International Conflict Resolution
Every sector of international and public affairs depends, at its core, on the capacity to resolve conflict. The Specialization in International Conflict Resolution (ICR) attracts graduate students with unusually diverse backgrounds and interests. It combines wide-ranging opportunities for practical experience with interdisciplinary learning from leading scholar-practitioners. Students choose from a rich array of academic electives, training programs, simulations, and field-based research programs. Through the Specialization, they acquire skills, tools, and methods—such as preventive diplomacy, fact-finding, mediation, good offices, and peacebuilding—that will be of immense utility on whichever career path they follow. Graduates of the program are making a difference in national ministries, international agencies, non-profit institutions and NGOs, think tanks, universities, foundations, media and journalism, and the private sector.
These are exciting and demanding times for conflict resolution. Its transformative potential is being tested by sharpening geopolitical rivalries, an increasingly multipolar system, the rise of violent extremism, and the displacement of entire populations. The Specialization is reexamining long-held assumptions about the nature of conflict and the means to resolve it short of overwhelming force. Distinctions between curbing conflict and preventing mass atrocities, as well as between internal and inter-state conflict, need to be reconsidered in the face of the challenges presented by non-state armed groups with transnational and highly sectarian agendas. Institutions, norms, mechanisms, and doctrines need to be reassessed and repositioned for a dynamic and unstable era.
To meet these tests, the next generation of conflict resolution specialists will be able to draw on Columbia’s vast intellectual resources and SIPA’s unparalleled ranks of teachers and mentors. The Specialization is structured to reflect SIPA’s commitment to interdisciplinary inquiry, hands-on experience, and fresh thinking in the academy, at headquarters, and in the field.