This is the old United Nations University website. Visit the new site at

UNU Joint Graduate Courses

Course II: Conflict Studies
Prevention, Peacemaking, Peacebuilding

Objectives and Outline

Course Details

Schedule (64 KB PDF)

This course aims to understand the dynamics of conflict and peace, to examine the causes of conflict, the changing nature of modern conflict, to situate the contemporary conflict studies in the context of the broader discipline of international relations through investigation, analysis and discussion of recent events and conflicts.

The course will provide students with understanding of the evolution of the UN and its role in the international system – as a collective security mechanism to prevent conflict, engage in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Some case studies will illustrate the various achievements and shortages of the UN system to address violent conflict.

The UN and various regional organizations have attempted with varying degrees of success to provide peace and security to conflict zones, both within and between states. Peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations continue to be one of the most visible and important tasks of the United Nations. Their evolving application has tested the Organization’s abilities and legitimacy over and over again.

Moreover, the complex nature of conflicts has increasingly demanded more sustained, and demanding peace operations that go much beyond the securing of cease-fire lines. The UN’s and regional organizations’ approach to peace operations now integrates a wide range of activities, from the prevention to the management of conflict, and to post-conflict rebuilding of society, infrastructure, legal and security institutions.

The course will review and analyse the international community’s evolving responses to the challenges of violent conflict. It begins with an assessment of the roots of many of today’s violent conflicts, followed by a discussion of attempts to settle and resolve conflicts with the help of internal and external parties. It will then examine opportunities for the prevention of violent conflict, experiences, shortcomings and challenges, in peacekeeping and peace support operations, and the international community’s engagement in post-conflict peacebuilding activities. The course will assess the UN’s recent efforts to evaluate and improve UN peace operations, and the feasibility and opportunities of implementing suggested reform proposals.

Course Coordinators

Chief Coordinator: Vesselin Popovski (UNU)

Coordinators: Professor Masashi Anno (Sophia University)
Professor Hideaki Asahi (University of Tokyo)
Professor Toshiro Kojima (Aoyama Gakuin University)
Professor Yasuyuki Matsunaga (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)
Professor Ryo Oshiba (Hitotsubashi University)
Professor Wilhelm Vosse (International Christian University)


Page last modified 2019.04.16.

Home  •  About UNU  •  UNU Institutes  •  Events  •  Online Learning  •  Publications  •  Library