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Overview

Develop the skills to build peace in your community.

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CONTACT alumnus Dr. Jean Bosco Niyonzima and CONTACT professor Tatsishi Arai talk about community-based healing at the Ubuntu Center for Peace, which Niyonzima co-founded.

Contact

The CONTACT program is a two-week professional and academic training program where you’ll learn about core ideas and effective practices of conflict transformation. The program takes place on SIT Graduate Institute’s campus in Brattleboro, Vermont, and is led by a diverse group of acclaimed faculty with deep applied, classroom, and research experience in peacebuilding and conflict management.  

The program’s philosophy is that conflict transformation training is most effective when it combines skills-based academic instruction with personal interaction between peacebuilders across ethnic, national, religious, and cultural divides. You and your fellow CONTACT participants will learn from one another and your instructors in an intensive format following an experiential learning model. Typically, peacebuilders from at least a dozen countries participate in the program.

Among the topics explored and skills gained are conflict analysis, social identity and conflict, peacebuilding interventions, post-conflict reconciliation, intercultural communications, gender and peacebuilding, mediation, negotiation, dialogue, policy advocacy, non-violent social action, and monitoring and evaluation.

2020 Program Dates

May 31, 2020 (arrival day) June 13, 2020 (departure day)

Components

CONTACT group

The Summer Peacebuilding Program includes the following components:

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  • Professional trainings and workshops to develop knowledge, skills, and awareness around key concepts in peacebuilding and community development
  • Cultural events to share CONTACT’s diverse participant experiences with the community

Learning Goals

  • Knowledge of foundational theories related to peace and violence, intercultural exchange, identity formation, conflict transformation, reconciliation processes, restorative practice, and non-violent social action.
  • Skills in areas such as dialog, mediation, negotiation, training and facilitation for peace education, and monitoring and evaluation.
  • Awareness of how personal and social identities impact conflicts and peacebuilding practice
  • Attitudes of courage, curiosity, rehumanization, intercultural understanding, and inclusion

Schedule

Week One

Week One

During the first week of CONTACT, you will explore, with faculty, a range of themes and ideas in conflict transformation and peacebuilding, including:

  • conflict analysis and conflict transformation
  • peacebuilding through the arts
  • gender and peacebuilding
  • global trends in violence and conflict
  • nonviolent communication
  • intercultural communication
  • identity and conflict
  • activism and social movements
  • stereotyping, dehumanization, and discrimination
  • peace education

All content is presented using experiential education methodologies by which you will engage in direct experience and reflection through small group discussions, innovative exercises, and peer-to-peer sharing.

Week Two

During the second week of CONTACT, you will have a choice of participating in one of three electives. 2020 electives will be announced in March of 2020. Previous choices have included:

Strategies for Change Agents

This hands-on elective introduces participants to a method for diagnosing the causes of conflicts of all types and a framework for designing effective change projects to address them. Each student will work on a problem / challenge that they are concerned with and present and defend a change initiative, which they design with the help of the instructor.

Experiential Design and Social Action Training

This elective focuses on the basic components of training design using experiential and adult learning modalities. Methodologies and techniques for training in the context of conflict and violence is highlighted.

Negotiation, Mediation, and Dialoged

This elective focuses of three core skills required for effective leadership in conflict situations: mediation, negotiation, and dialogue. Participants learn about principles of interest-based problem-solving, workshop design and facilitation, and applied negotiation practice. Scenarios and simulations are used in order to give participants a chance to practice their skills around simulated conflict situations.

Musicians without Borders Training of Workshop Leaders

This elective is open to musicians with interest or experience in leading community music workshops to advance intercultural understanding and peace The course covers pedagogical, didactic, and musical skills related to the five principles of Musicians without Borders’ community music training methodology: safety, inclusion, equality, creativity, and quality. The course offers hands-on experience in leading activities, including body percussion, drumming, singing, movement, and songwriting, as well as the opportunity to facilitate a group workshop at the end of the week.

For-Credit Option

You may, for an additional cost, take the CONTACT program for credit. If you choose this option, you will complete additional work such as a journal or research paper.

Alumni

Participants of this program return to their communities with new skills to allow them to conduct peacebuilding work.

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"After attending CONTACT, I became more moderate and enlightened in my thoughts and no longer think the way I had about certain issues. CONTACT gave me skills to promote peace and nonviolence, which I couldn't previously do despite having a deep desire to do so."

Aamir Gamaryani, Pakistan, CONTACT participant

 

Watch a video from CONTACT and SIT graduate institute alumnus Dr. Jean Bosco Niyonzima of Rwanda, who established the Ubuntu Center for Peace. CONTACTprofessor Dr. Tatsushi Arai serves as advisor and vice president of the organization.

Faculty

SIT’s faculty are practitioners in their fields. Our diverse, multicultural faculty have worked across the world as leaders, trainers, and developers in the business, nonprofit, education, and public sectors.

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Core Faculty

Bruce W. Dayton
Bruce W. Dayton

Executive Director, CONTACT
Chair, Diplomacy and International Relations
Chair, Peace and Justice Leadership

Bruce W. Dayton (PhD, Syracuse University, 1999) has been active in peacebuilding and conflict transformation work for over twenty years as a practitioner, a researcher, and an educator. His work focuses on the intersection of social identity and intractable conflicts and the role that intermediaries can play in transforming them.

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Tatsushi Arai
Tatsushi Arai

Professor
CONTACT

Dr Tatsushi Arai is a peace researcher and conflict resolution practitioner with more than 20 years of international experience.

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Adjunct Faculty and Guests

Alla Korzh
Alla Korzh

Assistant Professor

Dr. Alla Korzh is an educator, researcher, and practitioner in the field of comparative and international education with a regional focus on Eastern Europe and education development. She holds a doctorate in international educational development from Teachers College, Columbia University.

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Suzanne Belleci
Suzanne Belleci

Peace and Justice Leadership

Suzanne Belleci has been teaching conflict transformation, social justice, cross-cultural communication, and management courses at SIT for 17 years. She served as SIT’s first ombudsperson, bringing groups together, facilitating dialog circles for conflict resolution, and mediating one-on-one disputes. 

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Paula Green

Professor Emerita

 

Dr. Paula Green has 40 years’ experience as a psychologist, peace educator, consultant, and mentor in intergroup relations and conflict resolution.

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John Ungerleider
John Ungerleider

Professor
Peace and Justice Leadership

John has been teaching about conflict transformation at SIT for 25 years. He started the Youth Peacebuilding and Leadership Programs at SIT, which over the years have brought together future leaders from communities — in locations such as Cyprus, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, Iraq, Rwanda, Pakistan, India, Liberia, and Burma — facing conflict to dialogue about issues and conflicts they have inherited.

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Ryland White
Ryland White

Professor
Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

Ryland White, professor, has been a member of SIT Graduate Institute faculty since 1993. She teaches courses in training design for experiential learning, training for social action, dismantling disability, and ethics and intercultural training design.

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Admissions

We strive to create a diverse and experienced student body to enhance the learning experience both inside and outside the classroom. To be considered for admission to this program, you must meet the following criteria:

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Selection Criteria and Application Process

The CONTACT Summer Peacebuilding Program is designed for working professionals who want to further their skills and knowledge in peacebuilding. Participants hail from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences and over the years have represented more than 60 different countries. Alumni of the CONTACT summer program are working globally 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 ability to work well with others. A variety of methods may be used to assess these qualities, including an essay, your resume, and in some cases a personal interview.

Apply online to the CONTACT Summer Peacebuilding 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.
     
  • 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, we 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

There are no scholarships offered for the CONTACT Program.

Tuition and Fees

See a breakdown of the costs for this program.

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The expenses below do not include travel to the Vermont campus and personal expenses.

Direct Costs

Tuition and Fees

Full 2 Week Workshop (Not for Credit): $2,950 (includes room and board)

Full 2 Week Graduate Credit-Bearing Program: $3410 (includes Room and Board)

  • Tuition $2,100 / $2,560
  • Not for Credit $2,100
  • For Graduate Credit $2,560
  • Room and Board $850

International Student Visa Fees

The SEVIS I-901 fee $320: ($220 SEVIS fee and $100 shipping fee) This fee is required by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for all international students applying for a student visa. You will be required to pay this $320 fee for each summer residency period.

Payment Methods

The entire program fee must be paid in full prior to the start of the program. SIT accepts Visa and MasterCard, personal or bank check, cash, or wire transfers.

Please email admissions@sit.edu for more details regarding the payment process.