UMass Lowell and University of Haifa Attend Peace Studies Conference

Delegations from UMass Lowell and University of Haifa, Israel attended the Summer Institute for Faculty, "Teaching Peace in the 21st Century" at Notre Dame. The UMass Lowell delegation included Professor Paula Rayman, director of the Middle East Center, Professor Jim Nehring, Graduate School of Education, and Seth Izen, Project Manager for the Middle East Center. Professors As’ad Ghanem and Keren Shavit from the University of Haifa, Israel, attended the conference in order to develop their Peace and Conflict Management Master’s Degree which is set to launch in September 2011. Chancellor Meehan signed a partnership agreement with University of Haifa in the fall of 2009 which included collaboration on Peace Studies.


(L to R) Professors Keren Shavit and As’ad Ghanem of University of Haifa, Professor Jim Nehring, Professor Paula Rayman, and Seth Izen, Project Manager for the Middle East Center.

More than 60 faculty from 19 colleges, universities and other organizations attended the week long institute to learn how to develop a successful Peace Studies degree program. George A. Lopez, an internationally recognized authority on peace studies program development, led the Institute, along with about a dozen faculty and staff from the Kroc Institute.

Currently there are over 100 universities in the United States and 400 world-wide that offer Peace Studies degrees. Around 20 universities in the United States offer graduate degrees in Peace Studies. Peace and Conflict Studies is an academic field that draws upon a variety of disciplines such as political science, history, psychology, education, sociology, anthropology, and economics to address the central questions of the field:

• What are the causes and conditions which generate and sustain violent conflict?

• What are the mechanisms and models for the resolution of violent conflict?

• What are the norms, practices and institutions for building peace?

Within the field, “peace” is defined as more than the absence of war. Rather, it is the presence of the conditions necessary for human flourishing, including access to education and physical necessities, societal justice, and security from harm. The idea is rooted in the understanding that a just peace is the only sustainable kind of peace.

A faculty committee, appointed by Dean Nina Coppens in January 2010, has been discussing the development of a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at UMass Lowell.  The committee’s goal is to gain approval by January 2011 and to launch the program in September 2011.