding programs. Dr. Kertyzia's research uses participatory methods to better understand and improve practices of peace education, primarily at the secondary and university levels. She has engaged in these processes in several countries, working in partnership with faculty and teachers to collectively develop more peaceful educational cultures. Dr. Kertyzia writes from an intersectional feminist perspective and draws on post-development theories. As a former secondary school teacher, she understands the importance of the local community in building more socially, economically and environmentally just educational spaces. As an interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. Kertyzia has worked with communities throughout the Americas, with a recent focus on partnering with local grassroots organizations in Los Angeles, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. She has taught at universities in New Zealand, Colombia, the United States and Costa Rica in peace studies, conflict resolution, peacebuilding, teacher education, human rights and international law programs.

Member of the Office of the Legal Counsel, Office of Legal Affairs, Secretariat of the United Nations. Previously a member of the Treaty Section of the Office of Legal Affairs. Formerly a legal adviser and a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Territories, the Philippines, and Rwanda. LLM, London School of Economics and Political Science; PhD, University of Cambridge. Areas of expertise are the law of international organisations, international humanitarian law, international law regulating the use of force, and the law of treaties.

Professor Mohammed Ihsan is currently president of the International University of Erbil. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Defense Department at King’s College, London and Honorary Research Fellow at the Social Science Department at the University of Exeter. Between 2005 and 2011 has been Minister for Extra Regional Affairs and between 2001 and 2005 Minister for Human Rights, President of the General Board for Disputed Areas in Iraq from 2011 to 2015. He has also been International Investigator for Genocide crimes in Iraq, Bosnia and Rwanda. Between 2007 and 2012 he has been Kurdistan Representative to the Federal Government of Iraq. He published various books and articles on Iraq and the Middle East. He holds a PhD(EXON) in Political Sciences from the University of Exeter and a PhD in International Law from King’s College, London. http://www.drmohammedihsan.com

Instructor, Liason, 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”.

Saumava Mitra did his PhD from University of Western Ontario, Canada. His doctoral research was on the working conditions and image production of Afghan photojournalists who cater to global audiences. His abiding interest is in understanding the nuances of representations conflicts and crises and he has explored this topic from various angles in his previous research publications. He was recipient of an Erasmus Mundus scholarship from the European Union during his Master’s program in Journalism which he pursued in Denmark, Netherlands and the UK. Before his research career, he worked in international journalism and international development in India, Netherlands, Tanzania and Kenya.