Ranjan K Baruah
North Easter region has been witnessing conflicts for many decades now. Though conflicts have reduced yet we can’t say that it has completely ended. Conflict leads to violence which results in loss of live and properties. Peace is must for a civil society and for the progress of humanity. As a subject one may choose peace and conflicts studies who are committed to bring change through research, advocacy and campaign after knowing and learning the facts. Peace and conflict studies is a social science field that identifies and analyses violent and nonviolent behaviours as well as the structural mechanisms attending conflicts (including social conflicts) with a view towards understanding those processes which lead to a more desirable human condition. A variation on this, peace studies, is an interdisciplinary effort aiming at the prevention, de-escalation, and solution of conflicts by peaceful means, thereby seeking “victory” for all parties involved in the conflict. This is in contrast to war studies which has as its aim on the efficient attainment of victory in conflicts, primarily by violent means to the satisfaction of one or more, but not all, parties involved. Disciplines involved may include philosophy, political science, geography, economics, psychology, sociology, international relations, history, anthropology, religious studies, and gender studies, as well as a variety of others. Relevant sub-disciplines of such fields, such as peace economics, may be regarded as belonging to peace and conflict studies also.
Political Science Department of Gauhati University also offers courses related to Peace and Conflict Studies. TISS Guwahati campus also offers MA in Peace and Conflict Studies. The programme has been conceptualised keeping in mind TISS’ philosophy and commitment to bring about social change and justice. It aims to produce high calibre graduates with practical and theoretical knowledge of violence and peace and seeks to develop critical skills in research, advocacy, and communication on issues of peace and conflict. This course aspires to go beyond strategic/security and international conflict dimensions of peace and conflict studies.
The Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace & Conflict Resolution at Jamia Millia Islamia was launched in 2004 and was one of the first of its kind in an Indian university. Its chief focus is comparative and contemporary studies, and it aims to address the lack of serious and purposeful analysis of types and sources of conflict in our country and neighbourhood, and the methods of dealing with them that India has adopted. Many other universities in India and abroad offers courses related to peace and conflict studies.
There are institutes like Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. Founded in 1996 as an independent think tank, the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), is one of the premier research institutes and think tanks on South Asia. It continues to be one of the leading independent institutes in the region with no affiliation to a particular institution and/or ideology.
University for Peace: On 5 December 2015, the United Nations-mandated University for Peace commemorated its 35th anniversary. Established by the United Nations General Assembly through its resolution 35/55, the University’s mission is “to provide humanity with an international institution of higher education for peace and with the aim of promoting among all human beings the spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence, to stimulate cooperation among peoples and to help lessen obstacles and threats to world peace and progress, in keeping with the noble aspirations proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations. “
The original vision of the University for Peace and its mission are still relevant, perhaps more than ever. The authorities that imagined and delineated the role of the University stressed that “the persistence of war in the history of mankind and the growing threats against peace in recent decades jeopardize the very existence of the human species and require peace not to be conceived as a negative concept, as the end of conflict or as a simple diplomatic compromise, but that it should be conquered and secured through the most valuable and effective resource that man possesses: education.” Likewise, they reaffirmed that peace is an inalienable right achieved through education. Disarmament efforts are essential, but they will not be successful without a major effort in the field of education; this is the challenge faced by nations and humanity as a whole in the 21st century.
The writer is a career mentor, skill trainer and motivational speaker and can be reached at [email protected]