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INCORE: Courses: PGDip/MSc in Applied Peace and Conflict Studies


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Graduates from the programme have gone on to have a wide variety of careers and jobs. Here are a few examples:



Ashleen Williams,
Previous Student, MSc Peace and Conflict Studies.


After finishing my studies with INCORE at the University of Ulster, I moved to Yemen for a brief period and have now settled in Doha, Qatar. In Doha I am a Georgetown Arabic Language Fellow at Qatar University, which allows me the opportunity to pursue advanced understanding of the language as well as time to read and delve into areas of intellectual interest. I had the opportunity to study with INCORE through the US-Ireland Alliance as a George J. Mitchell Scholar, and my time in Derry/Londonderry proved to be invaluable. While studying at INCORE I had the opportunity to explore the legacy of the Troubles, and to see what types of comparisons could be drawn with the current conflicts in the Middle East. The year before I started my education in Northern Ireland, I was a U.S. Fulbright Student in the Kingdom of Bahrain. My experiences in Bahrain, coupled with the theoretical understandings gained from the Masters program, have shaped my academic interests. Now as I travel, and conduct research, in various areas of the world I find myself referencing the theoretical and practical skills gained during my studies with INCORE.

 



Leslie Wilmart Angelo,
Brussels 07/12/11


Since, I finished my MA in Peace and Conflict Studies in 2002, I joined UN and EU Missions in Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, Serbia, Haiti and Iraq. Until recently, and for the last 5 years, I have led the Human Rights and Gender Unit for the EU Integrated Rule of Law Mission for Iraq based in Brussels.The role involved developing human rights and gender policies that were both in line with international standardswhile remaining practical and applicable to the context of Iraq. I am now working as a Senior Advisor in Peacebuilding for a consultancy firm.

Dealing with conflicts remains one of the major challenges of the world today. Conflicts take different forms and no two conflicts are the same. The MA in Peace and Conflict Studies armed me with the necessary tools for understanding causes of conflicts and work towards achievable solutions. Not only is the MA course an important tool for those wanting to work in the area of peace building and reconstruction, is it also a good platform for developing further skills, in my case human rights and gender. Finally, the MA was a great human experience where people from different walks of life were able to exchange ideas, learn from each other and build lasting friendships.



 

Ben Cote,
DC law firm.
(pictured with Senator George Mitchell)


The Masters program in Peace and Conflict Studies has been invaluable for my career. First, the graduate degree itself immediately qualified me to work in public service nationally and internationally. After my studies, my MA was extremely helpful in gaining competitive positions as a Capital City Fellow for the city of Washington, DC, and a Geneva Externship at the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development.

Secondly, the program had direct application to working on the ground. I spent a significant amount of time in Sri Lanka, where I worked with National Peace Council, a domestic peacebuilding NGO. There I used my MA syllabus to help design a syllabus for a Sri Lankan university's peace and conflict studies program, drafted pieces on conflict analysis, and helped create a program on pluralism that is still in existence. Later, as an independent researcher for the Council for Public Policy in Colombo, I published a research paper for track-two nonprofit that drew heavily on my education in Northern Ireland for peace within a unitary state framework.

After Sri Lanka I received a law degree from the University of Michigan and currently I work in an international trade practice group at a law firm in DC. I plan to continue to work in areas surrounding international disputes, and I am confident that the benefits of my experience with the MA program will continue to accrue.



 

Maureen Hetherington,
Director, The Junction: Towards Understanding and Healing.


In the early 90s I enrolled in a Postgraduate Degree and Masters in Peace Studies at the Magee Campus, University of Ulster. I was employed as a Community Relations Office for Derry City Council at that time and I needed to develop critical thinking skills and a good theoretical framework for the work I was engaged in.

The knowledge and critical thinking skills developed through the Peace Studies Programme has been invaluable to me and given me confidence to do the work. I have headed up several major projects, examples include:

  • The Junction: Community Relations Resource and Peace Building Centre
  • Seeing Sense: Prejudice Challenge Face On: Educational Resources for post-primary schools (a copy of which has been placed in every post-primary school across NI.
  • Towards Understanding and Healing: Dealing with the Past through Storytelling and Positive Encounter Dialogue (includes a comprehensive training resource).
  • Ethical and Shared Remembering: Commemoration in a New Context: Remembering a Decade of Change and Violence 1912 – 1922.

I have also been a Board member of the Community Relations Council, NI for seven years, and served as Chair in the Communications Sub-Committee and Chair of the Victims and Survivors Grant Aid Programme. I have sat on many boards and organisations driving forward a peace agenda and engaged with local, regional, national and international organisations. I have had the privilege of delivering lectures and workshops in many countries and two universities abroad have implemented our training resources as part of their curriculum.



 

Jennifer C Cornell,
Reads Well Editing & Student Support Services, Belfast


I received my MA in Peace Studies from the University of Ulster in 1991.  Doing the degree part-time allowed me to explore each module without haste; as a consequence, my time at Magee is among my best ever as a student. The most valuable lesson I took from the programme was to read from the long and excellent lists provided only what interested me, and to abandon anything that did not hold my attention. This enormously liberating suggestion made possible the discovery of books on either side of the titles for which I’d been searching which often proved as stimulating and relevant as those on the list. Through that process, and guided by mentors who approved and encouraged exploration into other fields, I refined my interest in (among other things) the contact hypothesis, Education for Mutual Understanding, the character of grief and the management of memory, the role of forgiveness in conflict transformation, and the representation of Northern Ireland in film and fiction.

These themes informed my own work as a fiction writer (see Departures, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995) and shaped the content of many of the courses I taught as a professor of English at Oregon State University (1994 – 2004), including several on the language and literature of political violence. Since then, my Peace Studies background has helped me secure a post as Community Support Coordinator with Greater Shankill Alternatives, a community-based restorative justice organisation that seeks to develop non-violent responses to low-level crime and anti-social behaviour (2004 – 2009), work which has led to my current involvement with the District Policing Partnership and other community development projects throughout North Belfast. Thanks to the multi-disciplinary nature of Peace Studies, I also am able to serve as a useful critic on a wide range of subjects in the arts, humanities and social sciences, a skill on which my business, Reads Well Editing & Student Support Services, is based.

 


 

Ibrahim Elshamy,
Studying at Stanford Law School, California


The degree program in Peace and Conflict Studies had a deep impact on my studies and career choices. By studying the underlying theories of conflict, and grounding those ideas in the specific study of conflicts in Northern Ireland and around the world, I gained an important perspective on the root causes of pervasive social problems and auspicious examples of how to transform these challenges. This growth process was guided by excellent faculty and alongside dedicated peers.

Living in Derry/Londonderry stands out in my memory as an extraordinary experience, particularly meeting and talking to veterans from several “sides” of the protracted conflict. This lens was especially meaningful in January 2011, when I joined a commemorative march for those killed on “Bloody Sunday”—while, at the same time, thousands of miles away, civil rights protestors were marching for freedom in Egypt. The solidarity between these struggles was on full display that day, and the interconnected nature of these shared human aspirations of peace, justice, and liberty made studies in Peace and Conflict feel evermore relevant.

Pursuing this relevance, the year following coursework I moved to Cairo for my dissertation research on community efforts to organize for political and social change in post-revolutionary Egypt. Both the M.A. program and process of field research strengthened my understanding of important, institutional mechanisms that protect hard-fought gains in society. In particular, active involvement in the legal system, and encouraging equitable economic growth and development, arose regularly as vital mechanisms to safeguard these gains.

To learn more about these powerful tools of law in this work, I currently study at Stanford Law School in California. The underlying frameworks of Peace and Conflict Studies have contributed meaningfully to my legal training, and I aim to take the lessons I learned, both in the classroom and from the wisdom of people, and apply it to my future work of addressing access to opportunity, economic inequity, and other root causes of conflict. I am very grateful for my experiences in Northern Ireland, and I keep those lessons close to my heart.

 


 

Barry Fennell,
Project Manager with Co-operation Ireland’s Programme Delivery team


Following completion of my Masters in Peace Studies back in the late nineties I worked with a number of local organisations and have carried out a number of community orientated roles. I have worked with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Royal Mail in Belfast as well as working voluntarily with Saint’s Youth Centre in Twinbrook where I obtained my Open College Network Level 2 & 3 qualifications in Youth Development.

Currently, I am Project Manager with Co-operation Ireland’s Programme Delivery team. Co-operation Ireland is an all-island peace-building charity and voluntary organisation working within the field of conflict transformation and developmental work.

Through my role with Co-operation Ireland I have worked in a supportive and developmental role with a number of groups from marginalised and interface areas, that has involved a managed process of contact, experiential learning and reflection with the support of participants, partner groups, local stakeholders and other agencies working on themed areas and real issues.

I have had experience of dealing with difference as well as equality, diversity and identity issues and organisational/experiential learning through project design and development activities. The postgraduate course at Magee gave me the foundation and the opportunity to explore a number of peacebuilding approaches and strategies but more importantly gave me the experience of shared learning from other students and an opportunity to explore a wide range of perspectives and theories.

I have been able to deepen and extend my facilitation, project management, group-work, advice and support skills and experiences with a range of community groups. I have also developed a range of collaborative and innovative project work between Co-operation Ireland and the Army Welfare Service (AWS) within Northern Ireland, providing and delivering a groundbreaking practice of engagement for those from the forces/services’ and traditional/host communities. This new partnership work of both Co-operation Ireland and AWS utilises non-formal education methodologies, based on learning by doing, using a range of progressive developmental activities including interactive activities, on-line collaborative experiences, joint workshops, discussion and progressive community engagement which has never been done before. For the first time as part of the peace programme here a community and voluntary organisation is working with the military community.

I have also tutored part-time for Queens University’s Open Learning Programme in Cultural Diversity, Conflict Management and Community Development (Equality, Governance and Citizenship Studies) offering accredited short courses for adult learners.

Areas of Interest
Conflict Resolution Processes, Conflict Transformation, Community Leadership, Community Development & Education, Interactive and Experiential Learning, Political Processes, Identity, Group Dynamics, Communal Divisions, Mediation, music, poetry, facilitation, youth work, and football.


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