Water Cooperation and Diplomacy

1. Programme Description

Water management is conflict management. Regardless of the scale, ensuring that the needs of the people and ecosystems relying on this critical resource are met effectively, requires comprehensive understanding of both water science and water diplomacy, including dispute mitigation, management, and resolution. To address these needs, the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in The Netherlands, the University for Peace in Costa Rica (UPEACE), and Oregon State University in the USA, have embarked on a joint education programme in Water Cooperation and Diplomacy. The goal of this new initiative is to broaden the discussion about conflict and peace and the factors that contribute to both, engage multi-level scales of conflict dimensions and strengthen skills by providing hands-on and interactive learning opportunities.

Students in this Programme will cultivate cutting-edge skills in water cooperation and diplomacy by establishing a strong theoretical and applied understanding of peace and conflict studies and water management and governance, gaining hands-on skills training in both the Global South and Global North contexts for actual water dispute resolution processes, and networking with a wide variety of experts and professionals in the field of water and governance.

2. Admissions Requirements

Click here for detailed admissions requirements for this programme.

Email us at specialprogrammes@upeace.org if you have additional questions about this programme.

3. Who is it for?

Participants are expected to be professionals, preferably with several years of relevant work experience. They may be involved in topics directly or indirectly related to water management and from the water sector or other relevant sectors, such as current or future water managers, decision-makers and others involved in dealing with or interested in the fields of planning, regulating, and managing access, allocation, and control of water resources and services at various scales. Other categories include civil servants from ministries involved in water management, diplomatic staff, local authorities, river basin organizations, professionals from the UN and other international organizations, local and international NGOs, water users’ associations, universities and research institutes, and consultants. Another possible category is professionals involved in dispute resolution wanting to include water-related issues to their portfolio of activities. In addition, motivated individuals from another background wanting to change career orientation and work in this field, will also be welcome.

Students will be able to choose either a project or thesis option and be awarded an M.A. and an M.Sc. in Water Cooperation and Peace, depending on whether or not they intend to carry out original thesis research.  All participants will attend the common and core taught elements of the programme in all three institutions, focusing on different areas at each. Students who wish to pursue legal studies and train in water law, will be able to seek admission to the School of Law at the University of Oregon for a Master of Law or JD degrees, but these arrangements are in addition to the WCP programme, and would be made separately.

  • UPEACEfocus on conflict foundation including courses on the UN system, the environment, conflicts and sustainability, and water security and peace.
  • IHE Delft Institute for Water Educationfocus on water and conflict management including courses on water governance, water economics, water and environmental law, and water conflict management.
  • OSUfocus on conflict management integration including courses on applied hydrology, applied field problems, conducting collaborative projects and directed research.

4. Methodology

Through a multidisciplinary approach, this programme will provide participants with a theoretical and historical understanding of conflict and peace dynamics and frame issues of water security and cooperation in the broader context of environmental issues, in depth knowledge of and skills in critical analysis of water conflicts, an understanding of socio-hydrological dynamics, decision making processes on water resources and services management, water diplomacy, water dispute prevention, management and resolution skills and tools to promote/achieve water security and to ensure dialogue and cooperation between different and competing users at different scales. Additionally, the programme will offer the opportunity to undertake fieldwork and hands-on experience in Costa Rica, The Netherlands and USA. Participants will be exposed to different case studies, involving diverse challenges and contexts at different scales.

The programme will provide tools and training in an international setting, with the chance to undertake coursework and gain hands-on experience in Costa Rica, The Netherlands and the United States. Participants will be exposed to case studies involving diverse challenges and contexts at different scales, which may be local, national, regional or international. The taught part of the course will begin at UPEACE in Costa Rica, continue at the IHE Delft in The Netherlands - where part of the course will be taught at the Clingendael Institute for International Relations - and end at OSU in the United States. The research element can be carried out at any of the three institutions.

5. Financial Assistance

UPEACE is a not-for-profit institution has limited funds for financial assistance. Therefore we strive for balance, diverse class composition, and merit in distributing financial assistance among admitted students.

Conditions of UPEACE Waivers, Scholarships & Financial Assistance

The prospective applicant has to be admitted to UPEACE in order to receive any possibility of financial assistance from the University, the latter of which is subject to the following conditions:

  • The financial assistance awarded is non-negotiable.
  • The scholarships/waivers do not apply to the US$ 2,500 administrative fee. This fee is mandatory for all students and is non-refundable if the student wishes to withdraw from UPEACE before completing his/her degree. Admitted students must comply with this financial obligation to UPEACE according to the required deadline outlined in their official admissions documents.
  • Applicant are only eligible for one waiver category per application period. Waiver categories cannot be combined.
  • Applicants eligible for a 50% waiver must apply directly through the UPEACE Admissions Office.

Automatic Scholarships/Waivers

1. 30% Tuition Waiver (Automatic)

Available to M.A. and Doctorate students that meet one of the following criteria:

2. 50% Tuition Waiver (Automatic) 

Available to M.A. and Doctorate students that meet one of the following criteria:

  • Professors from partner university
  • Costa Rican citizens and residents (host country)
  • Current, full-time UN employees and volunteers
  • Documented refugee or asylee

3. 30% or 50% Tuition Waiver (Merit Based) - Available to Master's applicants who do not belong to the above categories. These waivers are offered in limited number and will be awarded by merit, not financial condition. These waivers are not available to doctorate students.

If you have questions about this programme, please contact specialprogrammes@upeace.org