WPLP Course Descriptions

WPLP is an academically rigorous program that involves intensive week-long courses, graduate-level reading and writing requirements, and practical application of course concepts via the design and implementation of a community peacebuilding intervention plan, through which participants actualize their learnings and their leadership skills while bringing about real change in a conflict situation.

Based on EMU’s graduate coursework requirements, participants can expect to spend an average of 45 hours of seat time and 135 hours of outside study time for each of the courses below. Participants will be required to complete an average of 1000 pages of reading and 20 pages of academic writing for each course in the program. Implementation of the intervention plan is expected to require 5-10 hours per week of the participant’s time in the final ten months of the program.

Leadership for Peacebuilding

(3 SH) Core Course

Do women bring unique leadership capacities to peacebuilding processes? This course investigates the nexus between gender and peacebuilding leadership, suggesting that women’s contributions are essential if peace is to be both just and sustainable. Shared constructions around gender frequently provide women with distinctive perceptions and experiences that add tremendous value to the way they transact leadership. Through an exploration of their own leadership practices, styles and skills, participants will gain an experiential understanding of how their leadership as women can bring a unique resource to the peace process. Exercises in which participants probe the contours of their own specific organizational context will build capacity for effective leadership within their personal, institutional and community settings.

Analysis: Understanding Conflict

(3 SH) Core Course

Participants begin by identifying a specific conflict from their context, which they will address throughout the course of their time in the program. They learn to apply analysis tools to their specific conflict situation and to examine their conflict situation through lenses of identity, culture, power, and trauma. Participants explore implications that their role as a leader has on their conflict analysis and identify the leadership role they will play while intervening in the conflict. Finally, participants build an understanding of the importance of revisiting their analysis after beginning implementation of their intervention.

Peacebuilding Responses to Violent Extremism

(2 SH) Elective Course

This interactive, case study-based course explores violent extremism (VE) through a peacebuilding lens. Comparing different definitions, geographical expressions, root causes, and responses to VE, the course provides participants with a conceptual, legal, and practitioner-oriented understanding of VE. Emphasis is on a practitioner-oriented understanding of violent extremism using a systems-based approach; participants explore the unintended impacts of different responses to VE, particularly on civil society. Participants learn to define and identify the benefits and challenges of a range of responses to violent extremism, including counterterrorism legislation, the use of military force, policing strategies, as well as CVE (countering violent extremism) and PVE (preventing violent extremism) approaches. Participants become articulate in the usage of terms such as “radicalization” and “resilience” as well as distinctions between state use of violence and non-state armed groups. Building on the analysis course, participants use hands-on tools to map root causes and find useful analytical frameworks to address a VE-related conflict in their context.

Writing and Reflection Workshop

Participants spend the week reflecting on coursework and learnings from their previous courses, and beginning work on course assignments. Topics such as library resources, plagiarism, referencing/bibliography, and types of papers are covered so that each participant is equipped with the academic skills they need to succeed in the program. A writing tutor will also be available to assist with these topics and will be available for one-on-one tutoring sessions with participants as needed. In addition, participants will strategize together on how to stay connected and continue to collaborate when back in their home country.

Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR)

(2 SH) Elective Course

This course presents an integrated theoretical and training approach to the trauma, conflict, and violence caused by nature, human beings, or societal institutions and structures. Research and experience demonstrate that unaddressed trauma often leads to conflict and violence against self or others as traumatized people act out against others or become self-destructive. STAR combines theory with experiential learning to increase awareness of the impact of trauma on the body, brain, emotions, spirit and relationships. The course offers tools for addressing trauma and breaking the cycles of violence. The STAR multidisciplinary framework draws on the fields of neurobiology, restorative justice, trauma healing, conflict transformation, and spirituality for building healthy, resilient individuals and communities. The theoretical and practical focus of the course provides a model to understand and interrupt cycles of violence at the individual, communal and societal levels.

Praxis Seminar

(1 SH) Core Course

Praxis Seminar is an online course that spans the period during which students are implementing their intervention. The monthly meetings offer participants an opportunity to glean lessons from stories and best practices told by other peacebuilding leaders who are guests to the class, discuss practice challenges, and find answers to questions related to their intervention implementation. Mentoring and monitoring and evaluation activities are also part of Praxis Seminar.

Intervention Design Workshop

(2 SH) Core Course

During this course students transform the conflict analysis they conducted in their Analysis: Understanding Conflict course into a practical intervention, which they will implement in their communities. To this end, students study theories of change as they relate to their interventions, discover their leadership role and its impact on their intervention, and examine the role that their networks play in their intervention. The course has a strong emphasis on monitoring and evaluation, allowing students to make informed decisions about their intervention as they begin implementation. The final outcome of the course is a peacebuilding intervention plan, which students will implement throughout the remainder of the program.

Mobilizing for Systems Change

(2 SH) Core Course

In this course, students examine how to increase the reach of their intervention as well as how to change the larger system within which the conflict they are addressing is occurring—whether that is an organizational system, a community system, a governance system, or others. Students use the data collected from their intervention implementation to understand different roles in conflict, conduct reflective analysis of conflicts and contexts, and organize for scaled up action. In doing so students learn about systems theory, conflict analysis through a systems perspective, key leverage points and partners, and mobilizing stakeholders for systems change.

Learn More About WPLP

Program Timeline Peacebuilding Intervention Implementation Mentoring Component

Zehr Institute Webinars


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