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Conflict Resolution

Employers | Internet Resources

Career Opportunities in Peace and Conflict Resolution

The field of peace studies is an interdisciplinary academic field that analyzes the causes of war and systemic oppression, and explores processes by which conflict and change can be managed so as to maximize justice while minimizing violence. It encompasses the study of economic, political, and social systems at the local, national, and global levels, and examines ideology, culture, and technology as they relate to conflict and change. In different settings, this field of study is known variously as "peace and conflict studies," "peace and security studies," "peace and world order studies," "justice and reconciliation studies," “conflict resolution” and so on. What distinguishes this field from others, however, is a concern with the modalities of peace and the methods of peacemaking (Michael T. Klare, Peace and World Security Studies).

Career-related activities within this field include policy research, legislative lobbying, public education, petitioning and protest action, mediation, community service, and intercultural diplomacy.

Career Paths and Entry Salaries

Entry level positions in the peace and conflict field are diversified and often highly competitive. The functional titles will include analyst, program associate/assistant, education coordinator, research assistant, public relations liaison, regional monitor, etc. Salaries will vary depending on the larger field chosen by the employee. Conflict resolution is often a component of other policy, analyst or non-profit careers. Human resources officers often specialize in mediation and staff bargaining, for instance.

A graduate level degree is almost essential because of the functional expertise it demonstrates. The methods utilized in evaluating and analyzing conflict and in resolving such situations or potential situations are often learned through a combination of experience and higher education.

This field has no direct or specified career path. Acquiring essential skills in the peace and conflict resolution field can be initiated through involvement and concern with the social issues affecting most communities

Qualifications Necessary/Application Procedures to Enter Field

A strong commitment to social issues and interest in either interpersonal relations, community development or international relations is essential. Educational background should emphasize research and analytical methods. The shared sense of a common purpose being pursued for a socially conscious cause will sometimes create a less than structured environment where flexibility is a required characteristic. Foreign languages can assist a job search in this field because many positions are of an international nature. Teaching and training skills acquired through education or work also are applicable.

The enthusiastic involvement with public interest organizations as an intern and/or volunteer will help to develop a network important in receiving an offer for a professional job. Overseas field experience, especially in a developing country, and experience in a multicultural section of a local community or city is highly recommended. Domestic positions in public affairs work may require conflict resolution skills, although the position may be in policy or management and not identified specifically as a “conflict resolution” position.

Employers

Associations/Websites

Internet Resources

IGC PeaceNet - http://www.igc.org/index.html

Peaceweb - http://www.quaker.org/peaceweb/

Edited for the use of SPEA students by the staff of the Office of Career Services. Written by Career Directors from the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs. Information obtained from the Maxwell School of Public Administration.