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Overview

Develop the skills you need to build peace in your community.

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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.

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.

2018 Program Dates

June 4–22, 2018

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.

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

Activities

  • Presentations by renowned faculty and trainers
  • Teamwork and community-building activities
  • Film viewings and discussions
  • Book presentation and signing
  • Local and regional cultural events
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Site visits
  • Group sharing related to personal and communal experiences of conflict
  • Music and movement workshops and performances
  • Preparing and sharing meals and cultural food traditions
Courses:

Peacebuilding I: Conflict Transformation and Global Relations
This two-week core course serves as a learning laboratory for multicultural community building, self-reflection, and the deepening of relationships with others across differences of experience, culture, and history. Course content focuses on the complex and interrelated causes and dimensions of protracted violent conflict, the recurrent cycles of conflicts, and the steps that lead to healing and reconciliation. This course introduces micro-skills such as the fundamentals of mediation, negotiation, facilitation, and training, as well as strategies for change in places of communal conflict.

Peacebuilding II: Professional Practices in Peacebuilding
This course provides opportunities for you to build on the awareness and skills developed in Peacebuilding I: Conflict Transformation and Global Relations through more intense training in a particular skill-set. You will choose one elective. Recently offered sections include:

  • Peacebuilding and Development
    Peacebuilding and Development explores the effects of war economies, trade, and globalization on peacebuilding, and provides you with an opportunity to reflect on and share practical approaches to development and peacebuilding. It examines the interests and needs of various actors in development as well as the complex web of relationships that need to be developed and sustained if the century ahead is ultimately going to be the start of a Millennium of Peace. 
  • Strategies for Change Agents
    This course considers the multiple options available to individuals doing change work in conflict settings. Interactive discussions will focus on the limits and possibilities of specific change strategies, the circumstances that may make one pathway to achieving change more viable than others, and the mechanics of designing and launching a change initiative. You will select one specific conflict to work on throughout the elective. With that conflict in mind, you will design a conflict transformation and change project based on the following sequence of steps: analysis, theory of change, project design, project implementation, and project monitoring and evaluation.

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.

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

Professor
Peace and Justice Leadership

Dr. Tatsushi (Tats) Arai is a faculty member of Conflict Transformation Across Cultures (CONTACT), SIT’s summer peacebuilding institute. He is a United Nations senior mediation adviser (part-time appointment from January 2018 to January 2019) 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

Executive Director, CONTACT
Associate Professor
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
Peace and Justice Leadership
CONTACT

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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Tosca Bruno-van Vi Vijfeijken
Tosca Bruno-van Vi Vijfeijken
Faculty

Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken has worked on international development and civil society issues for over 25 years, both in practice as well as in academia. She was the co-director of the Transnational NGO Initiative (TNGO Initiative) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University since 2003, and in 2015 became its director. 

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Otto de Jong
Otto de Jong

Guest Faculty
CONTACT

Otto de Jong is a choir and orchestra conductor who specializes in working with large groups of children. Since 1999, he has been working for Musicians without Borders, training others to work with children.

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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

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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Michael Shank
Michael Shank
Faculty

Michael Shank is head of communications for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) in New York City, where he handles communications for Professor Jeffrey Sachs and SDSN’s work on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Michael’s recent positions include director of media strategy at Climate Nexus, associate director for legislative affairs at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, and US Congressman Michael Honda’s senior policy advisor and communications director. 

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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

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
    Certificate with
Graduate Credit
Certificate Only Single Double  
CONTACT 1 week   $650.00 $189.00 $147.00 $210.00
  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

 

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.