M.A. in Conflict Transformation
According to scholar John Paul Lederach, “Conflict is normal in human relationships and is a motor of change.” Indeed, without conflict we might argue that life would lose its meaning and humankind its potential for growth. At its core, conflict is the impetus for transformation; it is tension that demands patterns be broken and that we evolve into new ways of being.
At TGI, we recognize conflict transformation as an inherently creative phenomenon. To move from conflict to understanding to negotiation to transformation is a process that requires vision and creativity. It is an art form of the highest caliber. Every conflict generates its own set of potential solutions. Within this field of possibility, the conflict transformer, as artist, orchestrates the dynamics of change.
This 36-credit Master of Arts program originates in the perspective that understanding the art of conflict transformation is fundamental to healing human relationships, to building cooperation in organizations and societies, and to maintaining the stability of our global culture. It is an ongoing, never-ending process of creating new systems, social relations, and visions. As a practice and a field of study, Conflict Transformation is a personal experience available to anyone who wishes to learn its parameters and protocols; yet, its implications are far-reaching and universal.
This program engages students who are dedicated to applying their language, their skills, and their resources to transforming conflict in diverse environments. Whether they be social workers, counselors, business professionals, educators, or artists, the program content is applicable across all fields of endeavor.
Ideally, conflict transformation results in each constituent’s needs, rights, and dignity being acknowledged. This program offers a powerful vehicle for those who are dedicated to making this ideal a reality.
For detailed descriptions of the courses in this program, please click the links below:
CT 501 - History and Philosophy of War, Peace & Peacefulness - 2 cr.
This course provides an overview of the historical and philosophical foundations for conflict transformation and peace studies, introducing the language, themes, and ideologies of specific individuals, groups, and nations. Students examine a variety of perspectives on conflict transformation, conflict resolution, and peace, and evaluate the complex factors that hinder peace-building in war and conflict based scenarios, such as the pursuit of equity (as a function of human rights, fairness, and economic balance), ideological, linguistic, and psychological configurations of social interaction (including such issues as race, gender, and class), and the levels of conflict surrounding intrinsic changes in cultural and social values (as manifested in signs of dissatisfaction, civil unrest, and latent conflict). The objective of this course is to explore the interrelationships among ideologies and behavior that contribute to both conflict and peace-building efforts.
CT 502 - The Peace Imperative - 2 cr.
The imperative for peace requires a complex understanding of the many sources of conflict in modern society, including marginalization, materialism, and the outcomes of Marxism, capitalism, and Western constructs of masculinity. In this course, students learn to define peace not merely as the absence of conflict – but rather, as a state of being that is founded in understanding, tolerance, and cooperation. Learning to recognize connectivity is presented as an essential step in the peace-building process, and stewardship and education are explored as means for attaining environmental sustainability, economic prosperity, and political stability. Students also identify the ways in which personal transformation affects community and culture.
CT 503 - Psychology and Linguistics of Peace & Peacefulness (i.e., Conflict, Resolution, and Transformation) - 4 cr.
What and how we think can have a great impact on whether or not we are able to successfully transform conflict and support peace and peacefulness. This course explores the psychological and linguistic structures upon which values and beliefs are constructed, internalized, and articulated. Students examine the psychological motivators for intrapersonal and social conflicts, and they consider the varied ways in which language can mediate collective consciousness – either to create psychological security or engender aggression. The objective of this course is to develop strategies for generating a collective consciousness that is rooted in peace-building.
CT 504 - Aesthetics, Art, and Literature of Peace (i.e., The Art of Transmutation) - 4 cr.
In this course, students examine selected artistic and literary works, and discover the influence of aesthetic expression on cultural values, political ideologies, and social perspectives. Performance, media, and visual arts are analyzed alongside political commentary and propaganda. Students evaluate their influence on the national collective consciousness and assess their ability to transform understanding, enable insight, promulgate values, and motivate action. They also explore the value of aesthetic expression as a reflection of human attitudes and as a demonstration of human potential as well as an effective methodology for transforming conflict.
CT 505 - Promoting Peace I - Language of Transcendence - 4 cr.
The art of “connective language” is a facilitating force that promotes conflict transformation and the resolution of grievances. In this course, students take an in-depth look at selected communication techniques, including debate, constructive and destructive dialogue, and persuasive speech, and investigate the phenomenon referred to as “linguistic transcendence.” Students analyze and synthesize protocols for interpersonal communication, conflict management, active listening, nonviolent communication, appeasement, and cooperation. The course also examines transcendence, transformation, and generative leadership as processes that facilitate the establishment of alliances, create coalitions, and enable mutually-beneficial conflict transformation agreements.
CT 506 - Promoting Peace II - Venues, Resources & Approaches - 4 cr.
As long as there have been conflicts between individuals, groups, communities, and nations, there have been efforts to transform conflict and promote peace. In this course, students identify the characteristics and conditions of individuals, places, and situations that enable negotiation, compromise, and peace-building to succeed. Students examine organizations that have been successful in their deactivation of conflict and promulgation of peace, as well as the strategic frameworks used by activists and peace-building movements/projects that are working to redistribute power, reallocate resources, and transform personal attitudes and cultural beliefs.
CT 507 - Micro Model of Conflict Resolution: A Reflective Project - 4 cr.
Conflict exists within a micro-macro continuum - beginning with the individual, extending to his or her community, and radiating outward within the nation or geographical region. This continuum is made complex through the intellectual, cultural, social, and economic interactions that structure human experience. In this course, students use case study analysis and piloting to effect transformation of conflict within the micro-macro continuum. Students also learn to effectively assess the feasibility of a variety of conflict transformation initiatives, and to explore such topics as the potential for permanent peace, the inevitability of conflict, and the substantive nature of meditation and conflict management.
CT 508 - Action Research Design and Case Studies - 6 cr.
The Action Research Project is designed to be the beginning of a life-long commitment to the practice of analytical inquiry that perpetuates conflict resolution, and advocates peace and peacefulness as essential elements for attaining the highest quality of life. This course provides a pragmatic research foundation, within which the content of all previous courses may be applied and evaluated. Students are introduced to the theoretical and practical application frameworks used to conduct action research, collaborative inquiry, and participatory research that is rooted in liberation theology and human rights activism. Participants’ projects are designed to integrate broad social analyses, research methodologies, literature review, self-reflection and assessment, and the articulation of findings that explain social phenomena affected by conflict.
CT 509 - The Mentorship - 2 cr.
The mentorship provides experiences and opportunities for the development of understanding and meaning in real-world contexts. Students develop skills, insights, and performance abilities required for a long-term commitment to peace activism. Working with established organizations and individuals, students become engaged in the intense process of conflict transformation. The mentorship requires a minimum of 90 hours contact time. Comprehensive reporting of the mentorship experience is required, including systematic journaling and formal comprehensive written and oral reports.
CT 510 - Action Research and Field Project: Comprehensive Report - 4 cr.
The comprehensive thesis of the Action Research Field Project is intended to serve as the culminating event (i.e., Capstone Project) of each participant’s academic program. Students present written documentation of their field research in an extensive report that describes the literature that is pertinent to the project, explores the dimensions of a researchable question, describes the mythology and protocols that guide the research, analyzes and synthesizes the collected informative data, and presents the outcomes, observations, implications, and recommendations to a Juried Review Board comprised of the Program Coordinator and an independent third-party evaluator. In essence, the comprehensive thesis serves as an archival record that affirms the learning processes as congruent to the program’s missions and to each student's personal academic goals.