Conflict Management for Peacekeepers and Peacebuilders

· 24th February 2020

If you have enrolled in this online course it is likely that you are already involved in a peace operation of some kind, or that you are anticipating such a role in the future. This online course has been designed as a practical guide, to assist you in dealing with conflict in a peacekeeping environment. It is aimed at all kinds of participants in peace missions – from military or police officers to civilian mission personnel.

The skills and approaches contained herein are generic – thus they are applicable whether you are coming from a military, police or civilian perspective. They are based on the core principle that, in the vast majority of conflict situations, a non-violent approach can be applied to dealing with conflict. This applies both to situational crises and to the resolution of long-term, deeply-seated conflict problems on a local, regional or even international scale.

This conflict management methodology builds on the experience of ACCORD in over a decade of conflict management training and experience in Africa, but is specifically designed to meet the needs of civilian, military and police peacekeepers in contemporary complex peace operations.The online course is designed to give you a broad-based introduction to all aspects of conflict management – from understanding, assessing and analysing conflict, through to the practical application of negotiation and mediation skills to intervene in conflict. It also looks at how important communication skills are in dealing with conflict, and offers some practical advice for working with interpreters.

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President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa releases a dove symbolising peace at a cultural festival.

The most vital information in each chapter is immediately accessible in the Overview sections. In a few pages, the overview will put the information that follows in a framework. By reading all of the overview sections first, you can get a general sense of what we are trying to convey, and absorb the most important information. You can also refer back to the overview section frequently for revision, or when you need a quick reminder.

Throughout the online course you will find action-oriented How To sections that offer practical steps on what to do when dealing with conflict, for instance, the steps to follow when negotiating. You may wish to memorise these sections, or even copy them and keep them near to hand as a quick-reference guide.

The Theory sections are designed to give you background information, to help you understand the theory behind our practical approaches to conflict management, and to guide you towards further study. While this online course is primarily a practical guide to dealing with conflict in the field, we also offer some theoretical understanding to deepen and broaden your knowledge, and encourage further growth and education. The list of resources at the end of this online course is designed to assist you to start exploring this exciting field further. Conflict management is a life skill, not just a theoretical exercise. Learning to become an effective conflict manager is thus a multilayered and multifaceted process – which includes learning theoretical knowledge, together with skills and practical tools. It will also challenge you personally, and will require growth and change in the way you see yourself and the way you see your world.

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A child soldier in the DRC. A core priority of any peace mission is to secure the safety and well-being of vulnerable groups – especially women and children.
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Modern peace missions involve people from a range of different disciplines including military personnel, police and civilians, such as humanitarian workers. The buzzword is ‘cooperation’ – it is critical for all parties to work together to ensure the mission’s success.

The Learning Process

Conflict management is a life skill, not just a theoretical exercise. Learning to become an effective conflict manager is thus a multilayered and multifaceted process – which includes learning theoretical knowledge, together with skills and practical tools. It will also challenge you personally, and will require growth and change in the way you see yourself and the way you see your world. This ‘learning map’ can help you to record key information that has made an impact on you as you work through this online course. Theory refers to principles, concepts and ideas; Tools and Practical Skills describes practical approaches to resolving conflict – things you would do; Qualities are the internal attributes, such as compassion, openness and understanding, that you need to develop and enhance to be effective at intervening in conflict.

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How to use the learning map

Make a copy of the map on a large piece of paper, and write key information that seems important to you in the circles, or with arrows running into the circles. If one circle seems empty, then think about which areas you need to focus on to develop that area.

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He has been criticised by some, but Kofi Annan has done much as an African head of the UN to put African issues on the global political map.
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Course Includes

  • 8 Lessons
  • 8 Quizzes