PP411L      Half Unit
Developments in International Conflict Resolution and Transformation

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Erik Berglof

Visiting Professor in Practice, Mark Muller-Stuart


This course is available on the Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course explores the international community’s management and resolution of conflict in countries experiencing violent political transition. It provides an historical overview of how the international system has handled political transition from the post-war period into the 21st conflict environment. Students will learn how the current international system seeks to prevent, manage, and resolve conflict on the geopolitical, regional, and state level through a variety of tools including multilateral political forums and missions, mediation, conflict analysis, normative instruments, and the careful process design of peace processes. It will look at how the UN and the international community has handled the issue of conflict and political and economic transformation through the prism of four critical case studies involving Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

During the course students will come to understand how economic reform, natural resource allocation, climate change, gender, migration, the responsibility to protect and prosecute and new forms of information and communication can all affect the 21st conflict environment in which the UN, international community and conflict parties operate.  Course essays will focus on critical areas of research of practical use to mediators and policymakers. The module will seek to identify the most effective forms of mediation and conflict resolution and identify best practice and emerging trends. Leading practitioners and experts in the field will provide you with insights based on first-hand experience of these processes and transitions and critical thinking on the latest theoretical developments, research and best policy practices.

In summary, the course aims to provide a multi-disciplinary perspective on the study of conflict resolution processes, including in relation to economic and political transition, which will be a valuable learning experience for those who wish to develop careers in the policy world in governments and public service, international organisations, security agencies, the media, NGOs or finance, as well as providing an excellent foundation if you wish to progress to a PhD programme.

The goal is less to teach you how to think about conflict normatively, though this is an element in parts of the course, but more how to develop your skills to research, analyse and help develop tools to manage, resolve and ultimately transform conflict. The programme also offers an array of extracurricular activities each academic year, including guest speakers, public lectures, colloquia/ workshops, and film screenings.



This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual classes and flipped-lectures delivered as short online videos. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Lent Term.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay and 1 presentation in the LT.

Students will submit a 1500 word formative essay in week 4. Feedback on this work will be used to inform the writing of the summative assignments.

Students will be required to present cases and key readings on rotation in the seminars throughout the term. These presentations are not summatively assessed, but will provide useful formative feedback on students’ learning.

Indicative reading


A detailed reading guide will be given out at the first seminar. Students will be expected to engage in independent study, employing the reading lists provided.


Anderlini, S. and Holme, M.(2019). Invisible Women: Gendered Dimensions of Return, Rehabilitation and Reintegration from Violence Extremism. New York: UNDP. Available at: www.icanpeacework.org

Boege, V. (2011). Potential and Limits of Traditional Approaches in Peacebuilding. Berghof handbook II: Advancing conflict transformation, 431-457.

Buchanan, S. (2014) Transforming Conflict Through Social and Economic Development. Manchester and New York, Manchester University Press.

de Waal, A (2017) Inclusion in Peacemaking: From Moral Claim to Political Fact. In: Aal, P, Crocker, CA (eds) The Fabric of Peace in Africa: Looking beyond the State. Waterloo, ON, Canada: Centre for International Governance Innovation, 165–186.

Jeong, H. W. (Ed.). (2019). Conflict Intervention and Transformation: Theory and Practice. Rowman & Littlefield International.

Ramsbotham, O (2010) Transformation of Violent Conflict: Radical Disagreement, Dialogue, and Survival. Oxford,Routledge.

United Nations and World Bank. (2018). Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict. Washington D.C.: World Bank. https:// www.pathwaysforpeace.org.

Zehr, H. (2009) The Intersection of Restorative Justice with Trauma Healing, Conflict Transformation, and Peacebuilding. Journal For Peace and Justice Studies (1 / 2, 2009)


Essay (50%, 2000 words) in the LT Week 7.
Essay (50%, 2000 words) in the LT Week 10.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: School of Public Policy

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills