“What if I want to learn about Peace, or Conflict Resolution but don’t want (or can’t) to do all the work?”
I was thinking about this (yes really, and it might have to do with working on final papers…) riding the subway from school, and realized there are alternatives. Sure there are certificate courses that can add value to existing degrees, like the one here on Human Rights this summer. But what about other approaches?
There is this, an online peace building course based in Washington, DC. Looks pretty good, right? It’s a beta-test which is why it’s free for now, but it still seems interesting.
For the more determined peace-keeper there’s this institute that has several courses for the United Nations. Some seem pretty intriguing, and many are online.
Online. Peace. Peace Studies. Conflict Resolution. Online.
For me that all seems a little odd, doesn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, I like online, after all that’s how I’m writing this Blog. But shouldn’t conflict resolution and peace studies deal with people? I think so.
Ok, so I’m airing a bias here and perhaps I’m too old-school, but I believe that if you’re going to engage with conflicts and peace in any way, you have to engage with the people involved.
And that can be hard to do through a computer screen.
Computers are great, I love mine, and was amazed at the power of crisis mapping that was the focus of a class we had as part of my Conflict & Social Networks course (see post on Typhoon Haiyan). None of that powerful life-changing help can be done without a computer, and it saves lives.
But at some point, I feel one has to be on the ground, breathing the air, shaking hands and being face-to-face with those involved.
If we don’t know who parties to a conflict are, or what they deal with and experience, how can we have a dialogue or help in any meaningful, lasting way?
What do you think?