Summer Peacebuilding Institute Master’s Program

Learner-Centered Training for Conflict Transformation

Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) is a leader among faith-based universities emphasizing peacebuilding, creation care, experiential learning, and cross-cultural engagement.

One of EMU’s graduate programs is The Center for Justice and Peace (CJP). This program is committed to supporting conflict transformation, restorative justice, trauma healing, development, organizational leadership, and peacebuilding efforts at all levels of society in situations of complex, protracted, violent or potentially violent, social conflict in the U.S. and around the world.

From 2005 to 2015, Global Learning Partners (GLP) had the honor of being part of the CJP program, the Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI). This summer graduate program is internationally respected and renowned. Recognizing the potential of Dialogue Education™ in this important area of study and work, SPI invited GLP to teach the course: Designing Learner-Centered Training for Conflict Transformation for 10 years.

The Project

The GLP/SPI course examined and used the principles and practices of Dialogue Education (DE)™ to design learner-centered trainings with a focus on learning events that involve conflict transformation and peacebuilding.

The class focused primarily on peacebuilding program creation and the practice of DE principles as well as the exploration of adult learning theory. Learners researched and experienced a model for planning learner-centered events and tried out a planning framework that accounts for the people involved, the reason the program was developed and the desired change that is envisioned.

The course built on the work of Paulo Freire and Jane Vella, among others.

The Value

The value for the students and all the organizations, groups and countries they represent was profound. Beside going back to their work and lives around the world with new skills and knowledge that helped build more peace and led to more dialogue in conflict and challenging situations, they also went back with life-changing courses/training programs they could used right away. Here are few training programs designed in this course and used since:

  • a restorative justice program for prison officials in US prisons
  • a trauma healing training for high school teachers in Haiti
  • a conflict mediation training program for UN Police Officials in Mali
  • healing and reconciliation program for ex-combatants in Liberia
  • an active citizens camp for children and teenagers in Lebanon.

My life has been changed, and now I feel I have the skills to change my society.” (SPI student)


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