The CONTACT Peacebuilding Training and Education in South Asia program is a two-week professional training in conflict transformation held once a year in Kathmandu, Nepal. (2018 dates are January 22–February 2.)  The program serves the needs of working professionals in countries in South Asia as well as in Myanmar who want to further their skills and knowledge in peacebuilding and community development.

The program explores ways to confront the past, intervene in the present, and create a shared vision for a secure and sustainable future for the South Asia region. Through a combination of South Asia–focused readings, discussions, and experiential activities with faculty, participants develop a full range of peacebuilding skills and techniques.

Participants benefit from a unique opportunity to be in a diverse, multicultural setting and share experiences and knowledge with their fellow peacebuilders by building collaborative cross-border relationships that will contribute to conflict transformation, sustainable peace, and increased development in the region.

CONTACT South Asia Dates

  • January 22–February 2, 2018

Other CONTACT Programs

Other SIT Conflict Transformation Programs

The CONTACT South Asia program focuses on the history of peace and conflict in South Asia with special attention to issues of national, religious, ethnic, gender, cultural, and class divisions. The South Asian dynamics of peace and conflict will be placed in an international context, with discussions on such issues as the Global Peace Index, nonviolent movements for change, and case studies of successful conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding interventions in regions of deep-rooted conflict.

Topics include:

  • Conflict analysis
  • Conflict management skills and techniques
  • Conflict-sensitive development
  • Inter-group dialogue
  • Transitional justice and reconciliation
  • Negotiation and mediation

Additional elective courses will build on the knowledge and skills gained in the core course to develop specific, in-depth skills in the fields of peacebuilding, development, and mediation.

Past elective courses have included:

  • Peacebuilding and Development
    This workshop examines the deeper, less visible roots of social problems and explores practical ways to activate the transformative potential of communities grappling with protracted conflict and socioeconomic inequity. Drawing on extensive international experience as a practitioner of peacebuilding and development, the instructor introduces a range of inspiring examples from different parts of the world. The workshop is highly participatory and features challenging case studies and group exercises designed to open new horizons of thinking and social interaction.
     
  • Peacebuilding, Media, and Advocacy
    The key focus of this elective is on using media as an ally for peacebuilding. The course enhances participants’ knowledge and skills in how to best utilize various traditional and social media tools in issue advocacy. The course also explores which strategies might result in greater visibility and larger impact for participants’ organizations, values, or causes. Case studies, lessons learned from media work in Nepal and suitable for South Asia, and best practices in advocacy and media are showcased to expand participants’ horizons. The class is interactive, with group discussions, videos, and participatory exercises. In the course, participants develop specific strategic plans for utilizing increased media in their organizations and take the first steps in implementing those plans.
     
  • Memory, History, and Reconciliation: Acknowledging the Divided Past, Creating the Shared Future
    This elective explores how multiple ways of remembering past violent conflict and loss can help establish trust and rebuild communities separated by war and mistrust. The course draws from participants’ personal experiences to address the multiple perspectives and differing recollections of past violence that exist within their countries, whether these are lived experiences or ancestral memories.
     
  • Peace Mediation
    Many of us have different skills in conflict analysis, problem-solving, negotiation, and intercommunity mediation. At the same time, we often struggle with bringing all of these skills together to ensure that our role in conflict management brings added value to the process and the community. For conflict management to be successful, it is important to adopt a holistic and systemic approach and to apply a range of individual tools while at the same time striving for a better understanding of one’s own conflict behavior and skills. This implies recognizing the human element in conflict transformation, assuming responsibility for organizing chaos, and supporting conflict parties in making difficult decisions while seeing the value in creative solutions. Moreover, conflict management requires the ability to increase the effectiveness of interaction in intercommunity contexts (i.e., through project implementation or meditative processes) as well as a theoretical and practical understanding for conflict analysis, problem-solving negotiations, and intercommunity mediation, specifically for working in intra-state conflict areas.

The skills and tools gained through these and other courses can help peacebuilders in preventing inter-communal conflicts from escalating into problems that threaten regional, national, and even global security. Citizen activists, NGO leaders, academics, government employees, social service providers, and others will increase their knowledge and approaches to peacebuilding and gain a greater understanding of and empathy for their counterparts throughout South Asia.

Selection Criteria and Application Process

The CONTACT Peacebuilding Training and Education in South Asia program is designed for professionals who live and work in South Asia who want to further their skills and knowledge in peacebuilding. Participants hail from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. Alumni of the CONTACT South Asia program are working regionally with a variety of local and international NGOs; local, state, and national governments; community and youth organizations; religious and cultural institutions; and media organizations.

Criteria for acceptance into the program include professional experience, academic ability, career goals, cross-cultural experiences, and the ability to work well with others. A variety of methods may be used to assess these qualities, including an essay, review of past academic performance, references, and in some cases a personal interview.

Apply online to the CONTACT South Asia program. Please submit the following materials via your online application.

  • Your résumé or curriculum vitae in English
  • An essay of approximately 500–750 words responding to the prompt below.

Everyone has their own philosophy about conflicts, that is, why they emerge, how to manage them, and what roles they play in social relationships, in social settings, and in politics. Write a brief overview of your own conflict philosophy. In addition to describing your philosophy, include information about the important people or events that have shaped your view and how/whether it has changed over the years.

  • Three (3) letters of reference in English. (The reference writers should complete your reference online after you’ve clicked the “Send Request” button in your online application.) If possible, please request a reference letter from your current or most recent supervisor who knows your work.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English and who did not attend an undergraduate institution at which the language of instruction was English must provide documentation that will demonstrate their English language acquisition (courses attended, tests given, etc). If the admission reviewers consider that there is further evidence needed, they will contact you for a phone or a Skype interview. If you have taken and passed the TOEFL or IELTS exams, please upload copies of your test scores to your online application.

Scholarships

A limited number of competitive scholarships are available to participants of the CONTACT Peacebuilding Training and Education in South Asia program. These scholarships cover only tuition expenses, up to $850, and do not cover room, board, transportation, visa fees, or other personal expenses. Participants are encouraged to seek out funding sources within their own communities or organizations to cover the cost of participation.

Calendar and Timeline

Application deadline
The application deadline has been extended. Please submit your applications as soon as possible.

Arrival and Registration
Program dates: January 22–February 2, 2018
Arrival is January 21. Classes begin with an evening session on January 22. Classes end the evening of February 2, and departure is February 4.
Program site: Park Village Hotel, Kathmandu, Nepal

The expenses below do not include travel to the program site in Kathmandu, Nepal, or personal expenses.

Total program cost is $1,600.

This includes the following:

  • Tuition
  • Course materials
  • Accommodation (double room*) for the duration of the program** 
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the hotel
  • Two tea breaks daily
  • Transportation to and from the airport on arrival and departure days
  • Day field trip in Kathmandu

*If you need / would like a single room, please let us know. We will be happy to reserve it for you for an additional fee.

**Should you arrive earlier or leave later, please be prepared to cover accommodations on your own.

Payment Methods

In order to secure a place in the CONTACT South Asia program, you must ensure that World Learning has received full payment by November 25. World Learning accepts Visa and MasterCard, personal or bank check, cash, or wire transfers.

Please email Jim Parker (james.parker@sit.edu), Mark Clark (mark.clark@sit.edu), and Chris Perkins (chris.perkins@sit.edu) for more details regarding the payment process.