Viadrina Applied Peace and Conflict Studies (ViAPACS)

General Information

ViAPACS – Viadrina Applied Peace and Conflict Studies is a condensed study and training programme that complements the Bachelor's, Master's and PhD degrees at the European University Viadrina.

It offers an additional qualification for areas of politics, society, culture, science, law or business in which conflicts between different perspectives, interests and values are part of everyday work. In particular, the programme qualifies for the fields of diplomacy and peacebuilding, international cooperation, politics and administration, social dialogue and cultural work.

The ViAPACS combines the theoretical approach of peace and conflict studies with a hands-on training in conflict resolution and decision making. It provides key concepts and skills for dealing professionally with conflicts in work and private settings alike.

General Information 2

The programme is free of charge, taught in English and offered exclusively to students enrolled at Viadrina.

Whatever you study at Viadrina, you can combine it with the ViAPACS: for example, Cultural and Social Studies + ViAPACS, Recht und Politik + ViAPACS, Law + ViAPACS or Business Administration + ViAPACS etc.


The current round of our programme has already started. The programme is offered annually. If you are interested in participating, you may apply in November 2024. Here is how!

The ViAPACS programme will be of interest to you if you...

...want to complement your studies with basic knowledge and practical skills to deal professionally with diverging perspectives, competing interests and resulting conflicts and dilemmas.

...wish to work in the field of international cooperation, policy and administration, diplomacy and peacebuilding, social dialogue or a related field.

...are looking for an internship in an organization like the Foreign Office, the GIZ or a peacebuilding NGO.

What, how and who

The ViAPACS programme introduces into key concepts, models and methods of peace and conflict studies and conflict resolution practice. You will acquire theoretical knowledge and practical skills to handle conflicts in a constructive and responsible manner.

The programme focuses on conflicts in political and societal contexts. Most insights and skills will however also prove helpful in other areas of professional and private life, such as workplace disputes and interpersonal conflicts.

As a participant in the ViAPACS programme you will learn to analyze conflicts in a systematic fashion. You will practice how to moderate communication processes. You will learn and train to negotiate for your own interests or the interests of a client, a group or a superior you represent. You will practice mediating between conflicting parties. You will acquire skills for unlocking intractable decision dilemmas. And you will learn how to design tailor-made processes for these different purposes.

In addition to the modules on these topics, an internship of at least 4 (Minor Certificate) or 8 (Major Certificate) weeks is required. The internship allows you to apply, critically reflect on and further develop the newly acquired knowledge and skills.

For detailed information on the ViAPACS modules' content, please see the Module catalogue.

All modules consist of a 2-day interactive training course at Viadrina and complementary self-study tasks to be completed before and/or after the course on Moodle.

The highly interactive on-site seminars consist of short inputs, practical exercises, including simulations and role-plays, and debriefing sessions. This will allow you to translate challenge-based learning experiences into critical reflection, deeper understanding and practical skills.

The self-study tasks complementing each module provide additional opportunities to learn and reflect on your own and with your peers.

ViAPACS seminars are taught by a team of scholar-practitioners from the Viadrina Institute of Conflict Management and the Center for Peace Mediation, including:

In addition, conflict resolution practitioners and academic experts from relevant fields will join the courses as guest lecturers. They will come from various partner institutions, including the German Federal Foreign Office, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF), the Kyiv Mohyla Academy and other organizations.

You will study with students from all three faculties of Viadrina – Social and Cultural Sciences, Law and Economics – from BA, MA or PhD programmes. This brings a variety of personalities, perspectives, questions and experiences to the programme that will enrich the discussions, working groups and simulations in the course. It will also allow you to connect with other people on campus and build your own ViAPACS peer group. Therefore, to allow for a very personal working relationship, only up to 20 students are invited to participate each year based on their application.

 

Certificates and Study Plan

The ViAPACS programme consists of 6 modules offered over the period of one year: 3 modules in the first weeks of the winter term break and 3 modules in the last weeks of the summer term break.

  • Introduction to Applied Peace & Conflict Studies
  • Conflict Analysis
  • Communication
  • Negotiation
  • Mediation & Dialogue
  • Dilemma Management
  • For all dates at a glance, please have a look at our timeline for 2023-2025.


There are two options to complete the ViAPACS programme:

  • The ViAPACS Major Certificate (30 ECTS) includes participation in all 6 modules and an internship of at least 8 weeks
  • The ViAPACS Minor Certificate (18 ECTS) includes participation in 4 modules (introduction module plus 3 additional modules of your choice) and an internship of at least 4 weeks

Each module consists of a 2-day on-site seminar complemented by preparatory and follow-up self-study tasks on Moodle.

Students may start the mandatory internship as soon as they are enrolled to the ViAPACS. To acquire the certificate, students need to complete their internship while still enrolled at Viadrina, but no later than after one year of participation in the ViAPACS modules.

Modulübersicht von Viapacs

Module Catalogue

The first module invites students to explore the challenges of dealing with conflict in the political and societal context from various theoretical and practical perspectives.
It introduces into the overlapping fields of peace and conflict studies and conflict resolution practice and conveys knowledge about central concepts and constitutive controversies of these fields. Students acquire a basic set of analytical instruments that enable them to think systematically about conflicts and different ways to address them – in general and in the political-societal realm in particular.
Specific emphasis lies on a set of critical arguments that peace and conflict study scholars have leveled against existing conflict management and resolution practices, such as so-called Western “liberal peace” approaches, and their presumed cultural contingency and normative imperialism. Challenges of translating theory and norms into the practical reality of political and societal processes and vice versa will be brought into focus as well.
Against this background, students develop concrete critical questions pinpointing the key challenges of the field. In the following modules, they will use these questions as different lenses to read and understand the practice of conflict management and its complex preconditions and implications.

The second module is based on a practice-oriented understanding of conflict analysis, which defines it as any analysis that aims to investigate those aspects of a conflict that need to be understood to act and intervene in a conflict in a constructive and responsible way.
Students acquire theoretical insights into general conflict features, patterns, and dynamics. The module allows students to apply different conflict analysis methods (such as identifying interests behind actors’ stated positions) to a case study and critically reflect on the various merits and limits of such “tools”.
Moreover, the module will give room for indepth discussions of questions central to conflict analysis, such as what counts as and where to get reliable information; how conflict analysis determines conflict perception and, in consequence, also intervention approaches; and what practical implications result from this crucial role of conflict analysis.

According to Niklas Luhmann, the failure of communication is the norm, not the exception. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that failed communication is one of the key elements when analyzing, managing, and resolving conflicts. Although not all conflicts are caused by poor communication, good communication is central to conflict prevention as well as conflict resolution.
The fourth module provides insights into the different layers of communication, such as the content and the relational level. Students are provided with the opportunity to develop and refine moderation skills and communication skills in general. Those skills include active listening, differentiating between content and process questions and designing successful communication processes.
The module allows students to test and reflect their communication strategies in different types of challenging conflict situations. This will strengthen their ability to address controversial issues in an authentic, constructive and clarifying manner.

Negotiation is at the center of any conflict management and resolution effort. The third module intends to help students understand the central dynamics and the potentially dilemmatic nature of negotiations.
From their involvement in case scenario simulations and role plays, students learn to distinguish between the stages of value-creation and value-distribution and derive a structural framework that applies to negotiations in different contexts. The module is designed to help students acquire crucial micro-skills such as active listening and formulating interest profiles. Students will also develop an individual negotiator profile for each participant of the course and learn how to deal with typical negotiation pitfalls.
One of the challenges of negotiations in the socio-political sphere is the complexity of conflict issues and the resulting number of actors that need to be involved to reach and implement agreements. The module will provide students with basic knowledge of how to plan and structure a negotiation process in this environment: Who should talk with whom, in what kind of setting, in which sequence about which issues.

The fifth module provides students with a comprehensive overview of the mediation and dialogue field, also pointing out current dynamics and challenges. Students will get familiar with the spectrum of formats and procedures of conflict intervention, in particular mediation and dialogue.
Students will learn about concepts and models of mediation and dialogue and acquire hands-on skills in mediating and facilitating dialogue between conflict actors. A special focus will be on the interactive elaboration of interest profiles which are the key to the inner logic of conflicts and their potential resolution. In simulations and role plays exploring different political and societal case contexts, students will act in the role of mediators, dialogue facilitators and conflict parties.
Students will also further develop their understanding and capacity to compose tailor-made intervention approaches and design mediation and dialogue processes for the political and societal sphere.

In the sixth module, students learn to better understand and manage difficult decisions, dilemmas and goal conflicts in particular. They will gain knowledge about the cognitive, social, normative and institutional factors and dynamics that produce dilemmas and acquire a methodology for dealing constructively with intractable decision-making problems of all kinds.
This will allow students to learn about a broad set of strategies to manage, transform and sometimes even resolve dilemmas in practice. They will apply these strategies to typical dilemmas of the field such as: How to bring conflicting parties to the table who don't trust each other? Is it possible to negotiate with "terrorist" groups or war criminals without legitimizing their violent tactics? How to reach peace agreements without making unacceptable compromises on issues of justice?
Using these and dilemma scenarios from other - also their own - contexts, students will explore systematic yet creative ways to develop best possible and responsible solutions to intractable problems.

The internship module allows students to make own practical experiences in the field of international, regional or local conflict resolution and peacebuilding practice by working in an organization of their choice.
Here, students have multiple opportunities to apply concepts and skills learned in the program to real-world conflict themes, conflict regions and working contexts. As the political reality in conflict-driven environments is often highly volatile, ambivalent and challenging, the internship allows students to contextualize and rethink what they have learned in the program and further train their skills in real interaction settings. They will possibly also gain first insights into the role of group dynamics, hierarchy, power structures, or diversity in workplace conflict.
For more information, please see Internships.

Module Catalogue Info

Further information on the modules can be found in our module catalogue.

Internships

Studentin liest in einem Buch

ViAPACS increases the chances and facilitates exploration of concrete options regarding internships, but does neither represent a guarantee nor arrange internships for students - the internship must be organized from A-Z by the student him/herself.

Eligible for the internship are international, regional, local organizations, NGOs or ministries that deal with conflict resolution (e.g. mediation, conflict transformation, dialogue) in the field of diplomacy, peacebuilding, development cooperation, public policy, foreign/cultural policy, remembrance work, etc. The internship needs to be embedded into a unit or project that is explicitly focusing on the work on conflict. The internship organization must have been in existence for at least two years. The unit in which the internship is done must have at least three members of staff.

Organizations suitable for an internship include the German Federal Foreign Office, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ, ZIF, OSCE, CSSP or Kurve Wustrow. A list with contacts for organizing an internship in our partner organizations will be available soon.

Before starting the internship, please get in contact with the ViAPACS coordinator to check the suitability of the organization for the internship.
 
Please find more detailed information on the internship in the module catalogue and in the Certificate Regulations (english / german).

Crediting

Studentinnen blicken auf einen Laptop und studieren das Studierendenangebot

If your study programme at Viadrina contains a module “Praktische Fertigkeiten”, “Schlüsselkompetenzen” or “Soft Skills”, your examination board may take credit points earned in the ViAPACS programme into account.

For example, if your study programme requires you to complete 18 ECTS for a “Praktische Fertigkeiten”, “Schlüsselkompetenzen” or “Soft Skills” module, 18 ECTS from the ViAPACS (full Minor Certificate or part of the Major Certificate) might be counted for your degree.

If your study programme is not listed below, this means that we have not agreed on a framework for crediting ViAPACS modules in the respective study programme with your examination board. Not every study programme that includes “Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten”, “Schlüsselqualifikationen” or “Soft Skills” will credit ViAPACS modules on it. Of course, you can still conduct the ViAPACS programme, but if you would like to have the credits earned count towards your main degree please contact the respective examination board to discuss this issue.

In any case, please consult the examination office of your faculty to make sure that the ECTS credit applies to your degree.

Crediting ECTS from ViAPACS in your study programme is only possible after you completed the certificate.

ECTS Credits of Faculties

  • Rechtswissenschaft/B.A. of Laws:
    Module 3, 4, 5 & 6 can be credited with 1 SWS each (in total 4 SWS as "Schlüsselqualifikationsveranstaltung")
    § 28 Abs. 3 SPO
  • Bachelor programme "Recht und Politik | Politik und Recht":
    Modules 1-6 can be credited in Modul IV.3 as "Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten"
  • Bachelor programme "Recht und Wirtschaft | Wirtschaft und Recht"
    Module 3-6 can be credited with 3 ECTS each as "Soft Skills"
  • Bachelor programme "German and Polish Law":
    Module 3, 4, 5 & 6 can be credited with each 1 SWS as "Schlüsselqualifikationsveranstaltung", resulting in 2 ECTS credits for each module (SPO 2016) or 1,5 ECTS credits for each module (SPO 2021)
    § 5 Abs. 11 S. 2 SPO MdR vom 1.6.2016, § 7 Abs. 5 S. 2 SPO Master GPL vom 6.7.2016, § 6 Abs. 6 lit. b SPO MdR vom 26.5.2021, § 7 Abs. 5 lit. b SPO BA GPL vom 26.5.2021, § 7 Abs. 5 lit. b SPO Master GPL vom 26.5.2021
  • Master programme "German and Polish Law":
    Module 3, 4, 5 & 6 can be credited with each 1 SWS as "Schlüsselqualifikationsveranstaltung", resulting in 2 ECTS credits for each module (SPO 2016) or 1,5 ECTS credits for each module (SPO 2021)
    § 5 Abs. 11 S. 2 SPO MdR vom 1.6.2016, § 7 Abs. 5 S. 2 SPO Master GPL vom 6.7.2016, § 6 Abs. 6 lit. b SPO MdR vom 26.5.2021, § 7 Abs. 5 lit. b SPO BA GPL vom 26.5.2021, § 7 Abs. 5 lit. b SPO Master GPL vom 26.5.2021
  • Magister des Rechts:
    Module 3, 4, 5 & 6 can be credited with each 1 SWS as "Schlüsselqualifikationsveranstaltung", resulting in 2 ECTS credits for each module (SPO 2016) or 1,5 ECTS credits for each module (SPO 2021)
    § 5 Abs. 11 S. 2 SPO MdR vom 1.6.2016, § 7 Abs. 5 S. 2 SPO Master GPL vom 6.7.2016, § 6 Abs. 6 lit. b SPO MdR vom 26.5.2021, § 7 Abs. 5 lit. b SPO BA GPL vom 26.5.2021, § 7 Abs. 5 lit. b SPO Master GPL vom 26.5.2021

  • Bachelor programme "Recht und Politik | Politik und Recht":
    Modules 1-6 can be credited in Modul IV.3 as "Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten"
  • Bachelor programme "Kulturwissenschaften":
    Modules 1-6 can be credited with 3 ECTS each as "Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten" (up to 12 ECTS), module 7 (mandatory internship) can be credited with 6 ECTS as "Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten" (max. 18 ECTS in total)
  • Bachelor programme "Cultural and Social Studies":
    Modules 1-6 can be credited with 3 ECTS each as "Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten" (up to 12 ECTS), module 7 (mandatory internship) can be credited with 6 ECTS as "Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten" (max. 18 ECTS in total)
  • Master programme "Kultur und Geschichte Mittel- und Osteuropas":
    Modules 1-6 can be credited with 3 ECTS each and module 7 (mandatory internship) with 6/12 ECTS as "Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten" (max. 18 ECTS in total)
  • Master programme "Sprache – Medien – Gesellschaft":
    Modules 1-6 can be credited with 3 ECTS each and and module 7 (mandatory internship) with 6/12 ECTS as "Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten" (max. 18 ECTS in total); this is not valid for the track options "Linguistic Research" & "Intercultural Communication"
  • Master programme "Soziokulturelle Studien"
    Modules 1-6 can be credited with 3 ECTS each and module 7 (mandatory internship) with 6/12 ECTS as "Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten" (max. 18 ECTS in total)
  • Master programme "Literaturwissenschaft"
    Modules 1-6 can be credited with 3 ECTS each and module 7 (mandatory internship) with 6/12 ECTS as "Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten" (max. 18 ECTS in total)
  • Master programme "Geschichte der Moderne transkulturell"
    Modules 1-6 can be credited with 3 ECTS each and module 7 (mandatory internship) with 6/12 ECTS as "Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten" (max. 18 ECTS in total)
  • Master programme "Europäische Kulturgeschichte"
    Modules 1-6 can be credited with 3 ECTS each and module 7 (mandatory internship) with 6/12 ECTS as "Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten" (max. 18 ECTS in total)
  • Master programme "European Studies"
    Modules 1-6 can be credited with 3 ECTS each and module 7 (mandatory internship) with 6/12 ECTS as "Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten" (max. 18 ECTS in total)

"Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten" in the study programmes of the Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences generally comprise 18 ECTS credits (of which 6 ECTS credits are usually reserved for a mandatory internship). Therefore, only the ViAPACS Minor Certificate with 18 ECTS is eligible for full credit. The ViAPACS Major Certificate can of course also be acquired and is then creditable with 18 ECTS.

  • Bachelor programme "Internationale Betriebswirtschaftslehre"
    Module 1-6 can be credited with 3 ECTS each as "Soft Skills"
  • Bachelor programme "International Business Administration"
    Module 1-6 can be credited with 3 ECTS each as "Soft Skills"
  • Bachelor programme "Recht und Wirtschaft | Wirtschaft und Recht"
    Module 3-6 can be credited with 3 ECTS each as "Soft Skills"

Application

We now accept applications. If you are interested to join the program, please check our application criteria and send us the necessary documents until the 30th of November.

  • Intrinsic motivation to participate in the programme
  • Enrollment at the Viadrina
  • Very good knowledge of English (B2 in CEFR or higher / 85 in TOEFL or higher / Cambridge First Certificate in English, Unicert II)
  • Activities and experiences indicating a good match with the ViAPACS programme

  • Motivation letter (only one page) that explains your specific personal interest in the contents of ViAPACS and makes clear which professionally relevant skills you would like to acquire through the programme. The motivation letter should also describe your current course of study, including your major study areas.
  • Enrollment certificate of Viadrina
  • Proof of English language skills, either by B2 CEFR or equivalent type of certificate (more information in “Application Documents”) or through proof of at least six-month stay abroad in an English-speaking country
  • Curriculum Vitae (maximum two pages)
  • Please mention if you are applying for the Major or Minor programme of the ViAPACS. If you are applying for the Minor Certificate, please list your modules of choice.

All documents have to be sent in one pdf-file. Please indicate in your application from which source you learned about the programme.

All information on the formal requirements for the application can be found in the Certificate Regulations (english / german).

 Zeitstrahl Viapacs

 

We will offer 20 places. You will be informed whether we can offer you a place in the ViAPACS programme until the 15th of December 2023. For further dates and the schedule of the programme please find our timeline for 2023-2025.

If you have questions, please check our Q&A section first. If you don't find an answer there, don't hesitate to contact us via ViAPACS@europa-uni.de

FAQs

You will learn key concepts, models and methods of both peace and conflict studies and conflict resolution practice. You will acquire skills and knowledge for a constructive and responsible handling of conflicts.

  • How to analyze conflicts
  • How to moderate communication processes
  • How to negotiate for one‘s own interests
  • How to mediate between conflicting parties
  • How to unlock intractable dilemmas
  • How to design tailor-made processes for these different purposes

Each seminar will be two days in person and work with highly interactive teaching methods. In addition to short inputs the focus will be set on practical exercises, debriefing sessions, group work, simulations and interactive discussions. The seminars will be taught by an interdisciplinary team of academic experts with practical experience in various fields of conflict management.

In the second programme cycle, the seminars will take place as follows:

  • Introduction to Applied Peace and Conflict Studies: February 27 & 28, 2024
  • Conflict Analysis: March 4 & 5, 2024
  • Communication: March 11 & 12, 2024
  • Negotiation: September 3 & 4, 2024
  • Mediation and Dialogue: September 10 & 11, 2024
  • Dilemma Management: October 1 & 2, 2024

The seminars will start at 10am on both days and in person in the university. Further dates of the program can be found in our timeline for 2023-2025.

Approximately one month before the winter and the summer block you will get access to the e-learning platform of the ViAPACS modules. The e-learning tasks for each block have to be completed before the first seminar takes place. The tasked will help to understand the theoretical and conceptual foundation of the topics addressed in the modules. Some tasks might need to be completed after a seminar. The workload will be manageable in your main study courses.

The programme will be offered on a yearly basis.

You need to actively participate in 4/6 modules (Minor/Major Certificate), including the pass/fail online test, and complete an internship of at least 4/8 weeks (Minor/Major Certificate), including a structured documentation of the internship.

Please find all detailed information on the formal requirements for obtaining the certificates in the Certificate Regulations (english / german).

If your study programme is not listed here, this means that we have not agreed on a framework for crediting ViAPACS modules in the respective study programme with your examination board. Not every study programme that includes “Praxisrelevante Fertigkeiten”, “Schlüsselqualifikationen” or “Soft Skills” will credit ViAPACS modules on it. Of course, you can still conduct the ViAPACS programme, but if you would like to have the credits earned count towards your main degree please contact the respective examination board to discuss this issue.

No. You can also participate and acquire ViAPACS ECTS without including them in your study programme.

No, internships you have completed before your enrollment in the ViAPACS programme cannot be credited.

Eligible for the internship are international, regional, local organizations, NGOs or ministries that deal with conflict resolution, mediation or transformation in the field of diplomacy, peacebuilding, development cooperation, public policy, foreign/cultural policy and remembrance work or the like. The internship needs to be embedded into a unit or project that is explicitly linked to the work on conflict.

Please see also Internships.

You can also look for internships abroad, we do not limit your options to German organizations. Most organizations in the international field work in English and do not require German language skills. More information on internships will be given to the participants at the first Get-to-Know meeting.

This is possible, as long as the internship fulfills all requirements of both programmes. Please check back with the Career Center or your examination office regarding your main degree and also with the ViAPACS coordination to ensure suitability in advance.

Yes, you can participate regardless of your current study progress. The only requirement from our side is continuous enrollment at Viadrina over the time of your participation in the ViAPACS program.

You can prove your English language skills in two ways: either with a certificate showing your level of English or a proof of at least six-month stay abroad in an English-speaking country.

Following certificates are accepted:

  • CEFR, at least B2
  • TOEFL, at least 85 points
  • Cambridge First Certificate in English
  • IELTS Certificate, at least 6.0 points
  • UNICERT II

In justified cases that prevent you from completing the course as scheduled (e.g., disabilities, illness, stay abroad, part-time studies, maternity and parental leave, care for children or close relatives), we can grant an exception to the deadlines and dates applicable to the course upon your request (grant of an extension, post-ponement or appropriate subsitute performance). For further information on compensations due to disability or chronical illness please contact us or the counselling service für students with health impairments (barrierefrei@europa-uni.de).

Please note, that you must inform us immediately and in writing (ViAPACS@europa-uni.de) as soon as the reasons are known and submit relevant documents to substantiate your request. Moreover, enrollment at Viadrina is a prerequisite for participation in the programme and obtaining the certificate. Therefore, we recommend that you start early enough with the ViAPACS programme to be able to complete the programme before your exmatriculation from Viadrina.

Please see also the Certificate Regulations (english / german).

Since the modules must be taken in a specific order, you will not be able to participate in the programme cycle this year. You must start with the modules in the winter term before you can participate in the summer term modules. Therefore, we recommend that you apply next year if you can complete the modules in the mandatory sequence.

Contact

Institute for Conflict Management / Center for Peace Mediation

Program Director: Dr. Anne Holper
Coordination Lead: Jutta Angelmaier
Didactics & Curriculum: Mario Clemens