Course Description

Course Name

Creative Conflict Resolution

Session: VSJW1120

Hours & Credits

60 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


Course name: Creative Conflict Resolution
Course code: COMM 3070
Total contact hours: 60 hours

A multicultural, gender sensitive course designed for students who wish to learn strategies and techniques in thought and behavior transformations for conflict resolution. The course focuses on techniques to bring about positive focused changes through continuous experiences in community building and self-improvement. The course is based on the Alternatives to Violence Project; a program started in NY State in the seventies. CEPPA Foundation, Center for Peace Studies, has implemented this program in Costa Rica, Switzerland and other Latin American countries since 1990. Using a participatory and interactive methodology, emphasis is made on the following themes: Self-esteem and self-care, communication skills, cooperation, community building and conflict resolution, including mediation, bias awareness and cultural diversity. Mandatory fieldwork sessions will be conducted at a school, a communal group or a penal institution.

1. To learn about efforts for inner peace, group and community peace, particularly in situations of violence.
2. To be conscious and aware of violence in its hidden and overt manifestations in the different cultural backgrounds, with emphasis on crimes of gender and racial and religious differences.
3. To understand and manage conflict in order to shape more effective and productive responses.
4. To provide practice in basic skills of conflict resolution.
5. To read and share views and perspectives on the work of different writers.
6. To learn concepts and skills to resolve conflicts successfully.
7. To examine beliefs, attitudes and behaviors related to different forms of conflict and violence due to culture, gender and religion.
8. To learn feedback and debriefing skills in order to improve performance and understanding.
9. To carry learned skills to a group of choice (school, women, community leaders or prisoners in a Costa Rican scenario) and measure this intervention.

Students who successfully complete this course should develop an awareness of:
a) Key challenges and opportunities associated with self-esteem, self-care, self-confidence and self-discipline, particularly related to the different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds represented in the group and in Costa Rica, with emphasis on the traditional burdens imposed to women, persons of color and peoples from third world countries.
b) Cooperation and community building.
c) Violence in its hidden and overt manifestations in the different cultural backgrounds, particularly on crimes of gender and race.
d) The values, perceptions, experiences, and assumptions related to cultural and intercultural backgrounds including racism.
Students who successfully complete this course should develop knowledge of:
a) Contents and positions of some ?peace studies? authors.
b) Non-violent communication skills.
c) The vocabulary and practice of conflict resolution.
d) Agenda writing according to group needs and expectations
e) The basic principles of mediation.
f) The nature and burdens of poverty, racism and sexism in Costa Rica.
Students who successfully complete this course should develop skills in:
a) Active listening and questioning techniques
b) The use of drama and role-play in conflict
c) Mediation and transformative mediation
d) Feedback and debriefing following class exercises and conflict management

The course in carried out in workshops, using Experiential and Participatory Methodology.
Electronic devices:
The use of cell phones, smart phones, or other mobile communication devices is disruptive, and is therefore prohibited during class. Please turn all devices OFF and put them away when class begins. Devices may be used ONLY when the professor assigns a specific activity and allows the use of devices for internet search or recording. Those who fail to comply with the rule must leave the classroom for the remainder of the class period.
EPM is the core of AVP since its very beginning in the 70?s. In the last two decades it has been extended to several disciplines and now it is known as an umbrella term for a set of approaches that stress the importance of taking students? perspectives into account giving them a greater say in planning and exercise and evaluation processes. In addition, the students decide together how to measure results and what contents should have agendas for their own particular groups or institutions. The emphasis on EPM goes beyond the choice of particular methods, exercises and techniques to wider consideration of how to transform violence in the classroom, the family and the community1.

This course is structured for International Students attending the Study Abroad program at Universidad Veritas. However, courses are not exclusive to foreigners so a few native student could enroll in this course.
1 ?Those seeking a deeper understanding of experiential learning should consider the philosophies of not only contemporary figures such as Kurt Hahn (who was inspired by and utilized Plato?s The Republic in designing Outward Bound programs), Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle, and so on, also include study of those who have previously described the process of experiential learning long before many current forms of experiential education began. Main figures in this sense are John Dewey and Paulo Freire, but also consider how the work of William James, Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner and Francis Boal apply to our current educational situations.?

Students are only allowed 2 absences (justified or not). The student will fail the course if he/she has more than 2 absences. Students will have a 0 on any assignment evaluated in class (presentations, evaluations, field trips, etc.) if he/she is absent in this class, unless an official document is presented to justify the absence the class after the absence. In this case the assignment will be done this day. An unjustified absence to a fieldtrip will immediately mean failing the course. You can only have two total absences in your elective courses HOWEVER, if you miss more than one day of class in a given month, YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE CREDIT for that particular course.
Professors have the right to expel a student from the classroom should he / she:
1) be disruptive in the classroom
2) be under the influence of alcohol or even smell like alcohol
3) Behave in a disrespectful way.
If you tend to be late for class, you will lose 25% of your total grade
Teaching and learning strategies
This very intensive course requires self-disciplined and socially sensitive students. EPM is the foundation for building community and self-improvement; it also helps participants engage with topics in a personal and affective way, which is more likely to lead to behavioral change than a heavily cognitive approach. Students will learn through group discussions, individual and group exercises, role-plays, simulations and readings. Reading assignments in class will allow practicing, exploring, and generating ideas, as well as to provide checks on your comprehension of the material. Through EPM students will engage in receiving and processing information and sharing that information with others. Therefore, it is imperative that you come to class prepared to discuss and work with the with the main topics, e.g., self-esteem, communication skills, conflict management techniques, facilitation skills and assigned readings. All the class should read text assignments. Please be prepared to devote at least three hours of study for every hour of class.

Basic & Conflict
Stress management, self-esteem, self-confidence and self-care, rules & discipline, active listening, what is violence/non-
28 hours
violence, gender & violence, cooperative games
Introduction to conflict management, nature of conflict, role-plays, interpersonal conflict, intercultural conflicts, different techniques. Introduction to mediation
Facilitation skills
8 hours
Facilitation for this program, agenda writing directed to the group selected for fieldwork.
20 hours
School in low income area, women, prison
Final paper presentation, Course evaluation
This is an opportunity for students to take the time for the theoretical background that supports this Course. The students are given a list of articles and/or book chapters. By explaining the meaning of the readings to the group, students acquire facilitation skills as well.
Final course presentation
Students will select a research project, case study or an activity, such as writing a booklet, art or drama presentation on a theme of their choice. Students and teacher offer topics and the final presentation will be delivered prior to the fieldwork.

Attendance (includes two excused absences)2
Individual reading reports and class discussions
Cooperative Group Work
Simulated Conflict Presentations and resolutions
Research Project
Written Report
Oral Presentation
Facilitation skills (includes agendas and facilitation)
2 Since much of the learning occurs in the context of group sharing, mediation and in-class exercises, it is not be possible to make them up or compensate by doing supplementary readings.

Anything below a C constitutes in a failed course

Readings? guide (subject to some changes, according to students majors and interests)
1. Arendt, Hannah (1970) On Violence. Hartcourt, Brace & World, INC: New York
2. Grewal, Baljit (2003). Johan Galtung: Positive and Negative Peace. School of Social Science, Auckland University of Technology
3. Brokate, Lauryn. Re-examining Galtung?s Ideas ofStructural and Cultural Violence. Australian Journal of Peace Studies
4. Galtung, Johan (1990) Cultural Violence. In Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Aug., 1990), pp. 291-305. Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
5. Schwebel, Milton & Christie, Daniel (2001). Children and structural violence. In Christie, D. J., Wagner, R. V., & Winter, D. A. (Eds.). Peace, Conflict, and Violence: Peace Psychology for the 21st Century. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey:Prentice-Hall.
6. Wilmot, William and Joyce Hocker: Interpersonal Conflict, Sixth Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2001.
7. Beer, Jennifer and Eileen Stief. The Mediator's Handbook, Third Edition. New Society Publishers, 1997
8. Mark A. Mattaini (2003) Constructing Nonviolent Alternatives to Collective Violence: a Scientific Strategy Behavior and Social Issues, 11, 100-104
9. Ramsbotham , Oliver. Introduction to conflict resolution: concepts and Definitions (Chapter ONE). In Contemporary Conflict Resolution
10. Ramsbotham , Oliver. Peacebuilding (CHAPTER NINE) In Contemporary Conflict Resolution b
11. Abdalla, Amr (2002). Understanding C.R SIPABIO: A conflict analysis Model
12. Lederach, John Paul (2003). Conflict transformation pags 14 -27
13. Restorative Conflict Trasnformation (ACRes7)
14. Ropers. From resolution to transformation: the role of dialogue projects 1
15. Mediacion as a Trasnformation process Section 1
16. Mediacion as a Trasnformation process Section 2
17. Hancock, L & Iyer, P. "nature , Structure and Variety of peace zones
18. Agger, Inger (2007). Reducing Trauma During Ethno-Political Conflict: A Personal Acoount of Psycho-socila Work under War Conditions in Bosnia. In Christie, D. J., Wagner, R. V., & Winter, D. A. (Eds.). (2001). Peace, Conflict, and Violence:Peace Psychology for the 21st Century. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
19. Kaybill. Facilitation Skills for Interpersonal Transformation
20. Collaborative for Development Action Inc. (2001) Measuring Peace: Indicators of Impact for Peace Practice. Retreived from:
21. Joseph P. Folger and Robert A. Baruch Bush, "Transformative Mediation and Third-Party Intervention: Ten Hallmarks of a Transformative Approach to Practice,
22. The Constitution for the Federation of Earth. Institute of World Problems.

*Course content subject to change