Curriculum - Particular Academic Objectives

Based on the spirit of the UNESCO Manifesto 2000 the program offers specific qualifications in the areas of peace, development, security and conflict transformation. The classes cover aspects of energetic, moral, modern and post-modern understandings of peaces and related fields. However, according to its scientific, intercultural, interdisciplinary and practical approach this program focuses more than anything on transrational interpretations of peaces, because we believe that these twist and integrate all the other aspects. An explanation of this philosophical approach will be offered in every introductory course.

Therefore we opt for an elicitive method of conflict transformation as proposed by John Paul Lederach. The whole curriculum is built according to this principle. This implies a shift away from prescriptive methods of conflict transformation as modern and post-modern schools mostly offer them. Elicitive methods trust in the transpersonal intelligence of people. Skilful mediators in our understanding are reflective practitioners rather than rote technicians. And this is what we want to educate in our program: reflective practitioners of elicitive methods of conflict transformation with the awareness of transrational peaces.

The way to such an understanding of peaces always begins with the perspective of the observer. If we feel called to intervene into the maybe unpeaceful affairs of others we should be most aware of our personal condition. This program does not believe in neutral, objective mediators, but we think that transpersonal relations begin inside every person involved, including the mediator. If conflicts are not perceived as technical mistakes of the “machine society”, which we can fix with our technical prescriptions, it becomes easy to identify the perspective of the mediator, who is always part of the conflicting system, as the starting point. Students of this program will be provided with the opportunity to go right through their own identity to this starting point. Once they graduate they will be perfectly skilled for elicitive methods of peace work and conflict transformation.

Our program aims to provide participants with an awareness of the multiple cultural and regional perspectives. Therefore we invite students and professors from all over the world to our University. They are living together at the Grillhof and at the other training camps. Although the courses reflect the high quality of our international faculty, a significant portion of the education occurs outside the seminars. Since peace, development, security and international conflict transformation is an interdisciplinary subject our students have backgrounds in a variety of traditional academic fields in addition to peace studies. Unlike most modern universities, this program understands that students themselves are valuable sources of information. Therefore, in addition to a standard education transferred by professors and scripts, we also cultivate a more horizontal approach to education, where students can teach each other. The program wants to challenge students both inside and outside the classroom. Given the diverse faculty and student body, we hold this approach to be very effective and challenging for both students and faculty. It creates an environment in which conversations among students and faculty continue in a small community. This stimulates the growth of a "community of scholars", that is particularly rich because of its diversity. There is a good reason, after all, that many students call their group a “family” and that lifelong friendships begin with their common experiences in this program.