Transboundary Conflict Sensitivity & Community Organizations on the border of Panama and Costa Rica
This course is designed for students with a specific interests in peacebuilding, transnational security, international development and environmental studies, but is open to students in all MSGA concentrations. It would be helpful — though not necessary — for students to have some background understandings of peacebuilding, conflict-sensitive development or conflict assessment. Though it may be beneficial to have some familiarity with the Spanish language, students do not need to speak or understand Spanish to take the course.
Students will have a unique opportunity to conduct a field-based conflict assessment in a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Parque Internacional La Amistad (International Friendship Park) on the border of Panama and Costa Rica. The course not only will help students to gain practical field research experience, but also will enable them to explore conflict-sensitive conservation initiatives.
During the field portion of the course, students will interview a diverse range of stakeholders while working as a team to generate and analyze data on which the assessment Â will be based. The course also will involve: homestays with local families; meetings with Indigenous community members; day hikes in rainforest biodiversity hotspots; and an opportunity to explore a sustainable organic coffee cooperative.
Develop familiarity with practice of conducting a field-based conflict assessment.
Build qualitative research skills through interviews with a diverse range of stakeholders: indigenous community
members, local NGO leaders, National Park Rangers, organic coffee cooperative community members, and
Gain an understanding of International Peace Parks: how they are created, managed and utilized as a tool of
environmental conservation, community based development, cross border collaboration and ecotourism.
Experience the cultures of Costa Rica and Panama through trekking in Parque Internacional La Amistad with Park Rangers, learning with local community organizations about their projects and their relationships to the International Peace Park, and enjoying unique traditions in meals, music and sport through cross cultural homestays.
Community Organizations and Networks
Students will have a unique opportunity to conduct a field-based conflict assessment in a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Parque Internacional La Amistad (International Friendship Park) on the border of Panama and Costa Rica. The course not only will help students to gain practical field research experience, but also will enable them to explore conflict-sensitive conservation initiatives. During the field portion of the course, students will interview a diverse range of stakeholders while working as a team to generate and analyze data on which the assessment will be based.
Thomas Hill is a peacebuilding practitioner with a decade of experience focusing on Iraq. Since 2003, he has made more than 20 visits to that country and has overseen the design, development, and implementation of a series of interrelated research and educational projects focused on the development of sustainable peace. Hill leads CGA's new peacebuilding concentration, which he helped to establish. Hill's work is devoted to universities' role as actors and sites for peacebuilding. In partnership with the University of Duhok in Iraq, he directs a two-year project at CGA titled, Building Capacity of Iraqi Academics in Peacebuilding Instruction and Practice, and teaches such courses as Networks as Capacities for Peace, and Peacemaking and Peacebuilding.
Founder and Executive Director of International Peace Park Expeditions, Inc.
Chair of IPPE Inc Board of Directors, 2010 to Present.
Walters has adapted Peace & Conflict Impact Assessment methodology to transboundary protected areas, and produced short documentary films in the Transcending Boundaries series which portray multiple stakeholder perspectives concerning environmental peacebuilding in transboundary protected areas. Walters is also a member of the Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature where he is developing a practitioners training curriculum on Transboundary Conservation best practices and is a Fellow at the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security. Walters is a National Outdoor Leadership School certified adventure guide with wilderness first responder emergency medical training, has led expeditions in dozens of countries around the globe, and has published a number of chapters and articles on Environmental Peacebuilding.
Peace & Conflict Impact Assessment
Students will conduct interviews with a diverse range of stakeholders and work in small groups to complete a Stakeholder Matrix, a Peacebuilding Matrix and a Conflict Matrix
Each Student will complete a publishable blog entry on their experience of a certain day of the expedition