Peace Studies (Minor)

Program Description

The Peace Studies Program examines the factors that foster or undermine peace at all levels: communities, nations, individuals. The program is motivated by the conviction that understanding the complex dynamics of peace and conflict can facilitate the work of making the world a more just and safer place.

Designed as multidisciplinary, the Peace Studies Program seeks to draw on the insights and methods potentially from all fields of knowledge in order to examine the sources of conflicts and the strategies of prevention and resolution, from local grass-roots engagement to global activism and international diplomacy. The Program encourages meshing the study of ‘material’ and ‘virtual’ factors, the socioeconomic and psychological dynamics, legal procedures and physical planning—in principle, all that may affect peace and conflict. This might be called the operational side of conflict prevention.

Yet the human dream of peace translates into the big questions developed in the humanities: Can war ever be just? Can the priority of peace ever be used as a tool to preserve unjust institutions? How could artistic creativity and philosophical reflection foster peacebuilding? Broadly, these questions could be addresses by relevant courses rooted in the humanities and arts.

The ideas and issues addressed by the Peace Studies minor include:

  • the challenges and strategies involved in conflict resolution
  • the costs of conflict and the reconstruction of post-conflict societies from economic, social, psychological, and legal perspectives
  • the psychological dimensions of conflict, prejudice, cooperation, and reconciliation
  • transitional justice and law
  • international law and governance
  • emergency responses to humanitarian crises
  • migration and refugee problems
  • post-conflict state-building
  • post-conflict economic development
  • disarmament, diplomacy, social movements
  • the ethics of war and peace
  • the history of wars and peacemaking
  • artistic responses to war and roles for art in peacebuilding
  • preserving cultural heritage in conflicted contexts
  • arts and music as cultural diplomacy in post-conflict zones
  • soft power, hard power, and smart power strategies

The Program draws on courses in all four NYUAD academic divisions: Arts and Humanities, Social Science, Engineering, and Science. It also encompasses pre-professional courses in Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship. Students interested in the anthropological understanding of cultures, international relations, comparative politics, economic development, cybersecurity and engineering for social impact, social justice and public service, the arts and humanities may find special relevance in the Peace Studies Program.