CMHA001 Foundation Reading in Conflict and Humanitarian Studies
In this course the program uses a variety of pedagogical methods to provide students with academic, professional, and interpersonal qualifications necessary to complete the study program:
Readings: the main objective of this course is to develop student English language proficiency in the field of social studies thus students are assigned discipline specific readings that they are required to complete prior to each lecture.
Lectures: will be focused on delivering definitions and the theoretical concepts of the program. The instructor will be providing illustrations and case studies to ensure students are aware of the subjects discussed in the course.
Class discussions: are essential for students to build teamwork skills
Presentations: Students will develop their communications skills as well as their ability to critically search and analyze specific issues and the ability to speak in public.
CMHA610 Understanding Conflict
This course has four main objectives:
1. Understanding conflict as a social phenomenon by discussing the concepts, models, mechanisms and theoretical frameworks that influence conflict processes through its various stages of emergence, development, and resolution, whether at nation, regional, or international level.
2. To gain the ability to use conflict understanding in analyzing international conflicts, hence, contributing to establish an overview of issues, parties, and dynamics of conflict. In addition, finding of the opportunity for effective intervention to influence the conflict development.
3. Understandings and applications of conflict analysis within the context of Arab and Islamic cultures.
4. Determining the possibility and level of intervention in international conflicts, as well as recognizing of the opportunities and risks from intervention in a conflict.
This course commences with introduction of different definitions of conflict as a social phenomenon and the forms that conflict takes during the stages of its development, as well as defining the various concepts of conflict phenomenon such as "difference”, "disputes", "conflict" and "war violence”. In its attempt to understand conflict, the course distinguishes between various conflict processes including “conflict prevention”, “conflict management,” “conflict containment,“ “conflict mitigation,“ “conflict resolution,” “conflict termination,” and “conflict settlement and reconciliation.”
To reach for comprehensive understanding of civil and international conflicts, this course concentrates to great extent on the causes and circumstances that result in conflict. Moreover, this course uses several social theories such as “basic human needs”, “relative deprivation”, “social identity”, “frustration and aggression”, “power imbalance,” “structural violence,” which offer an explanation on how international conflicts or civil wars do start and develop. This course does not aim for students to study conflict theories as a fact but interact with these theories by reflecting, critiquing, and examining to what extent they apply in different cultural context.
One main objective of this course lies in the application of theoretical understandings of conflict to Arab and international conflicts. That is, various concepts and theories of conflict will be used to help understand conflicts in places such as Syria, Yemen, Chechen, Afghanistan, Darfur, Eritrea-Ethiopia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Colombia, Nagorno-Karabakh and others. Comprehensive understanding of international conflicts and their developments will be the fundamental basis for students to start thinking about strategies for mediation and intervention in different conflict situations.
Furthermore, the course will cover multiple themes affecting the start and evolution of international conflicts including, but not limited to, “conflict and the environment,” “conflict and gender,” “conflict and media,” “conflict and religion,” and “conflict and ethics.” Moral and ethical dimensions of conflict will receive special attention throughout the course.
Finally, the course will place a special emphasis on understanding conflict within the framework of Arabic and Islamic history. International conflicts with their development, management and resolution are not new for the Arabian culture. In fact, there are huge extents of known knowledge and lessons from the Arab and Islamic history that would enhance our understanding about the leading causes and issues of international conflicts and the effective ways to dealing with them. Perhaps, what could this course add to the study of conflict resolution in the Arab higher education system today is the identification, labeling, and classification of conflict resolution knowledge and introducing it within an academic and a degree granting framework.
CMHA611 Ethical and Legal Aspects of Humanitarianism
This course will take a close look at key ethical and legal dimensions underlying the contemporary humanitarian paradigm. The ethical part will highlight fundamental principles and values guiding the humanitarian thought and practice. This will be supported by introducing crucial debates and controversies surrounding the adherence and implementation of humanitarian principles in different contexts. Furthermore, the course aims to increase students’ awareness of the role of political forces, power relations and the international donor community in shaping the humanitarian agenda in a way that challenges the conventional humanitarian principles and values. This includes issues such as the Right to Protect (R2P), military intervention and military-civilian relations. In addition, the legal part will underline the international body of legal norms, conventions and agreements regulating states and non-state actors’ engagement in violent conflicts and wars in order to pave the way for humanitarian action and protection. Essential to the legal part is the understanding of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Refugee Law as well as the relationship and interaction among these legal instruments. In order to grasp the complexities of humanitarianism in a hostile environment, case studies of genocides and crimes against humanity such as those of Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo will be discussed and presented by students.
Throughout the course, students will develop an in-depth knowledge and a broad understanding of the concepts, theories, case studies, controversies and debates concerning the ethical and legal frameworks of humanitarianism. The course aims to stimulate critical thinking about humanitarianism and generate innovate ideas on how we can embrace humanitarianism in the Arab region. The course is intended to provide an opportunity for students to enhance their research skills in the topic, particularly through writing a number of short papers/ reports and a longer research paper of publishable quality. Students will be expected to participate actively in class and to share their own research though regular and well-structured presentations.
CMHA 612 Examining Humanitarian Policy and Practice
The Examining Humanitarian Policy and Practice course aims to provide students with an interdisciplinary introduction to the processes, events and policy debates shaping responses to war-related humanitarian crises, including emergency interventions in situations of ongoing-armed conflict, and post-conflict recovery. It enables students to make independent, critical and constructive contributions to the study and the implementation of humanitarian activities. In so doing, the course offers the opportunity to:
- Analyze and discuss the various contexts of humanitarian action (including wars, complex emergencies and natural disasters).
- Examine different approaches to humanitarian responses, debating the idea that affected communities are the first humanitarian responders.
- Become familiar with various guidelines in humanitarian response, as they have a direct impact on humanitarian operations.
- Examine the constraints under which aid agencies, donors and governments operate.
- Study examples of humanitarian responses with a particular focus on the Middle East offering insights into the complexity of local realities in afflicted regions.
- Acquire practical skills necessary to work in humanitarian response.
- Provide the student with empirical data, methods and theoretical perspectives based on contemporary research relevant to the humanitarian field.
- Gain appreciation of Islamic/Arab historical foundations for the many strands and types of contemporary humanitarianism.
CMHA 613 Conflict Transformation and Peace Processes
This course surveys major processes that aim to prevent, manage, contain, resolve, or transform conflict in an international setting. The course will discuss theoretical assumptions about social conflict such as whether conflicts are resolvable or at best they can be managed, should humanity be pursuing lasting solutions to their conflicts in the first place, and if so under what terms. Furthermore, the course covers relevant concepts, models, and frameworks that are necessary to understand how the resolution process of social conflict functions. That is, the course will discuss resolution processes such as peace processes, peace agreements, peacekeeping, negotiation, mediation, peacebuilding, peace implementation, national dialogue, transitional justice, and reconciliation. The course will allocate ample time for an applied dimension of the study of conflict transformation; role play negotiation and simulation of mediation settings as well as problem solving workshop will be practiced in class and in the form of homework. In addition, the course examines the applicability of conflict resolution processes in real world conflicts such as conflict prevention in Macedonia, peace process in Northern Ireland and Syria, mediation in Bosnia, negotiation and mediation in Northern Ireland and Palestine, military intervention in Kosovo, international intervention in Libya, peacekeeping in DRC and Bosnia, transitional justice in Iraq and Liberia, national dialogue in Yemen and Tunisia, and reconciliation in South Africa and truth commission in Morocco. Case studies are selected to reflect the various types of resolutions for protracted conflicts such as long-lasting, successfully resolved, and internationally mediated.
The ultimate goal of the course is to equip students with the theoretical and practical skills necessary to respond to social and political conflicts and their resolutions. To do so, students should benefit from what the multiple case study of international conflicts and the simulation of various conflict scenarios that will be offered in class. A comparative approach to resolution processes of world conflicts will be the core approach used to achieve this objective.
CMHA 614 Post-war Reconstruction and Development
This course is designed to explore the dilemmas associated with phases of transition from war to sustainable peace and stability, starting from early recovery and progressing through state-building, reconstruction and good governance. The aftermath of wars brings with it a set of reconstruction challenges including, but not limited to: stabilisation; holding elections and advancing political settlement; financing reconstruction; rebuilding settlements and the return of refugees and internally displaced populations; reforming services including education and health system; developing local capacity for good governance; and building new sustainable economies. Each one of these tasks requires a multi-level approach and the involvement of various internal and external parties to effectively respond to the challenges associated with it. Competing theoretical and applied perspectives will be presented on all of these key issues, asserting different priorities in post-war recovery, for example the debate around when should reconstruction start will be considered, which offers contrasting views on the relative importance of early recovery action and investment. The main takeaway of this course is an emphasis on the developmental nature of reconstruction and the importance for it to be inclusive and participatory to succeed.
CMHA615 Research Methods and Fieldwork Training
This course introduces students to vital theoretical and practical skills for conducting social research with a particular focus on the field of conflict and humanitarian studies. The course advances a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding and utilizing major methodological tools to investigate complex phenomena in situations of conflict, post-conflict and complex humanitarian emergencies. In addition, the course takes into account essential ethical issues such as political and ideological biases and power-relations involved throughout the different phases, processes and trajectories of research. Critical and creative thinking will be emphasized as well as the principles of inclusiveness, participation, and contextual analysis.
The ultimate objective of the course is to equip graduate students with theoretical understanding and action-oriented methods to conduct social research. Students will be able to understand the logic and flow of research from conceptualization to design and to implementation and subsequently to write clear and concise research proposals and reports. Students are expected to acquire sound knowledge and skills of how to apply research principles and methods in conflict situations in order enhance students’ capacities in producing their final dissertations.
CMHA616 Political Economy of Conflict
This group field study visit to a crisis-affected country is an important and unique course in the CMHA program. Led by field experienced faculty supported by an administrative staff, students gain firsthand, ground-level understandings of recovery and reconstruction in the aftermath of war and natural disaster. They develop and apply the methodological, logistical and ethical skills and sensibilities required for research work in conflict-affected settings. The field visit is one of the unique features of the MSc program, which contributes a well-rounded graduate able to connect theory with practice in a complex and politically volatile environment.
During the visit, students will have the opportunity to engage with communities and policymakers on the ground, and gain insights into culture and context that are not possible in a purely theory-based course. They will be able to witness humanitarian and reconstruction activities and see the ways in which these must be adapted in the field once challenges arise.
Following the field trip, students will return to their studies with a more enlightened and practical perspective which they can apply to the work that follows. In addition, the experience will be invaluable to students when entering the job market.