Establishing Peace and Conflict Studies Programs in Iraqi Universities: Necessary Conditions and Short-Term Implications
Higher Education Administration
Higher Education and Teaching
Near Eastern Languages and Societies
Other International and Area Studies
Peace and Conflict Studies
ABSTRACT Establishing Peace and Conflict Studies Programs in Iraqi Universities: Necessary Conditions and Short-Term Implications Peace and Conflict Studies was unknown as a field of academic inquiry in Iraq when the 21st century began. Just over a decade later, formal institutional entities had been established to explore the subject at three Iraqi universities. Using a participatory action research methodology, this dissertation explores two questions: 1. What are the conditions that promote or impede establishment of a university-based program in peace and conflict studies in Iraq?, and; 2. Once established, what are possible outputs and outcomes of these programs over the first few years of their existence? This study consisted of 67 interviews, three focus groups and hundreds of hours of my first-hand observations. I argue that the presence or absence of three conditions has determined the success of efforts to establish peace and conflict studies programs at Iraqi universities: an inviting political climate; entrepreneurial or charismatic university leadership; and the availability of financial, intellectual and relational resources. I conclude that even in the first few years after a program's establishment, it is possible to observe not only tangible outputs such as students graduated, public events conducted and papers published, but also intangible outcomes such as increased awareness and understanding by students and other program affiliates of critical concepts related to peace and conflict and the creation of a platform for future learning and practice in peace and conflict studies.