This course is about regional security: about understanding the potential of local conflicts to destabilize entire regions and the importance of regional efforts in managing and mitigating conflicts and crises. It is about the practical experience of concerted, multi-faceted, enduring efforts to understand conflicts, to find and negotiate solutions.
The Balkan wars of the 1990s, decades of war in Afghanistan, the dissolution of nation states like Iraq, Syria, or Libya, and the protracted conflict in the Ukraine are all examples of severe crises within national boundaries with detrimental repercussions for immediate neighbors and the wider region. Clearly, the longer that conflicts, crises, and wars persist, the more regional security is endangered. We therefore need to grasp local security issues within their broader regional context.
This applies not only to the understanding of regional spillover of local insecurity, but also for the significance of regional efforts to engage in conflict management. Regional organizations like the OSCE, the EU, the AU, or the Visegrad Group (V4) are important examples. But there are many other forces potentially playing positive, even crucial, roles in de-escalating conflicts – if they are engaged: civil society organizations, especially women and youth organizations, and religions organizations.
Ultimately, the endeavor to reduce security risks and increase stability and peace in the world depends on political will. That given, it hinges on the professionalism of all those involved in conflict management, and their continuous enhancement of three skills:
This course aims at developing all three sets of skills and capabilities. To achieve these aims, the course is divided into three modules.
Module 1: Develop A Common Understanding – Getting Familiar with Terms & Mechanisms lays the groundwork by having a close look at the basic terms and the most important mechanisms of conflict management. The first part of Module 1 intensively discusses the terms Security, Conflict, Crisis, and Conflict Management. In this module we will also highlight concepts of international law and the relevance of gender in all issues concerning security and conflict management.
The second part of Module 1 presents the “toolbox” of mechanisms the UN, EU, NATO, the AU, and OSCE have created to mitigate conflict. A special focus will be on diplomacy as the ultimate technique of conflict management, as well as on shedding light on the important contributions civil society can make.
In Module 2: Identify & Analyze Conflict – Case Studies, course participants apply the knowledge acquired in Module 1 to analyze four major crises: Cyprus, Bosnia, Syria, and Libya.
The knowledge and skills acquired in Modules 1 and 2 lay the groundwork for Module 3: Apply & Practice Conflict Management – negotiations on the Normalization of Relations between Moldova and Transnistria (EX NORMAT). In this extended exercise the participants analyze and negotiate ways forward in the normalization process between Moldova and Transnistria, especially in the political, military, social, humanitarian, cultural, and economic spheres.
This three week course focuses on European regional security challenges that are driving European political agendas and public discussion. Central to this course is the examination of multiple regional conflicts along European borders, past and ongoing, which will allow participants to enhance their ability to analyze and propose resolutions. The regional focus of this course acknowledges that too often local and national conflicts pose considerable threats to neighboring states and possibly to an entire region. Given these considerations, conflict management and resolution require many partners including regional and international help. Conflict management and resolution of regional crisis is not complete without addressing the interwoven dimensions of civil society and gender.