About Peacebuilding Programs

OVERVIEW

The IRCP assists the Peacebuilding Department at Payap University in providing three academic programs specializing in both practical and theoretical peace studies: a four-year PhD in Peacebuilding, a two year “dissertation only” PhD program in Peacebuilding, and a one year graduate certificate program.

You can learn more about our programs here.

Our goal is to be a center for Southeast Asia in Peace Studies teaching and research.

History

In 2009, the IRCP launched a PhD in Peacebuilding that was the first PhD program offered at Payap University. Students came from all over the world to study, seeking to complete their dissertations and gain a deeper understanding of cultural and sociological issues, as well as inter-religious and intra-religious issues affecting the peace process in some of the most challenging situations in the world. The PhD in Peacebuilding was relaunched in 2016 with a new round of students who began their courses in August 2016.

This international course of study, conducted in English, is Thailand’s premiere doctorate program in the field. In the Peace Studies program, we envision a world of open minds and hearts which choose peace. Our Peace Studies Programs are committed to empowering inspired visionaries across a wide spectrum of professions and cultural backgrounds to develop leading edge concepts in the burgeoning field of conflict transformation. The program of study is designed for both academic endeavors as well as practice-based Peace Studies.

Starting in 2020, the Department of Peacebuilding has been offered three academic programs: a four-year PhD Program in Peacebuilding (coursework and dissertation), a two-year PhD program in Peacebuilding (dissertation only), and a Certificate Program in Peacebuilding.

Rationale

The worldwide increase in recent decades of violent and potentially violent conflicts has given rise to a number of programs in the field of Peace Studies at several major universities. These programs research and study the various causes of violence as well as the means by which many have attempted to resolve them. In addition to research and study centers, organizations devoted to the specific purpose of mediating conflicts through dialogue and other means have also been established.

Ideally, these theoretical and practical aspects of peace work should complement each other and thereby increase the chance of success in bringing peace in the world. Unfortunately this is often not the case. There seems to be a disconnect between theory and practice that has resulted in fewer successes than there should be considering the resources and energy that has been put into this work. What is now needed is a rethinking and a joining together of the theoretical and practical aspects of Peacemaking/Peace Studies.

Mission and Vision

The program will consist of a rigorous study of the theoretical side of Peace Studies combined with experiential fieldwork in the area of conflict transformation and resolution. The objective of this program is to develop ways in which theory and practice can be combined in ways that provide a better and more cohesive grounding for both theoretical Peace Studies and actual Peace Studies.

Rather than being “study for study’s sake”, it will be “study for practice’s sake”. Thus, it is analogous to advanced academic programs provided by schools of medicine, social work, music, and architecture. Reflective study resulting in a thorough knowledge of theories of Peace Studies is the starting point of the program; this is then followed by and combined with critical evaluation and the development of new improved theories.

An important and distinguishing aspect of this program which differs from many other programs in the field of Peace Studies is the attention given to the relationship between “religiousness” and Peace Studies. One of the assumptions underlying the program’s emphasis on religious diversity and relationships is that religious and cultural dialogue can contribute to peaceful relations among different communities. Human “religiousness” can thus become a positive force for peace.