Peace Studies in Western Europe and North America has seen rapid growth in the last half of the twentieth century (Stephenson, 1989). In this region of the world, often referred to as Athe West, peace studies has had a dynamic history on college campuses, ebbing and flowing with the rise and fall of interstate rivalries since the Napoleonic Wars (Stomfay-Stitz, 1993; Thelin, 1994). While there is some controversy about when peace studies began in the United States, it is believed to have commenced in the wake of the American Civil War in the late 1860s. At that time there were no formal academic programs, but rather, college clubs opposing war. In a similar vein, Bengt Thelin in his article, AEarly Tendencies of Peace Education in Sweden, traces the origins of peace studies to the end of the 19th century. What does seem clear is that following periods of intense wars (hot and cold), students have pushed colleges and universities on both sides of the Atlantic to pay attention to the problems caused by war. These activities have grown out of peace movement efforts to bring to the consciousness, of politicians and the general public, nonviolent alternatives that would promote the cessation of war. Fifty years after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the existence of 200 peace studies programs on college campuses in North America and Western Europe provides powerful testimony for the desire of human beings to avoid Armageddon by studying peaceful ways to resolve conflicts.
Academic programs that teach about and research peace are gaining a foothold on college campuses. In the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century, most of the peace-related activities on campuses in the United States revolved around student groups, visiting speakers, and demonstrations (Fink, 1980). In 1948 at Manchester College in North Manchester, Indiana, the first academic program in peace studies began at a small liberal arts college sponsored by the Brethren Church. Peace research institutes were established in Europe in the 1960s, although many of these do not offer formal peace studies courses. The Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) began in 1959. As a response to the Vietnam War, Manhattan College, a private Catholic college in New York City, began its peace studies program in 1968, while Colgate University in upper New York state started a program in 1969. In England the first school of peace studies was founded at Bradford University in 1973. In the 1970s quite a few campuses offered courses relating to the war in Vietnam. On these campuses faculty organized courses around academic programs, mostly minors, that enabled students in a concentrated way to study the problems of war and peaceful resolution of conflicts. Many of the faculty who created these programs were responding to student demands to create courses of study that had relevance to their lives. In these early days of peace studies, some of the course work focused on approaches to a new world order (Falk & Mendlovitz, 1982).
In the 1980s peace studies programs saw huge growth on college campuses as a result of a growing alarm about the production and threatened use of nuclear weapons. Concern about the fate of the planet created a host of new courses and programs aimed towards promoting global survival (Kohn & Badash, 1989). At the same time peace research became an important field of academic inquiry (Thomas & Young, 1989: 45). A survey conducted in England early in the 1980s identified key components of peace studies during this period of concern about nuclear arms build-up (Rathenow & Smoker, 1983). The topics included in peace studies programs were ranked in the following order: violence and war, the nuclear arms race, international understanding, international conflict, aggressive tendencies in human nature, disarmament, discrimination against minorities, group conflicts, nonviolent action, inequality, defense policy, group dynamics, environmental damage, cultural integration, the distribution of social commodities, and structural violence. At that same time on the other side of the Atlantic, the I.N. Thut World Education Center, at the University of Connecticut, printed an annotated bibliography of conflict resolution and peace studies based on the following typology of conflicts: interpersonal, intrapersonal, intergroup, and international (1981). By the middle of the 1980s, peace studies courses in Western Europe and North America focused mostly on international conflict and the threat of nuclear destruction (Wien, 1984).
With the end of the Cold War the emphasis of peace studies courses on college campuses shifted somewhat from international politics to the domestic scene, covering issues of structural, domestic, and civil violence (Harris, 1993). In 1991 the United States Institute of Peace published Approaches to Peace: An Intellectual Map (Thompson, Jensen, Smith, & Schraub) which listed the following headings for the study of peace: traditional approaches (collective security and deterrence); international law approaches (international law, interstate organizations, third-party dispute settlement); new approaches (transnationalism, behavioral approaches, conflict resolution); and political systems approaches (internal systems and systemic theories/world systems). This diversity is reflected in Peace and World Security Studies (Klare, 1994) which listed the following headings for peace studies courses: war, conflict, and peace in the post-Cold War era; the new nuclear agenda; north-south relations; conflict resolution; international law; psychology and peace; the economics of peace and security; development, debt, and global poverty; the environment, population growth, and resource scarcity; human rights; race, ethnicity, and conflict; feminist perspectives on peace, militarism, and political violence; nonviolence, peace movements, and social activism. The breadth of peace studies courses and programs has been reflected in a broadening of the concept of security as described by Carolyn Stephenson:
perhaps most significant in examining new approaches to peacemaking is to examine the underlying changes in our conception of security, and in the practices of the systems we have designed to provide it. Whereas Anational security was once virtually the only conception of security that we could talk about, we have come to acknowledge the relationship between national security and both international and individual security. We have moved from reliance on a balance-of-power system, to collective security, to collective defense, and then to common security, with the present international security system representing some mixture of all of these (Stephenson, 1994: 16).
Stephenson went on to state that in the post-Cold War period peace studies professors were teaching about collective security, common security, environmental security, and comprehensive security. This shift in emphasis in peace studies reflects an attempt by scholars to move from research and teaching about negative peace, the cessation of violence, to positive peace, the conditions that eliminate the causes of violence.
At the close of the twentieth century peace studies has acquired the following definition: an academic field which identifies and analyzes the violent and nonviolent behaviors as well as the structural mechanisms attending social conflicts with a view towards understanding those processes which lead to a more desirable human condition. (Dugan, 1989: 74)
Another definition from Binghampton University, New York, states that peace studies Aexplores organized nonviolence and violence; their relationship to society, behavior, and consciousness; and ways of working toward a just and harmonious world community (Forcey, 1989: 7).
Peace studies courses and programs address the effects of political and social violence, the causes of this violence, and what can be done to resolve conflicts peacefully. The rapid growth in these programs in colleges and universities in North America and Western Europe reflects alarm about growing levels of violence (the nuclear threat, low intensity conflict, the cost of the arms race, environmental destruction, domestic violence, ethnic and regional conflicts, etc.) Those concerned about violence are turning to education as a means to heighten awareness about the problems of violence, to stimulate research into alternative forms of dispute resolution, and to promote nonviolent alternatives:
The solution to the problem of war requires, therefore, nothing less than changing the way people think all over the world. A corollary, however, is the necessity to first change our own way of thinking. We cannot force others to change at such a fundamental level. People change from within, as a result of gaining a new appreciation of the implications of not changing. (Sackman, 1989: 89)
At the end of the millenium a new way of thinking will be required to eliminate
the threats of war, violence, and environmental destruction, a transformation
of the human animal--from a brute using violence to get one's way to a compassionate,
caring person who understands how to manage conflicts without resorting to force.
Professors involved in peace studies at colleges and universities provide students
knowledge and skills that support such a transformation. At the end of the twentieth
century peace studies is experiencing a shift from focusing on interstate rivalry
to intrastate conflict and problems caused by interpersonal violence. Whereas
peace studies professors used to come mostly from political science, they now
come from schools of social welfare and education. As we approach the twenty-first
century, peace studies is addressing issues of intrapsychic conflict and interpersonal
issues as well as wars, refugees, treaties, and international efforts to curtail
At the end of the millenium in a culture that glorifies violence, scholars on university campuses are trying to apply the insights of nonviolence to diverse settings. Professors in the United States interested in teaching about peace adjust to the fluid dynamics of daily television news which broadcasts gripping stories about violence in urban areas, Bosnia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, or the American home. While the original emphasis may have been on the cessation of war (most specifically the war in Vietnam), the focus of peace studies in the 1980s shifted to the nuclear threat, and in the 1990s to problems of domestic violence, both crime in the streets and domestic abuse.
Students can now major in peace studies at a variety of universities and colleges, although many take a single course or choose a certificate in peace studies. However, the number of students majoring in peace studies is still quite small (typically no more than 20 students on a campus). Peace studies programs allow a dedicated core of students to study a field that is of intense importance to them.
What draws people to peace studies is more than an intellectual interest--it is a genuine concern for problems of violence and injustice, and a desire to find ways of acting on these concerns. (Rank, 1993a: 8)
In a violent world peace studies provides the opportunity for both faculty and students to contribute to creating a better future by generating nonviolent alternatives to violence.
Students with degrees in peace studies follow a variety of interesting career paths. Many go on to graduate school. Some go immediately after college to a variety of volunteer programs, like VISTA or the Lutheran volunteer corps, where they pick up organizing, lobbying, mediation, and human relations skills that complement the peace theories acquired in college. Peacemaking careers fall into the areas of arms control, foreign policy, human rights, social and economic justice, environmental protection, law, journalism, government, the United Nations and its affiliates, the Peace Corps, and private international voluntary organizations, like the International Fellowship of Reconciliation. Many find employment in the field of education, at colleges or universities that have peace studies programs, in counseling, in public and private elementary and secondary schools, and in training institutes. There is increasing demand in the United States for people trained in mediation to work in civil courts to help adjudicate disputes. Peace studies majors seek jobs directly related to the pursuit of peace, social and economic justice, ecological security, and democratic participation, although there is not much money in these fields.
This essay suggests a rich array of peace studies programs and course offerings, yet the future of peace studies in North America is somewhat tentative. A few colleges and universities have been able to raise endowments to support these programs, but currently colleges and universities in North America are cutting back on their course offerings. Financial difficulties on college campuses make it hard for institutions to provide the kind of support that would make these programs a permanent part of the college curriculum. Most of the peace studies courses mentioned in this study rely upon the voluntary efforts of faculty who need release time so they can advise students, generate new courses that respond to the multifaceted problems of violence, and research the serious dilemmas or questions raised under the heading of peace studies. The situation in Western Europe is quite different. Faculty there tend to receive administrative support for their programs. Peace studies programs are not run by professors on their own time, but rather have their own faculties.
In what follows, the authors of this essay provide a description or overview of the budding academic discipline of peace studies in colleges and universities in Western Europe and North America at the end of the twentieth century. Our study portrays those institutions that are teaching peace studies and is not an attempt to map in any systematic way those institutes that are confined to conducting research. The essay will begin with peace studies programs in the United States, followed by programs in Canada, and Western Europe.
Peace studies, or irenology, in the United States has experienced a dramatic growth in the latter half of the twentieth century. The third edition of Peace and World Order Studies (Feller, Schuenninger, & Singerman, 1981) lists 75 colleges and universities in the United States with peace studies programs. The Consortium on Peace Education, Research, and Development (COPRED) has kept a directory of peace studies programs (1995). In 1986 COPRED's Directory listed 100 programs. At the end of the 1980s one expert in the field estimated that 300 colleges and universities in the United States offered peace studies courses and 150 had some kind of peace studies program (Forcey, 1989). The 1995 COPRED Directory lists 136 colleges and universities in the United States with peace studies programs. Forty-six percent of these are in church related schools, another 32% are in large public universities, 21% are in non-church related private colleges, and 1% are in community colleges. Fifty-five percent of the church related schools that have peace studies programs are Roman Catholic. Other denominations with more than one college or university with a peace studies program are the Quakers, Mennonites, Brethren, and United Church of Christ. One hundred fifteen of these programs are at the undergraduate level and 21 at the graduate level. Fifteen of these colleges and universities had both undergraduate and graduate programs.
It is always difficult to get a precise count of peace studies activities because of the variety of approaches to studying problems of war and peace. Peace studies takes place at all different levels of university life in the United States. For example, peace studies programs go under the rubric of Aeducation for world citizenship, Anuclear age education, Asecurity studies, Adevelopment education, Ahuman rights education, and Ainternational relations (Harris, 1988). Peace studies programs also take many different forms, ranging from a graduate program that supports teaching and research on the problems of war and peace at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, to a Conflict Resolution Center at the University of Tennessee. Various peace studies courses are offered within centers like the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford, California, or the Center for Humanistic Future Studies at Western Michigan University, or the Program in Health Science and Human Survival at the University of California in San Francisco.
Much of the peace studies activity on college campuses is not clearly visible,
as professors who infuse peace material into courses do not offer special courses
with the title peace in them (O'Hare, 1983). For example, several small liberal
arts colleges offer an introductory course requirement to all incoming students
which infuses peace and justice themes (Harris, 1993). These schools tend to
be religious schools, whose offerings in peace and justice complement their
As Elise Boulding (1972) has pointed out, the peace studies field was initiated by scholars who were Aconsciously separating themselves from the older discipline of international relations (472). Other professors have argued that the field of international relations itself was developed with a peace studies focus to avoid war. Peace studies started out on most college campuses within departments emphasizing international relations, which seemingly had reneged on their war avoidance approach hence encouraging peace studies to develop a broader base on colleges and universities in the United States. Burns Weston has stated:
Peace and world order studies has as its geopolitical focus the global community rather than the nation-state system; primary actors are not just nation-states and government elites but instead range from individuals to transnational organizations; and, most importantly, policy goals are not viewed in terms of the maximization of national power and wealth, but in terms of the maximization of human well-being and fulfilment in the world community as a whole. (Quoted in Rank, 1993b: 31)
Scholars from a diversity of disciplines have a rich history of teaching components of conflict resolution and practice. In a survey conducted a decade ago, Wehr (1986, p. 4) found that 294 institutions of higher learning offered 838 courses focusing on conflict resolution. In the 1990s there has been an upsurge in interest in conflict resolution on college campuses in the United States. More than 50 college campuses have campus mediation programs. University-based conflict resolution programs provide mediation services to students but also reach out to the broader community helping residents handle disputes (Volpe, 1994). Nine universities offer graduate programs in dispute resolution while another eight are planning new graduate degrees in this area (The Fourth R, 1995: 13). Three of these programs are being started in law schools. Nova Southeastern University in Florida has a Department of Dispute Resolution with four full-time faculty members who offer a Ph.D., M.S., and a graduate certificate in dispute resolution. Students explore alternative methods for the resolution of disputes, wherein parties achieve consensual agreements based upon the principles of nonviolence, equity, dignity, and the appreciation of human diversity.
In 1994 the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta issued requests for proposals
to start education programs that will serve as a deterrent to juvenile crime
and homicide. These proposals are attracting the interest of professors in fields
as diverse as social work, criminal justice, and nursing. Concerns about domestic
violence, both in the home and in civic society, have created in the 1990s a
whole new branch of peace studies that focuses on violence prevention.
The 1982 Curriculum Policy Statement (currently undergoing revisions), which sets the standards for social work education, points to opportunities for linking peace, social justice, and nonviolent conflict resolution with the Council on Social Work Education requirements. Principles of social and economic justice are emphasized, including an ongoing quest for progressive social change related to the consequences of oppression. In 1994 the National Association of Social Workers mandated the teaching of peace and conflict resolution programs as a part of undergraduate training in social work:
Given the reality of global problems impacting on the lives of people, it is vital that the social work profession incorporates within its education and practice the overarching philosophical theme of peace. The profession needs to direct its energies towards constructive efforts and conflict resolution, people-centered development, empowerment, and the commitment for social justice and non-violent change. (Van Soest, 1992: 13).
Social workers in the field, feeling unprepared to deal with the high levels of violence, are running into such high levels of violence they are feeling unprepared to deal with it and are turning to universities and colleges to help train future social workers to manage conflicts on their jobs. The international code of ethics for professional social workers states that a social worker Ahas the responsibility to devote objective and disciplined knowledge and skill to aid individuals, groups, communities, and societies in their development and resolution of personal-societal conflicts and their consequences (1992: 187).
Professors in schools of education are developing courses in peace education, nonviolence in education, violence prevention, and conflict resolution to help teachers deal with escalating levels of conflict that students are bringing into the classrooms (Deutsch, 1991). At the elementary and secondary levels peer mediation is one of the fastest growing school reform efforts in the United States (Johnson, Johnson, & Dudley, 1992).
Medical schools are even getting into the peace studies field in response to high levels of murder in inner-city areas, a problem seen as a public health hazard requiring a preventative educational solution, such as when the American medical society launched in 1970 an educational campaign to alert people to the dangers of smoking. More than 34,000 people each year in the United States are murdered by handguns (Baker, O'Neill, & Karpf, 1992). The hope is that by learning about peace, nonviolence, and conflict resolution, that the murder rate will decrease (Prothrow-Stith, 1991).
These diverse and creative activities on the part of university professors in the United States allow them to use their skills to provide students with knowledge about how to mitigate the spread of violence in individual peace studies courses, undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and non-degree-granting consortia and related programs.
Multidisciplinary peace studies courses in the U.S. capture the dynamic ways that the problems of violence erupt in human communities. A peace studies course allows students to study violence, to understand the conditions for positive peace, and to learn about efforts to resolve conflicts peacefully. Content in such courses covers from why people die from social and political conflict; to what have humans done in the past and what is currently being done to resolve such conflict- Most peace studies courses have an international dimension emphasizing that both local and national conflicts have roots in an international political system. Conflict arises as individuals compete for power within social groups, state systems, and/or ethnic groups. Violence also occurs as people struggle for resources. Peace studies courses elucidate the effects of conflict upon individual humans, social and political systems, or the natural environment. Students in peace studies courses learn about different ways that people exploit and dominate both each other and the natural system. They give students an understanding of the efficacy of nonviolent approaches to resolving conflicts and the conditions that must be met to establish a just and lasting peace.
Every college campus in the United States has courses that comply with this definition, focusing on how human beings use peaceful strategies to overcome problems of violence. Such courses have titles like Foundations of American Diplomacy, Nonviolent Social Change, Human Rights in the World Community, Urban Violence, Conflict and Conflict Management, International Conflict and Peacemaking, Foreign Policies of Modern Nations, and Aggression. Whether or not they are peace studies courses depends upon the instructor. Under the tenets of academic freedom which govern university relations, a professor has a right to teach a course as he or she sees fit. The same course taught by two different professors could have various emphases. In a peace studies course a professor would point out ways that humans have used peace strategies--peace through strength, peace through justice, peace through politics, peace through pacifism, peace through negotiation, and peace education to address problems of violence mentioned in that course.
Many colleges and universities in the United States are developing introductory peace studies courses that are starting to define the key elements of this burgeoning academic field. These courses discuss the realities of war and violence, what is peace and conflict resolution, and how nonviolent strategies create peace. They allow students to examine the causes of violence and peace as well as introduce students to key concepts and people (Murray, 1994).
In addition to these specific courses identified as peace studies courses, there are professors on many campuses infusing peace and justice concepts into their regular course offerings (Johnson, 1986). Not all universities have focused these courses into a coherent academic program. A single course taken here or there does not give a student a very complete picture of how to address the problems of violence. Students just taking one course may not acquire the same appreciation for the importance of peace strategies as provided when a college or university offers an academic program in peace studies.
Many of the patterns apparent in the picture of peace studies in the United States are noticeable in Canada. Canadian universities, not unlike their American counterparts, responded both to the war in Vietnam and to the revived cold war in the 1980s with courses devoted to analyzing global conflict, studies of the arms race, and to questions of deterrence, arms control and disarmament. The same seminal effect of smaller church colleges has, like the U.S., shaped Canadian peace studies where even today Mennonite colleges like Conrad Grebel, Waterloo, Ontario and Menno Simons, Winnipeg, Manitoba, provide leadership in the study of peace and conflict resolution.
Another pattern which mirrors college campus peace studies in the United States is that of the dominance of the same disciplines in the sponsorship of peace studies. Political science or departments of political studies are the chief sponsors of core peace and conflict courses and this is true even if one chooses not to count among them courses in international relations, strategic studies or foreign policy per se. Considering the link which many peace studies courses and programs have with their parent church colleges, it is not surprising that departments of religious studies, comparative religion and theology carry a much larger number of peace studies courses than most academic disciplines. Some of the previous surveys of peace studies courses in Canada have overlooked this extremely important contribution and list of courses simply because they were focused on social science linkages (Arnopoulos, 1991).
Periodic tallying of Canadian courses and programs to the extent that it is done is performed by what are essentially U.S. organizations. For example, even though the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development (COPRED) includes Canadian members and lists Canadian peace studies institutes in its directory, there is a distance from the Canadian scene which does not meticulously capture the state of peace studies in Canada. Dedicated scholars like M. V. Naidu (1988) and Paris Arnopoulos (1991), as well as Matthew Speier (1987), have taken it upon themselves to piece together a portrait of university peace studies in Canada but they were always dependent as is COPRED on the good will of university personnel to reply to their surveys.
As we have seen one of the problems in counting peace studies courses is the question of definition and setting the boundaries for what will be included or excluded. To tackle this problem in the Canadian context the authors chose to set a rather narrow boundary to include only those courses which made it clear that their subject matter deals, in part at least, with alternatives to armed conflict and violence. As the subtitle of one of Canada's peace studies courses puts it: Apatterns of conflict, paths to peace. The attention is directed to understanding the nature of war, violence, and conflict but also to determining appropriate alternatives. Students in peace studies courses consider both negative and positive peace, direct and indirect violence, and individual and collective perpetrators of violence (see Galtung, 1975). Nevertheless, any peace studies course, particularly at the introductory level, tends to include some discussion of Awar and peace. Somewhat more peripheral courses may include those in psychology departments where the focus is on patterns of violence as it relates to, say, family abuse, not war and peace; or courses in international relations, foreign and defense policy, and strategic studies which examine military tactics and strategies but pay less attention to dispute settlement and peacebuilding.
There are probably over 100 peace studies courses in Canada which roughly fit the more narrow description indicated above. The number of courses fitting a more peripheral description numbers well over 200. Of the core courses about 40% have as their sponsor a department of political studies. Another 10 to 15% are sponsored by a department of religious studies, comparative religion or theology department, approximately 10% sponsored by a history department, another 10% by sociology departments and over 15% are interdisciplinary. Other distinctively peace studies courses number about 10 to 15 and are to be found in economics, philosophy or psychology departments and in education, particularly at the graduate level.
It is not always clear from calendar descriptions which courses may technically be called introductory but for those which are clearly so (approximately 12 to 15) their content has certain common elements like: the causes of war, the nature of the nuclear threat, disarmament and arms control, the nature of violence and aggression, non-violent alternatives and forms of conflict resolution and dispute settlement.
The distinctive peace studies courses seem to be evenly distributed throughout Canada numbering as they do over 30 in Ontario, at least a dozen in Quebec divided equally among French and English language offerings, 23 in the four western provinces, and 17 in the East.
The number of peace studies programs that offer an undergraduate degree, are very few in number and are scattered across the country. Graduate programs are even more rare with the University of Toronto providing the only full peace studies program at the time of writing. An education student at OISE (the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto), might put together a masters or PhD program and a theological student might muster a focus on war and peace at several theological seminaries, but the pattern, as in the U.S., is the burgeoning of conflict resolution programs with 40 to 50% enrollment increases being reported in places like Menno Simons College. The announcement of a new masters program in Conflict Analysis and Management beginning in April 1998 at a former military college (Royal Roads) in Victoria, British Columbia is also indicative of this new direction in peace studies and the conversion of former defense establishments to that direction.
Traditional peace studies programs may have depended too much on the creative work of a limited number of committed academics. There is some evidence that, as these leaders retire, their programs will disappear. The new programs in conflict resolution like the Mediation Services programs in B.C. and Manitoba which provide training in interpersonal relations, mediation skills training, management of anger, and cross-cultural issues will likely move quickly from offering certificates and diplomas to extending both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The interdisciplinary work which characterizes peace studies can be witnessed in multi-discipline peacebuilding workshops or linkages of law and medicine faculties like McMasters' (Hamilton, Ontario) health-peace initiative focusing on children of war-torn countries. A second direction to watch closely in the Canadian context is the contribution of peacekeeping training centers like the Lester B. Pearson Centre in the former Armed Services Base Cornwallis, Nova Scotia which facilitates cooperation amongst interested academic programs while promoting a broad spectrum of peacemaking and peacebuilding concerns. All these endeavours indicate that there may not be so much a decline in peace studies in Canada as there is a constructive redefinition constituting consolidation of those few efficient and productive structures and a redirection in keeping with the changing times. In speaking of these new relationships between more traditional peace studies programs and the conflict resolution focus of more college campuses and institutions, one director recently communicated to us that we probably Aneed to find better ways to dialogue with one another and with these related training agencies to stimulate one another to address the larger peace issues in our global village.
In North America, as we have pointed out, peace studies programs have often
been initiated on an ad hoc basis in response to crises of the times, such as
the Vietnam War and the escalation of the arms race in the 1980s, when faculty
and students felt compelled to address issues of pressing social concern. As
previously pointed out there have been several waves of peace studies program
development, beginning after the Second World War, in response to the Vietnam
War, and continuing through the 1980s and the escalation of the arms race, when
hundreds of courses and programs were initiated at colleges and universities
in North America. The result is that a Acritical mass of programs were established,
along with journals and academic networks, which has enabled a new field to
come into existence.
Because of a strong tradition of peace research as distinct in many cases from peace studies (teaching programs) in Western Europe, and in particular the Nordic countries and Northern Europe generally, peace studies program development has emerged in a different way. In short, there are many well-established peace research institutes in Western Europe, but relatively few teaching programs in peace studies. In North America it is the reverse.
This reversal is perhaps because European universities tend to be more traditional in structure and format and are less flexible and open to innovation than their North American counterparts. However, European peace studies programs, where they do exist, tend to be well supported, with their own faculty and sufficient funding to maintain an ongoing academic program, which is often not the case in North America. The strength of the peace research tradition in Europe lends legitimacy to the field, which is still lacking to some extent in North America despite the many courses and programs that have been initiated.
Although the roots of European peace research can be traced at least as far back as the l8th century Enlightenment, the emergence of peace studies as a distinct field in Europe can be said to have come about with the establishment of the first peace research institutes in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO), and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), along with other European peace research institutes, helped lay the intellectual groundwork for the field.
Johan Galtung, the founder of PRIO, is one of the major theorists of the field, as are other European peace researchers. Galtung was one of the first to use the term Apeace research, so in some ways the origins of the field can be traced to Europe. This is not to discount the contribution of North American peace researchers, such as Kenneth and Elise Boulding, who helped found the Journal of Conflict Resolution in the 1950s and have played a major role in the international development of the field.
While a number of key individuals have helped to bring peace research and peace
studies into existence, the emergence of the field has of course been a complex
process involving many different people, programs, and organizations, all working
in symbiosis. Support networks like IPRA (International Peace Research Association),
and the recently founded EUPRA (the European branch of IPRA) continue to maintain
the momentum of the field.
This European report focuses on the development of peace studies programs, with some mention of peace research institutes where they are linked to teaching programs. A truly comprehensive directory of such programs would best be done by computer network, given the rapidity of change and development in the field. A data base of continuously updated information on peace studies programs is needed, and a number of individuals and organizations are working toward that end.
Our descriptions of peace studies programs begins with northern Europe, where much of the early development took place and where the most well-established programs are located. Norway has the distinction of being the country where peace studies has received much of its initial impetus. The Journal of Peace Research, one of the major journals of the field, has been published by PRIO since 1964, along with the Bulletin of Peace Proposals begun in 1970, a more policy-oriented journal which has been replaced by Security Dialogue and receives financial support from the Norwegian Ministry of Financial Affairs. The research agenda of PRIO is wide-ranging, with three main areas: conflict theory and the study of ethnic conflicts, security and disarmament studies, and military activities and the human environment.
PRIO offers a postgraduate International Summer School course on peace research in cooperation with the University of Oslo, which draws participants from over 25 countries each year and provides a unique opportunity for cross-cultural peace learning. Although this course has been run successfully for many years, the University of Oslo has not developed a peace studies program. A peace researcher, Birgit Brock-Utne, known for her feminist perspective on peace education is based there at the Department of Pedagogics. Other than at PRIO and the University of Oslo, there are no peace studies programs in Norway, but Magnus Haavelsrud, another peace researcher long active in the field, is based at the University of Tromso Institute of Social Science.
Peace research institutes and peace studies programs are partly well supported
in Sweden. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), founded
in 1966 to commemorate Sweden's 150 years of unbroken peace, is autonomous but
government subsidized, with the Swedish parliament granting it over $2.5 million
per year. Their yearbook, World Armaments and Disarmament is considered by many
to be an essential resource for peace researchers (Rudney, 1989). Others have
criticized SIPRI for focusing too much on security issues and Aweapons counting
at the expense of other types of peace research.
Lund University created a professorship of peace and conflict research in 1971 which in 1989 was moved into the department of sociology. An independent Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Studies was created in 1985 and staffed by Jan Oberg. This institute is engaged in action-oriented research, such as a long standing project on conflict mitigation in the Former Yugoslavia, but gives no courses.
Two of the most well-established peace studies programs in Europe are in Sweden, at Gothenburg and Uppsala. The Peace and Development Research Institute (PADRIGU) at Gothenburg University, founded in 1978, has 12 professional staff, all of whom are engaged both in research and teaching, and about 600 students (undergraduate and graduate with 20 Ph.D. students). The Institute currently offers B.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Students can do a B.A. in either Peace and Conflict Studies/World Order Studies or in Development Studies, and then go on for a Ph.D. in Peace and Development Research.
The Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, established
in 1971, offers an undergraduate and Ph.D. program, with 200-300 students enrolled
each academic year. There is one full professorship (the Dag Hammarskjold Chair
of Peace and Conflict Research), and several associate and assistant professor
positions. The two main research areas of the department are 1) the origins
and dynamics of conflict and 2) international security issues. The Department
has been active in promoting the field of peace research through its publications
and activities. For example, the development of the field has been analyzed
in Peace Research: Achievements and Challenges (Wallensteen, 1988). The department
is a member of the transnational secretariat for the Talloires Universities
Group which encourages the development of courses on arms control and which
has produced a curriculum guide for transdisciplinary teaching on global peace
The major Dutch peace research journal, Transaktie, formerly published by the Polemologisch Instituut, has been taken over by the Institute of International Studies at Leiden University. Also at Leiden is the Center for the Study of Social Conflicts, which has a graduate-level course in peace research, but not a full program. Other universities in the Netherlands offering peace research and peace studies courses are the Free University of Amsterdam, which has a peace research course; the University of Utrecht, which has a Chair of Human Rights and a course on peace education in the Social Sciences Department; and the Catholic University of Nijmegen, which has a Center for Peace and Conflict Studies founded in 1967.
Denmark has a tradition of Afolk high schools, and a model of this kind of education is the International People's College in Helsinore, founded in 1921 on the principles of peace and international understanding. The People's College is an international residential school where adults live and work together. Generally there are no entrance qualifications, exams, or degrees at folk schools, but the People's College does have a diploma course in peace studies. Short courses of 8 to 16 weeks are offered on peace studies, international affairs, ecology, sustainable development, and related topics (Lawson, 1995).
In Belgium there is a unique educational center, similar to the International
People's College in Denmark, the Université de Paix in Namur. It was
founded in 1960 by Father Dominique Pire, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1958
for his work on behalf of refugees. He used part of the prize to establish this
center, where people come together from all parts of the world for short courses
on themes such as nonviolence, pacifism, and peace pedagogy. Teaching and learning
at the Université de Paix is based on interpersonal dialogue, as described
by Dominique Pire in his book Building Peace (1967). The Université de
Paix also runs a research and documentation center.
Because of the division of Belgian universities into separate Flemish and French-speaking systems, efforts to establish peace research (and peace studies) have been fragmented. Two programs on polemology are offered at the Free University of Belgium, the Centrum voor Polemologie at the Vrije Universiteit (Flemish) and the Groupe de Polemologie at the Universite Libre (French). The Flemish program offers courses on polemology and international relations, while the French program concentrates on sociological research on peace, social movements, and war prevention. The University of Leuven has a chair in Ainternational Relations, Strategy, and Peace Research.
The United Kingdom, along with Sweden, is where most of the peace studies development in Europe has taken place. Existing programs are in England and Northern Ireland, with no university peace studies programs as yet in Scotland and Wales. Atlantic College in Wales offers a peace and conflict studies program for secondary school students.
The Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford in the north of England is the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the world, offering B.A., M.A., M.Phil, and Ph.D. degrees. Founded in 1973 as a result of an initiative by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the Department now has 19 members on academic staff, and about 300 students (200 undergraduate, about 40 in the two M.A. programs of Peace Studies and International Politics/Security Studies, and around 50 research students in the doctoral program). The current Head of the Department is Proessor Paul Rogers, well-known in Britain as an expert on British defense policy, arms control, and disarmament.
The research and teaching of the Department covers three main areas: conflict
resolution, social change, and international security. The Centre for Conflict
Resolution, a research unit in the department, runs a range of practical programs,
including mediation training in areas of conflict such as the former Yugoslavia.
The department's work on social change includes programs on Latin America, Africa,
the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and South Asia (e.g., the Gandhian movement
in India), addressing issues related to development, nonviolence, and social
alternatives. The international security area includes a range of topics such
as the study of arms transfers, control of nuclear and biological weapons, environmental
security, and security based on economic cooperation and justice between North
Woodbrooke College, one of the Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham, England, is funded and run by Quakers. It is structured as an in-service adult education facility, offering programs to the general public on nonviolent conflict resolution. One of these is an 11-week course on AWorking with Conflict--an intensive, international course for people working for development, human rights and peace in situations of instability and conflict.
The peace research community in Britain is not as extensive as it is in Scandinavia,
but one center that did grow out of the peace research tradition is the Richardson
Institute for Conflict and Peace Research at the University of Lancaster, founded
in 1959. It is named after Lewis Fry Richardson, a pioneer of peace research
who did studies on arms races and wars in the early 1900s. The Institute is
small, but offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, and has had an important impact on
the field through its publications, which includes A Reader in Peace Studies
(Smoker, Davies, & Munske, 1990), a basic text often used in introductory
peace studies courses.
Another peace studies program in the U.K. offering M.A. and Ph.D. degrees is the International Conflict Analysis Program of the University of Kent at Canterbury. The course work, carried out over three terms, is organized around three main themes: 1) Theory of Conflict, 2) Modes and Practice of Conflict Resolution, and 3) Methodology of Research. Case studies are analyzed in the light of various theoretical approaches and students are introduced to different types of negotiation and mediation practices, with an emphasis on third-party intervention. Diplomats, practitioners and visiting scholars take part in a weekly seminar program with the students.
In Northern Ireland, Magee College of the University of Ulster offers a B.A. in peace and conflict studies and a postgraduate diploma/M.A. in peace studies. The B.A. is a four-year interdisciplinary course on problems of peace and conflict, with a focus on interethnic conflict, including the conflict in Northern Ireland. In addition to a broad background in history, politics, and sociology, students are given practical skills training, and a 20-week work placement with a relevant agency or organization is required. The M.A. course, offered in association with the University of Limerick, focuses on conflict resolution and peacebuilding in divided societies. Combining theory and practice, it is designed particularly for those working in areas of conflict such as Northern Ireland. Also at the University of Ulster is a Centre for the Study of Conflict and a newly formed United Nations University program in conflict resolution and ethnicity.
The Irish Peace Institute, located at the University of Limerick, was established in 1984 as an independent nongovernmental organization sponsored by the University of Limerick, the University of Ulster, and Co-operation North, an organization which promotes North-South cooperation in Ireland. Its aim is to promote education, research, and training in conflict resolution and in the Adevelopment and management of people-to-people co-operation programs. The work of the Institute focuses on the Northern Ireland conflict, North-South co-operation in Ireland, Anglo-Irish relations, European integration and international co-operation. An M.A. degree (described above) is offered by the University of Ulster in association with the University of Limerick. The Institute also sponsors post-doctoral fellows, supports research, and organizes youth conferences and study tours.
The Centre for Peace Studies at the Irish School of Ecumenics in association
with Trinity College, Dublin offers an M.Phil and Diploma course in peace studies.
The program is designed to provide an understanding of the international system
and of the problems of war, violence, and conflict resolution between and within
nation states. A particular aim is to relate scholarly research across a wide
range of topics to the role of human agency and moral choice in the construction
of the international order. The program also offers a sabbatical program in
peace studies and an adult education program leading to a certificate in peace
One of the most rapidly developing new centers for peace studies in Europe is the European University Center for Peace Studies (EPU) in Stadtschlaining, Austria, which is funded by the Austrian government. In 1988, UNESCO endorsed the establishment of the EPU, and it had its first pilot semester in 1989. It now offers several courses of study in its advanced international program on peace, security, development and conflict resolution, including a certificate, practitioner, and M.A. program in peace and conflict studies. Students and course lecturers are drawn from many different countries. The program aims to provide a Atransnational perspective. Lecturers include many prominent peace researchers, such as Johan Galtung and Hakan Wiberg. Faculty members have recently initiated a branch of the EPU in Spain.
The EPU works in cooperation with the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR), founded in 1988 and based in the castle at Stadtschlaining. One program run jointly by ASPR and the EPU is the International Civilian Peace-keeping and Peace-building Training Program designed to train civilians in the kinds of skills outlined by former UN Secretary Boutros Boutros-Ghali in his AAgenda for Peace. Resource persons in the program have relevant experience with the UN and nongovernmental organizations.
Spain is a relative newcomer to peace studies, largely because, under the Franco regime, social sciences with a critical orientation were suppressed. Until the early 1980s, there were only a handful of individuals in academia working on war/peace issues. When peace research did emerge, it came out of a culture of resistance and is still strongly linked to the peace movement.
At the University of Granada, a multidisciplinary peace research center was recently established by Maria Luisa Espada, a professor of international law, and there is a new Ph.D. program there, the Seminario de Estudios sobre la Paz y los Conflictos. A peace studies program on the philosophy of peace has also recently been established at Jaume I Universitat in Castello.
One peace research institute in Spain with a unique history is the Gernika gogoratuz/Grupo de investigacion por la paz (GGG) founded in the Basque city of Guernica in 1987. The Basque name translates as Aremembering Guernica, recalling the destruction of the city by German bombers in support of Franco during the Spanish Civil War. It is a symbol of peace and reconciliation in an area of Spain torn by civil strife (ETA Basque separatist movement). Historical research, studies on nationalism, and conflicts between Christian and Islamic cultures are included in the research agenda. The institute has initiated a Ph.D. program in conflict psychology at the University of Basque Provinces.
Like the European University center for Peace Studies in Austria, EPU-Spain offers scientific education and professional training in the interdisciplinary field of peace studies. EPU-Spain offers courses from the same catalog of courses developed in Austria and utilizes the same diverse international faculty with all teaching done in English.
EPU-Spain concentrates on university-level programs and courses in peace research and peace education that are mainly for postgraduate students who aspire to careers in or are already working in such fields as science, education, government, culture, economics, and international management. The student body is an international one, with students generally coming from many different countries. The list of courses that have recently been offered at EPU-Spain include AIntroduction to Peace and Development Studies; AWar, Technology and Society; Peace, Culture, and Communication; Gender and Peace; APhilosophy and Peace; A The European Union, Global Security, an Development; Peace in Europe: Practical Problems and Moral Dilemmas.
In Italy, at Padua university, there is a specialization in Human and People's Rights. The University of Naples features a Center for Peace Education that works with various secondary schools on different models of conflict resolution. This Center has founded several schools for trainers of conscientious objectors. The center has trained some ten thousand conscientious objectors each year as well as promoting people's nonviolent defense throughout Italy. Bologna University supports an interdepartmental Center for Peace Research. In Florence a group of professors in 1985 started a private initiative (Forum sui Problemi della Pace) that is very active promoting international conferences and seminars.
The peace field in Europe is flourishing with new centers coming into existence. The emphasis on conflict resolution has spawned many programs with a practical emphasis, including new initiatives in peace research and peace studies in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet union. European peace researchers are beginning to create a common forum for communication and cooperation, bridging East and West.
The breakdown of states, the rise of nationalism in Europe following the end of the Cold War, and war in the former Yugoslavia have reinforced a belief in the necessity of military Asolutions to conflicts and are a challenge to peace studies. Violent conflict in the heart of Europe is far from over, and the pressing need to develop nonviolent alternatives remains. It is a need that is central to the peace studies field, and to the struggle for peace and justice in the global community.
The growth of peace studies programs in Canada, the United States, and Western Europe indicates a concern for the future of this planet. Faculty at various colleges and universities are attempting to use their professional skills to educate students about the causes of war while pointing out various alternatives to violent behavior. These programs, which allow professors to concentrate their expertise on important issues of domestic and international conflict, vary considerably as to their scope and structure. Traditional programs which focus on the study of treaty arrangements, alliance systems, deterrence theories, and the study of war between sovereign nations-states have been complemented by newer programs focusing on the interactions of individuals and subnational groups that cut across the boundaries of nation-states. The traditional programs are rooted in concepts of collective security, diplomacy, negotiation, strategic management, and arms control, while the newer approaches emphasize the behavior of individuals, communities, and nongovernmental organizations.
Further effort needs to be made to generate a core academic content for peace studies programs that would recommend required readings and key concepts. So far, there is little agreement about basic texts for peace studies courses. Two basic introductory peace studies texts have recently been written. They are Introduction to Peace Studies by David Barash (1991) and Realizing Peace: An Introduction to Peace Studies by Thomas Keefe and Ron Roberts (1991). A popular reader, A Peace Reader, has been produced by Fahey and Armstrong (1992). Another previously mentioned text that is often used in introductory peace studies courses is A Reader in Peace Studies (Smoker, Davies, & Munske, 1990).
Many peace studies faculty spend time working with peace organizations in their communities. Such efforts at peacebuilding provide important insights into the struggle for peace and help build a support base for academic peace studies programs, but pull a researcher away from the library and place further restrictions on that faculty member's time. Institutional support needs to cover the day to day maintenance tasks--publishing flyers, bringing in speakers, promoting the program, raising funds, circulating newsletters, etc.--that give a peace studies program both an identity and a vitality on campus. Without institutional support these programs rely too much on the good will of a few select faculty members who can easily become Aburned out as they try to juggle peace studies with their existing commitments. Many of the North American programs described in this text depend upon the dedicated efforts of a few faculty members. As the twentieth century draws to a close, there is a danger that many of these peace studies courses and programs will disappear as faculty who were attracted to peace studies as a result of the war in Vietnam or the nuclear threat retire. Many graduate programs are producing young scholars, committed to peace paradigms, but many of these PhDs are having trouble finding work in universities that are downsizing and whose faculty are committed to traditional subject matter. Young scholars, originally attracted to the idealistic visions of peace education, are becoming frustrated and disappointed at the academy's inability to welcome them. Many budding scholars feel they will be peripheral to traditional academic disciplines.
Scholarly debate about the value of multidisciplinary programs provides a challenge for the growing field of peace studies. Most scholars are accustomed to look at the world through the lenses of the disciplines in which they have been trained. Peace studies, rather than relying on a unidisciplinary perspective, can provide a unifying ground for political scientists, educators, sociologists, theologians, and philosophers seeking to use their academic skills to shed light on how the problems of violence affect human communities. Studies about the problems of violence are so multifaceted that they can not be limited to one discipline. Peace students rely upon a type of rigor not rewarded in traditional academic settings. Many peace studies programs are student centered, based upon dialogue (and not lecture), value laden in their commitment to justice, passionate in their aversion to violent human behavior. Such radical pedagogy has brought forth critics who accuse these new fields of being soft or lacking in rigor.
The reduction of the peace movement in the West in the 1990s has created both difficulties and opportunities for peace studies programs. Without an energized peace movement demanding that attention be paid to problems of violence, there is a danger that professors on college campuses will continue to support the violence of the status quo. Universities and colleges are run by a conservative inertia that supports traditional academic programs and does not reward scholars who dedicate their lives to the promotion of peace. On the more positive side, peace studies has become less controversial and oppositional in nature. In the past it had come under attack for being politically biased. With the end of the Cold War, the division between Aestablishment strategic studies and Aalternative peace research has become less pronounced. Research areas are changing and the focus on conflict resolution has helped diffuse the political nature of debates about security. Peace Studies has become more conventional and is gaining wider acceptance throughout countries in the West, as citizens are looking for solutions to increased levels of urban crime and domestic violence.
One problem faced by this growing field is lack of recognition. Peace studies depends upon a holistic approach to violence. Universities that are divided into specific disciplines have a hard time accommodating to an academic field that includes academic areas as diverse as international studies, social work, and education. Professors in traditional disciplines like history, have a hard time abandoning their narrow scholastic training to embrace such a wide-ranging field. The immense problem of bringing peace to human societies requires a new kind of discipline. Peace studies expects scholars to be critical of traditional academic hierarchies, to promote social change, to challenge state policies, and to transform the behavior of students confused, frightened, and bewildered by the many forms of violence that surround them.
At the end of a century racked by violence and war, peace studies faces many problems in gaining broad acceptance by universities and colleges. On the positive side are the students, concerned about the violence in the postmodern world, who are idealistic and eager to learn about alternatives to violence. On the negative side are the university administrators who in a time of fiscal restraint are not able to support new disciplines, however important they may be. Television news in the West daily gives the impression that domestic violence and street crime are urgent problems. The hesitance of faculty to embrace this new field also means that peace studies programs have a narrow base of support that is dwindling as the professors in this field grow older without more resources. In spite of the tremendous carnage of the twentieth century, the field of peace studies is in danger of remaining marginal in the next century.
Further obstacles come from cultures that continually rely upon peace through strength strategies to provide security for frightened citizens who in turn have little knowledge of nonviolent alternatives. In response to rising levels of domestic crime, politicians are building prisons and hiring more police, rather than providing support for peace education efforts that could help prevent violence by teaching young people peace-making techniques. Likewise, in a post Cold War climate national governments have not been able to divert resources away from defense towards addressing the various aspects of structural violence that cause so much violence in the first place. Recent reductions in crime are credited to police and not to thousands of peacemakers who have been teaching conflict resolution techniques to young people in schools.
Emphasis upon resonding to violence with force makes it hard to build a foundation
of support for peace studies within citizenries that see the pursuit of peace
as being both idealistic and unglamourous. The pursuit of peace is often labeled
Aidealistic because it is assumed that humans will always be violent, and any
talk about building a peaceful society is seen as naive. It is also considered
unglamourous in the sense that bloody and dramatic events make headlines. Peaceful
living is not covered by a media seeking to titillate an audience that has been
raised on glamorous images of violence promoted on television, in novels, movies,
and popular music. News reports cover the protagonists and antagonists in a
violent conflict but ignore the inevitable presence of peacemakers who are always
present, trying to resolve conflict nonviolently. Supporters of peace studies
need to find ways to dramatize the work of nonviolent peace heroes and heroines.
As we near the new millennium, it is crucial that the struggle to build a peaceful
world be a dynamic part of the public debate, so that the 21st century that
will not be dominated by violence and war.
Peace educators promote peace within the confines of a global corporate marketplace where materials and wealth are valued. Most students, seeking to get ahead in a competitive world, want to get on the bandwagon that leads to success. Too few seem to understand that their success will not last if their societies devolve as have the civic worlds in Somalia, the old Yugoslavia, or Pakistan (just to name a few), if the environment is destroyed, or if nuclear warheads are released. Most Western states continue to spend huge amounts of money on military might and are not investing in any systematic way in promoting peace.
Yet the expansion of peace education in a wide variety of forms as illustrated throughout this paper provides evidence of fruitful new directions (like conflict resolution and negotiation programs), fresh commitments (the increases in undergraduate and graduate programs and numbers of dedicated students), and innovative applications (mediation services and converted military bases). Peace Studies at the end of the millennium faces its problems of definition, status and funding but it does so with an enlarged understanding of itself, and the capacity for imaginative extensions of its role and prudent and enterprising applications of its finite resources.
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