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

Adriana Salcedo is a scholar-practitioner focusing on conflict analysis, identity, migration and peacebuilding. She holds a Doctorate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University, in Virginia, United States, for which she conducted extensive research on forced migration, human rights and conflict in Colombia and Ecuador. With more than twelve years of experience in the analyzing and managing social conflicts, her professional practice covers the Amazon basin, the Galapagos Islands and the Andean region (Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia), the United States, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. She has researched for and worked with various public, private and civil society institutions, including international organizations, NGOs, and grass-roots organizations, including indigenous communities, women and minority groups.

In the academic field, she has taught courses at the Simón Bolívar Andean University, at the Latin American Faculty of Social Science in Ecuador and at George Mason University in the Washington D.C. on conflict analysis and resolution, participatory methodologies for building peace, gender, migration and peacebuilding. She has several publications in indexed journals and books in English and Spanish, exploring issues of human mobility, conflict, human rights and their link to public policies. Additionally, she has conducted numerous training courses and seminars for the Northern Virginia Mediation Center (as a Certified Instructor/Mediator), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic (DR) and the Canadian Embassy in the DR. She lives in Washington D.C. where she works as an independent consultant and affiliated 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.

Balázs Áron Kovács is the Programme Manager in the Philippines of forumZFD – Forum Civil Peace Service, a German NGO working in the field of conflict transformation. He completed his PhD at the University of New England, Australia in Peace Studies/Politics and International Studies. Prior to this he worked as an instructor at the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the UN-mandated University for Peace, as a programme officer at Freedom House Europe, a Washington DC-based NGO, and a civil servant at the Hungarian Ministry of Justice. He also holds a Juris Doctorate from the Faculty of Law and Political Science, Eötvös Loránd University of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary, and a Master’s Degree in International Peace Studies from the University for Peace.

Dr. Cordula Reimann has worked for twenty years as consultant, facilitator, trainer, researcher and lecturer on gender, social change, development and conflict transformation. As practitioner–scholar, Cordula has worked for international and Swiss governmental and non-governmental organisations like Crisis Management Initiative, amnesty international, the Institute for Multi-track Diplomacy in Washington, DC, GIZ and the Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management in Berlin and for nearly ten years at the Swiss peace foundation swisspeace, where she was head of analysis and impact of peacebuilding. Cordula has field experiences mainly in South Asia and the Middle East. With a doctorate in “Peace Studies” on gender, conflict and peacebuilding from the University of Bradford, Cordula has been senior lecturer at different European and Swiss universities and visiting professor at the University of Graz, Austria and the University for Peace, Costa Rica. Her main areas of expertise are gender, conflict sensitivity, development, conflict analysis, transgenerational trauma, loneliness and conflict transformation. Cordula is a trained mediator and has widely published on gender, conflict and conflict transformation theory and practice. In 2011, Cordula set up her own consultancy business called “core. consultancy & training in conflict transformation” (www.corechange.ch) and later her coaching business called “core change coaching” (www.corechange-coaching.ch).

Erin Dunlevy is a Restorative Justice and Equity Consultant for the NYC Restorative Justice Pilot Initiative, the NYPD Warning Card Pilot Initiative and the Expanded Success Initiative with New York University. Erin is a Restorative Justice practitioner and educator with over 17 years of professional experience in NYC public schools, and she currently works on projects around the country training stakeholders from schools, districts, community organizations and for-profit companies who influence education. Her areas of focus include developing a restorative model for critical consciousness, anti-bias strategies and examining the impact of race, power, and privilege in schools and professional settings. Her work has also focused on developing and implementing restorative justice models for addressing equity issues within classrooms, specifically as an advocate for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, Native Language Arts Education and restorative circles in core content classes. Erin has written and presented extensively about evaluative measures for restorative practices in schools cited for disproportionality and high incidences of violence. In addition to field work, Erin is an instructor at the New York University Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools teaching the Critically Conscious Educators Rising Series to over 250 in-service NYC Educators.

Dr. Gal Harmat holds a PhD in Gender Analysis of Peace Education and Dialogue encounters from Nitra University (Slovakia) and a M.A. in Gender and Peacebuilding from the University for Peace in Costa Rica. She was a professor in conflict transformation, peace education and gender and Co-Director of the Social Justice and Peace Education Teachers Training Program, Kibbutzim Teachers College in Tel Aviv, Israel. She has also been teaching in the World Peace Academy (University of Basel), the European Peace University (Austria), and the Arts and Social Change College in Israel. As a Gender and Peacebuilding Specialist, she has extensive experience in training, conflict analysis, dialogue facilitation, capacity building, peace education, research, gender empowerment and gender mainstreaming since 1998 in various countries in Eastern Europe, Africa, and West and South East Asia. Her consultancies include intergovernmental organizations (e.g. OSCE, UN Women, UNDP, and the Council of Europe), various international and regional NGOs (e.g. Non Violent Peace Force, Friends of the Earth Middle East; Peres Centre for Peace) and corporate donors (e.g. United Bank of Switzerland; Optimus Foundation). She is currently a Georg Arnhold fellow.

Head, Dept. of Peace and Conflict Studies, Resident Professor and Academic Coordinator of Peace Education Programme
Dr. Heather Kertyzia is the Head of the Peace and Conflict Studies department at the University for Peace in Costa Rica. Her teaching focus lies within the Peace Education and Gender and Peacebuilding programmes. 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 programmes.

Jerry W. Sanders is retired from the University of California, Berkeley where he served as Professor and Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies.  Dr. Sanders’ teaching and research interests include cosmopolitan and critical peace theory; globalization and governance; human security and peacebuilding; militarization and geopolitics; and neo-conservatism in American political culture and foreign policy.   He is the author of Peddlers of Crisis: The Committee On The Present Danger and The Politics of Containment (South End Press, 1983), a co-founder of the World Policy Journal, and a contributing author to the Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace (Oxford University Press, 2010).   Dr. Sanders is also founder and director of  The Summer Peace Institute in Human Security and Peacebuilding Practice at the UN-mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica), in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley.  In addition to his academic writings, he has published articles in World Policy, The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times, and  Mothers Jones.   Dr. Sanders received the Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley (1980) and served as a community development Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia (1967-69).   He has also taught abroad in Spain, Mexico, Sweden, and Argentina. 

Kees Wiebering has been a professional practitioner in peacebuilding projects since the mid-1990s. Over the years, he designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated peacebuilding projects, as well as taught and facilitated many workshops on cross cutting peace building related issues. He works as independent consultant, mediator, trainer and coach for professionals in peacebuilding. His work focuses on dialogue, conflict sensitivity, peace and conflict impact assessment, intercultural communication, project development and peace education. He holds a Master of Science in Philosophy and Physics and holds degrees in organisation development and mediation. He was member of the core-trainer team for a 4-month course for peacebuilders at the Academy for Conflict Transformation in Cologne, Germany. He is an independent lecturer at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. His research interests are the role of dialogue in peace processes, civil society development and NGO cooperation.

For over twenty years, I have been a humanitarian and an academic with extensive UN experience, a record of outstanding teaching and leading publications. My Ph.D. is from London School of Economics’ Gender Institute and my publications are widely cited. I first deployed as a United Nations Volunteer (UNV) in Central Asia and have since divided my time working (largely) for the UN and American University’s School of International Service. My research agenda focuses on international humanitarian peace and conflict. Peer-reviewed publications, such as Conflict, Gender, Ethnicity and Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Hunting for Women: Bride-kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan, are widely cited. My dissertation (London School of Economics) on gender and conflict in Central Asia was published by Routledge. My work has been cited in The New York Times, Inside Higher Education, and The Globe and Mail. My most recent opinion article was published in TRT World. My teaching skills, including participatory methods and innovative approaches, are demonstrated by a long record of excellent student evaluations. I have extensive interdisciplinary teaching experience in international peace including: the UN mandate and its application; conflict prevention and post-violent conflict reconstruction; refugee rights, internally displaced populations (IDPs) and forced migration; international development and peacebuilding; transnational organized crime; and gender mainstreaming and related issues. I’ve worked for many UN agencies including OCHA, UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, UN Women, and UNFPA. Highlights of my UN experience include: • Member of UN’s new Anti-Trafficking in Humanitarian Settings Taskforce and a member of the UN’s Protection from Sexual Abuse & Exploitation (PSEA) Taskforce; • UNHCR’s first GBV Advisor at the early on-set of an emergency in Chad/Darfur and UNHCR’s Regional Gender Advisor in the Balkans. My op-ed in The New York Times details what refugee women endured in Chad; and • Author of OCHA’s agency-wide gender evaluation and lead author of UNFPA’s first GBVIMS Evaluation in Uganda.

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 holds a B.Sc. with focus on International Trade. She is currently finalizing 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, therefore for more than 20 years; she has facilitated consultation processes and workshops, and coordinated local, regional and international projects in the field of sustainability values, education and policies. She has been a Professor in the Master's Programmes of the University for Peace since 2004 teaching in the areas of Sustainable Development, Environmental Governance, and Education for Sustainable Development. Mirian participated actively in major United Nations Conferences on Sustainable Development such as: 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.

Instructor, Liason, Media, Peace and Conflict Studies Specialization Programme
Ross Ryan currently serves as Instructor in the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies and Liaison Officer of the Media and Peace specialization programme. He previously served as Editor of Publications for UPEACE, where he oversaw the publication of the academic journal Peace and Conflict Review and online magazine Peace Conflict Monitor, as well as several ebooks and occasional papers hosted in the Open Knowledge Network. Professor Ryan holds a Double Honours BA in Political Science and English Literature from McMaster University, Canada and an MA in Environmental Security and Peace from the University for Peace, Costa Rica. His current research interests include the application of information technologies to anti-war and pro-peace movements.

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies.
Prior to taking up his fellowship at UPEACE in Costa Rica, Saumava Mitra completed his PhD from University of Western Ontario, Canada. His abiding interest is in understanding the nuances of representations of conflicts and crises and he has explored this topic from various angles in his previous research publications. He is also interested in international journalism and communications and particularly the local-global exchanges that take place within their processes. Saumava’s doctoral research was on the working conditions and image production of Afghan photojournalists who cater to global audiences. Several research publications based on the findings of this doctoral research have been published or are under the peer review process. Saumava actively participates in international conferences on media and communications on an annual basis. Most recently, he successfully organized expert panels on the topic of the role of local news-staff who work for global news media at two international conferences on media and communications research. He is currently co-editing a special issue of the highly regarded peer-reviewed journal Journalism Studies on the same topic. He is also engaged in collaborative research aligned with the UNESCO 2011 agenda on safety of journalists. Saumava serves as a peer reviewer and reviews editor of a number of international academic journals. He was also the recipient of an Erasmus Mundus scholarship from the European Union during his Master’s studies, which he pursued in Denmark, Netherlands and the UK. Saumava has also worked in international journalism and international development in South Asia, Europe and East Africa.

Ted Johnson is an Associate Professor of the Practice at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University where he teaches in the Graduate program in Conflict Resolution and Coexistence.

Ted is a lawyer and was a Deputy District Attorney in Orange County California for 15 years before he and is wife Donnalisa Johnson moved to Massachusetts where Ted attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

After receiving a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy, Ted worked with the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, and Conflict Management Group in Cambridge on issues of International Conflict and Peace Building. For example he worked in Post Apartied South Africa with a team advising the late Nelson Mandela, and also helped to develop resilient communities in the transition toward majority rule in the country. In addition he has worked in other conflict areas including, Cyprus, Angola, and Iraq. He also worked with and advised numerous UN Agencies including the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Bank and other international groups.

Domestically, Ted worked with the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry in Boston to design the Urban Peacemakers program (UP), a violence prevention approach, for youth in Roxbury. The program was nationally recognized and selected by the US Department of Justice as a model in youth violence prevention. The program was also exported to Chicago and Los Angeles and was credited not only with saving lives of youth in gangs, but also for increasing the number of inner city youth who attended colleges and universities.

Ted joined the faculty at Brandeis in 2006 and then completed his PhD in 2009 at the Fletcher School at Tufts.

Assistant Professor, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies
Dr. Uzma Rashid currently serves as Assistant Professor, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University for Peace, Costa Rica. Prior to joining UPEACE, she worked as Chair at the Department of Sociology, and Associate Dean for Research of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. Dr. Rashid has done her PhD as a Fulbright scholar from the interdisciplinary Language, Literacy, and Culture program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA, and has extensive teaching and research experience in a variety of contexts. Her current research interests lie at the intersections of gender, religion, race, ethnicity, and class, in particular focusing on intersectionality and inclusivity in peacebuilding efforts.