Graduate Education and Professional Practice in International Peace and Conflict

TitleGraduate Education and Professional Practice in International Peace and Conflict
Publication TypeBook
Subtitle / Series TitleUSIP Special Report
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsCarstarphen, N, Zelizer, C, Harris, R, Smith, DJ
VolumeSpecial Report No. 246
Number of Pages12 pp.
PublisherUnited States Institute of Peace (USIP)
CityWashington D.C.
Accession Number1537


  • - Graduate-level academic institutions are not adequately preparing students for careers in international peace and conflict management. Curricula need to incorporate more applied skills, cross-sectoral coursework, and field-experience opportunities.
  • - Unlike most faculty, students, and alumni, employers see substantial room for improvement in preparing students for the field.
  • - Overseas experience is, for employers, the most valuable asset.
  • - General project management skills - program planning and design, monitoring and evaluation, computer literacy, report writing skills, budgeting, staff management, research skills, grant writing, and knowledge of the funding and policy world - and cross-cultural competencies and language skills are critical.
  • - International peace and conflict management practices increasingly overlap with more traditional work, such as human rights, humanitarian issues, and development programming.
  • - Employers want candidates who have a holistic understanding of international conflict work, specialized knowledge and skills, practical know-how, and political savvy, yet often fail to grasp what academic programs are in fact teaching students to prepare them for the field.
  • - Academic programs need to strengthen their outreach and interaction with employers and to market the value of their programs.
  • - To better prepare themselves for the field, recent graduates and alumni are seeking to increase their applied education, field experience, project management skills, mentoring, and career guidance.

About the Report
This report, requested by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) as part of its response to the focus on education and training provided for in the legislation that created it, examines the match between graduate academic programs in international peace and conflict, and the needs of organizations and agencies that hire individuals for conflict focused work in the field.

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