Civil Peace Service: Supporting Universities in developing and implementing peace and conflict study programmes
Title: Southeast Asian University Partnership for Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Cambodia, Philippines, Timor-Leste
Overall term: 2019 to 2023
The development and implementation of study programmes in peace and conflict transformation in countries of the global south is rather marginal and universities often lack the technical expertise in the field of conflict transformation and the resources for vital peace research and its dissemination. This is due to the years of protracted violence in which entire sectors of society, such as academia or educational infrastructure such as university buildings, were eliminated or destroyed.
Universities in fragile states can play a vital role in conflict transformation and support efforts towards sustainable peace. Often, they are involved in peace processes facilitating and collaborating with a wide variety of national actors and take part in multisectoral dialogue platforms. At the same time, they are critical companions of development processes and as innovation centres for socio-political issues and visions for the future. In times of increasing shrinking spaces for civil society, universities can provide a "safe space", to discuss controversial or sensitive issues effecting peace development. The requisite tools are often found in formal and informal peace education focusing on non-violent conflict transformation.
Universities further play a bridging role between the theory and practice of conflict transformation by examining the effectiveness of approaches to civil conflict transformation through their research contributions. By expanding their range of courses in the field of peace and conflict research, they contribute to the dissemination of methods of civil conflict transformation and support social transformation to eliminate patters that are shaped by violence.
Strengthening application-oriented teaching and research in the field of peace promises to have a far-reaching effect at the level of social violence prevention. By offering courses in peace and conflict research, they support the social transformation of violent attitudes and actions, and contribute to the distribution of methods of civil conflict management.
In Southeast Asia, selected universities have successfully developed and implemented courses on peacebuilding and conflict transformation, and integrating traditional peace practices and context appropriate approaches, thereby increasing the effectiveness of sustainable peace in the region.
The aim of the programme is to provide technical and personnel support by placing Civil Peace Service Advisors in university partners to build their capacities in the conceptualisation and contextualisation of curricula through the integration of best practices from local and traditional practices in non-violent conflict transformation as well as through the application of peace action research to ensure context appropriate approaches to promote sustainable peace.
The support by CPS to partner universities is enriched by the cooperation with The Center for Conflict Research at the Philipps University of Marburg, Germany and their role in fostering professional exchange, providing expertise in curriculum development in the specific field conflict transformation. Thusly, the Southeast Asian University Partnership (SAUP) regional network will utilise synergies between the three countries and aims to integrate the partner universities into global exchange programmes and research projects on higher education.
The CPS Approach:
- Bridging theory and practice through close and regular exchange with governmental and non-governmental peace practitioners and students;
- Contribute actively to create closer linkages between academic knowledge and civil society approaches;
- Fostering intergenerational dialogue and providing safe spaces for exchange and understanding;
- Promote the integration of peace action research and the application of current methodologies;
- Sharpen context related approaches of ‘working with the violent past’;
- Establishment of a regional network of Southeast Asian experts and researchers in the area of peace and conflict studies;
- Support in the global exchange of best practices and lessons learnt on a comprehensive learning platform;
- Regional and global exchange of students and staff between partner universities; and
- Digital platforms for exchange of knowledge between South-South and South-North.