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Overview

Develop the skills you need 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.

ContactIn this three-week professional and academic training program, you’ll learn the core ideas and 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 internationally recognized faculty with years of applied, classroom, and research experience. This group includes SIT faculty, professional peacebuilders, and faculty from the international NGO Musicians without Borders, who are working in partnership with SIT.

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 15 countries participate in the program.

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

2019 Program Dates

June 3–21, 2019

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 of intercultural community, identity development, conflict transformation, reconciliation processes, restorative practice, peacebuilding and development, non-violent social action, and trauma and resilience
  • Skills in areas such as dialog, mediation, negotiation, training and facilitation for peace education, and arts-based program design
  • Awareness of how personal and social identities impact conflicts and peacebuilding practice
  • Attitudes of courage, curiosity, rehumanization, intercultural understanding, and inclusion

Electives

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 two of five mini-electives, which will be taught across 2.5-day periods. Choices include:

An Introduction to Musicians without Borders’ Principles and Methodology
Instructor: Musicians without Borders Staff: Kirindongo, Tinari, Smith

This elective offers an introduction to the five principles of Musicians without Borders’ community music training methodology: Safety, Inclusion, Equality, Creativity, and Quality. You will learn diverse approaches to community music making, including body percussion, drumming, singing, movement, and songwriting. No musical background/experience required.

Dialogue, Mediation, and Negotiation
Instructor: Bruce W. Dayton

This elective focuses on three critical skills for peacebuilding, conflict management, and organizational change: dialogue, negotiation, and mediation. You will learn the theory and practice of each of these skills and how and when they are best applied. Significant portions of the elective will be devoted to practicing each skill presented.

Personal and Cultural Trauma: Compassionate and Strength-based Approaches to Healing
Instructor: Miriam Dror and Cara Silverberg

This elective will look at some basics of human development toward an understanding of personal, cultural, and historical trauma. You will explore best practices for approaching trauma in different situations. An emphasis will be on resilience and individual and cultural peacebuilding and liberation. Your own experiences and understanding will be valued in the learning process.

Post-Conflict Reconciliation
Instructor: Joseph Sebarenzi

This elective will focus on the possibilities and challenges of reconciliation and post-conflict recovery in areas of the world that have been deeply affected by mass violence. The instructor will share his own experiences living through the Rwandan genocide and the emotional, social, and political challenges that are unavoidable when dealing with mass violence. Techniques and policies for reconciliation will be explored.

Musicians without Borders’ Training of Workshop Leaders
Instructor: Musicians without Borders Staff: Kirindongo, Tinari, Smith

This elective is open to musicians with interest or experience in leading community music workshops. 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. You will also learn Musicians without Borders’ approach of nonviolence in their work. The course offers hands-on experience in leading activities, including body percussion, drumming, singing, movement, and songwriting and their applications with diverse target groups.

Week Three

During week three, you will have a choice of taking one of three 4.5-day electives. Electives include:

Conflict and Development
Instructor: Tatsushi Arai

This elective links the field of development aid to international conflict transformation. It reviews prominent theories of resource-based conflict, the role of development aid in conflict transformation, players in the field, funding sources, project cycles, and, through case studies and critiques, different types of intervention. You will examine case studies involving your own country and related prospects for “conflict-sensitive” development.

Experiential Design and Social Action Training
Instructor: Ryland White

This elective focuses on the basic components of training design as applicable to experiential and adult learning. Design work will be grounded in the context of social action training and cultural relevancy. The components of training design, including methodologies and techniques, will be highlighted. Experienced trainers are welcome as well as those new to the field of training. The elective is appropriate for anyone interested in building their skills in training as part of peacebuilding and other related fields.

Strategies for Change Agents
Instructor: Bruce W. Dayton

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

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. He established the Ubuntu Center for Peace. Dr. Tatsushi Arai of the SIT Peace and Justice program 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

Tatsushi Arai
Tatsushi Arai

Affiliated Faculty
Professor
Peace and Justice Leadership

Dr Tatsushi (Tats) Arai is a Professor of Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation at SIT Graduate Institute and a faculty member of Conflict Transformation Across Cultures (CONTACT), SIT’s summer peacebuilding institute. He is also a United Nations Senior Mediation Adviser and a Fellow of the Center for Peacemaking Practice at George Mason University's School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) in Virginia.

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Bruce W. Dayton
Bruce W. Dayton

Faculty
Executive Director, CONTACT
Associate Professor and 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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Adjunct Faculty and Guests

Suzanne Belleci
Suzanne Belleci

Adjunct Faculty
CONTACT
International Education (low residency)
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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Miriam Dror
Miriam Dror

Guest Faculty
CONTACT

Miriam Dror has been working in the fields of education and healing for more than forty years. She is a licensed psychotherapist and a certified core energetic therapist.

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Rami Efal
Rami Efal

Adjunct Faculty
CONTACT

Israel-born Rami Efal is the executive director of Zen Peacemakers International (www.zenpeacemakers.org), a planetary network for social, citizen, and humanitarian engagement based on contemplative and interfaith practices.

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Amer Latif
Amer Latif

Adjunct Faculty
CONTACT

When he left his home in Islamabad, Pakistan, Amer Latif hoped to find some answers to his many questions about the universe in science.

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Paula Green
Paula Green

Guest Faculty
CONTACT

 

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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Laura Hassler
Laura Hassler

Guest Faculty
CONTACT

Laura Hassler was born and raised in New York. From an early age, she was active in US civil rights and peace movements.

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Sherwin Kirindongo
Sherwin Kirindongo

Guest Faculty
CONTACT

Sherwin Kirindongo is an internationally touring percussionist and workshop leader who specializes in Latin, African, and Brazilian percussion.

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Alla Korzh
Alla Korzh

Faculty
Assistant Professor
International Education (low residency)

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

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Joseph Sebarenzi
Joseph Sebarenzi

Guest Faculty
CONTACT

Joseph Sebarenzi earned a doctorate in international human rights law from the National University of Ireland, a master’s degree in international and intercultural management from SIT Graduate Institute, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He holds an honorary doctorate in law from Marlboro College (Vermont, US).

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Emma Smith
Emma Smith

Guest Faculty
CONTACT

Emma Smith studied double bass at the Royal College of Music where she was trained in classical double bass technique and repertoire.

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Kelly Teamey
Kelly Teamey

Adjunct Faculty
CONTACT
International Education (low residency)

Kelly Teamey is a filmmaker, writer, educator, and mother. She is an adjunct instructor in education and sustainable development at SIT and co-founder of the nonprofit organization Enlivened Learning. 

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Christa Tinari
Christa Tinari

Guest Faculty
CONTACT

Christa Tinari is a speaker, author, trainer, and peace and justice activist. As founder of PeacePraxis, she teaches skills such as empathy, diversity appreciation, nonviolent communication, mindfulness, and reconciliation to people from all walks of life.

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Ryland White
Ryland White

Affiliated Faculty
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

A limited number of competitive scholarships are available to participants of the CONTACT program. These scholarships cover only tuition expenses, 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.

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.

    Tuition Room Meals Fees
    Certificate with
Graduate Credit
Certificate Only Single Double    
CONTACT 1 week   $650.00 $189.00 $147.00 $210.00 $50.00*
  2 weeks   $1,300.00 $378.00 $294.00 $420.00  
  3 weeks $2,895.00 $1,950.00 $567.00 $441.00 $630.00  

* Transportation and Administrative Fee

Payment Methods

Tuition and room and board 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.