Peace and Conflict Studies; The Foundation Course

3 credits / 9 weeks weeks
4 Sep 2023 - 5 Nov 2023

Professor Adriana Salcedo
Professor Amr Abdalla

The UPEACE Foundation Course provides a critical and concise introduction to the broad field of “Peace Studies” for students in ALL UPEACE programmes. It initially addresses key conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of the origins and development of peace studies as an interdisciplinary area within the fields of international relations and political economy. Based on a critical analysis of policies, strategies, institutions, organizations and movements, the course then examines a range of core issues, dimensions, perspectives and paradigms for understanding the root causes of conflicts and violence and constructive strategies to address them and build peace in contemporary global, international, regional, national and local contexts. The core concepts include militarization, disarmament and arms control; human rights violations and promotion; gender inequalities, gender-based violence and gender mainstreaming; structural violence, human security, development and globalization; environmental sustainability; corporate social responsibility; international law in conflict and peacebuilding; cultural and religious identities; media’s role in conflict and peacebuilding; strategies of nonviolence; and peace education. This Foundations course will be essential in catalyzing the awareness, understanding and motivation of UPEACE students in diverse academic programmes to relate, ground and intersect their specific areas of academic and practitioner interest with core theoretical, conceptual and analytical ideas in peace studies.

Adriana Salcedo



Head and Assistant Professor, Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, Academic Coordinator of M.A. in International Peace Studies and M.A. in International Peace Studies with specialization in Media, Peace and Conflict Studies programmes

Dr. Adriana Salcedo currently serves as Head of the Peace and Conflict Studies Department at the University for Peace in Costa Rica and Academic Coordinator of the Masters in International Peace Studies (IPS) and International Peace Studies with specialization in Media, Peace and Conflict Studies (IPS-MPCS) programmes. She is a scholar-practitioner in the field of conflict transformation and peacebuilding with a focus on conflict, gender, identity and migration. She holds a Doctorate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from The Jimmy and Rosslyn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, in Virginia, United States.  For this degree, she conducted extensive research on forced migration, conflict and the social integration of refugees in the Colombian-Ecuadorian borderlands and in inner cities in Ecuador. She is deeply committed to achieving positive social change through non-violent means and to strengthening social actors including grass-roots organizations, indigenous communities and minority groups through her research and practice. Adriana has taught courses at The Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, George Mason University in Washington D.C., at Boston University and at the Simón Bolívar Andean University in Quito, Ecuador in conflict analysis, collaborative methodologies for building peace, mediation, identity conflicts, gender and migration.   

As a practitioner, Adriana has provided training for the Northern Virginia Mediation Center (as a Certified Instructor/Mediator) and for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Rediálogo and Oportunidades Acción Ciudadana (Venezuela) as well as for the Canadian Embassy in the Dominican Republic and the Observatory of Migration in the Caribbean (OBMICA). With more than fifteen years of experience in analyzing and transforming social conflicts, her professional practice has covered the Amazon basin, the Galapagos Islands and the Andean region (Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia), the United States, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Costa Rica. She has conducted research and collaborated with various public, grassroots and civil society organizations across the Americas and the Caribbean.





Directora y Profesora Asistente, Departamento de Estudios de Paz y Conflicto, Coordinadora Académica de los programas de Maestría en Estudios Internacionales de Paz y la Maestría en Estudios Internacionales de Paz con especialización en Estudios de Medios, Paz y Conflicto

La Dra. Adriana Salcedo actualmente se desempeña como Directora y Profesora Asistente del Departamento de Estudios de Paz y Conflicto de la Universidad para la Paz en Costa Rica. Además, es Coordinadora Académica de los programas de Maestría en Estudios Internacionales de Paz y la Maestría en Estudios Internacionales de Paz con especialización en Estudios de Medios, Paz y Conflicto, que ofrece este Departamento. 

La Dra. Adriana Salcedo es una profesional que combina la teoría y práctica en el campo de la transformación de conflictos y la construcción de la paz con un enfoque en conflictos, género, identidades y migración. Obtuvo su Doctorado en Análisis y Resolución de Conflictos de la Escuela de Análisis y Resolución de Conflictos de Jimmy and Rosslyn Carter de la Universidad George Mason, en Virginia, Estados Unidos. Para esto, realizó una extensa investigación sobre la migración forzada, los conflictos y la integración social de refugiados/as en las tierras fronterizas colombo-ecuatorianas y en las ciudades del interior de Ecuador. Está profundamente comprometida a lograr un cambio social positivo a través de medios no violentos y a fortalecer a los actores sociales a través de su investigación y práctica (principalmente organizaciones de base, las comunidades indígenas y los grupos minoritarios).

Adriana ha impartido cursos en la Escuela Carter para la Paz y la Resolución de Conflictos en la Universidad George Mason en Washington D.C, en la Universidad de Boston y en la Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar en Quito, Ecuador sobre análisis de conflictos, metodologías colaborativas para construcción de la paz, mediación, género y migración. Fue profesora visitante en el Departamento de Estudios de Paz y Conflicto de la Universidad para la Paz (UPAZ) en Costa Rica durante tres años consecutivos (2017-2019) antes de unirse a la UPAZ como profesora residente.

En su práctica profesional, Adriana ha brindado capacitación para el Centro de Mediación del Norte de Virginia (como Instructora / Mediadora Certificada) y para el Fondo de las Naciones Unidas para la Infancia (UNICEF), Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD), Rediálogo y Oportunidades Acción Ciudadana (Venezuela), así como para la Embajada de Canadá en la República Dominicana y el Centro para la Observación Migratoria y el Desarrollo Social del Caribe (OBMICA). Con más de quince años de experiencia en el análisis y transformación de conflictos sociales, su práctica profesional ha cubierto la cuenca del Amazonas, las Islas Galápagos y la región andina (Ecuador, Colombia y Bolivia), los Estados Unidos, la República Dominicana y Haití. Ha realizado varias investigaciones y colaborado con varias instituciones públicas, privadas y de la sociedad civil en la región de las Américas y del Caribe.

Amr Abdalla

Professor Emeritus, University for Peace 

Dr. Abdalla is a Professor Emeritus at the University for Peace (UPEACE), and the Scholar in Residence at the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College, Pennsylvania.  He is also the Senior Advisor on Conflict Resolution at the Washington-based organization KARAMAH (Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights).  

From 2014 to 2017, he was the Senior Advisor on Policy Analysis and Research at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) of Addis Ababa University.  In 2013-2014, he was Vice President of SALAM Institute for Peace and Justice in Washington, DC.  From 2004-2013 he was Professor, Dean and Vice Rector at UPEACE.  Prior to that, he was a Senior Fellow with the Peace Operations Policy Program, School of Public Policy, at George Mason University, Virginia.   He was also a Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences in Leesburg, Virginia.

Both his academic and professional careers are multi-disciplinary.  He obtained a law degree in Egypt in 1977, where he practiced law as a prosecuting attorney from 1978 to 1986.  From 1981-1986, he was a member of the public prosecutor team investigating the case of the assassination of President Sadat and numerous other terrorism cases. He then emigrated to the US, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University.  He has been teaching graduate classes in conflict analysis and resolution and has conducted training, research, and evaluation of conflict resolution and peacebuilding programs in numerous countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas.  

He has been an active figure in promoting inter-faith dialogue and effective cross-cultural messages through workshops and community presentations in the United States and beyond.  He pioneered the development of the first conflict resolution teaching and training manual for Muslim communities titled (“…Say Peace”).  

He also founded Project LIGHT (Learning Islamic Guidance for Human Tolerance), a community peer-based anti-discrimination project funded by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ).  In 2011, he established with Egyptian UPEACE graduates a program for community prevention of sectarian violence in Egypt (Ahl el Hetta).  In 2018 he led the publication of the first Arabic Glossary of Terms in Peace and Conflict Studies in cooperation with UNDP-Iraq and the Iraqi Amal Association.


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