Online course on Transforming Civil Conflict

In co-operation with The Network University, Modus Operandi is organizing its award-winning four-week online certificate course in Conflict Transformation. The course is designed for professionals working in conflict areas and students with a special interest in the topic. The aim of the program is to help prepare participants for work in conflict areas, or to make their work more effective by giving them more insight into conflict dynamics, discussing analytical tools and identify entry points for action. This program focuses on developing critical analytical skills in order to ask relevant questions, rather than finding the right solutions and answers to conflicts straight away.


Conflicts are a common social phenomenon because individuals pursue different interests. When people's goals are incompatible, conflicts may arise. If we accept that the existence of conflict is legitimate, one can start seeing conflicts as an opportunity: they create the space for individuals to express their needs and can act as an opening to reconsider power relations and relations between individuals or groups. On the condition that conflicts are waged nonviolently, they can be used to pave the way to social change and help to advance our societies towards a just social order.

The aim of this online course on "Transforming Civil Conflict" is to help professionals approach conflict in a constructive was so they can be a step towards social change.

During the course the participants are familiarised with contemporary theories of conflict and conflict transformation and introduced to practical issues and debates within the field. They are brought together in a 'learning community' with people with a professional interest in conflict.


During the course the participants are familiarized with contemporary theories of conflict and conflict transformation. Furthermore, they are acquainted with a wide range of relevant initiatives and introduced to practical issues and debates within the field. Together with people with a professional interest, they will form a 'learning community'. The subjects for the course weeks are: Understanding Conflict, Conflict Transformation and Building a Desired Alternative. The students are coached online, and they will participate through online debates, assignments and exercises. An overview of the course content:

1: Understanding Conflict

During the first week we will present you the basic tools to understand conflict dynamics and discuss key concepts in conflict analysis. Different phases of a conflict and the peace building efforts associated with it will be discussed, as well as the difference between Conflict Management, Resolution and Transformation and the three types of violence that we can distinguish in armed conflict situations. The assignments include exercises to map conflict issues, actors and dynamics and the participation in the debate.

2: Transsforming conflict structures

During this week you will be familiarized with entry points to start a process of conflict transformation. We will look at the creative, constructive and non-violent means of social change that can be used to transform the issues, attitudes and structures dividing conflict parties. Six means of social change will be discussed here: vectors for transformation, balancing power relationships, non-violent action, connectors in conflict, changing perceptions, and Lederach's concept of moral imagination.

3: Imagining a shared future

In this third week participants will be provided with helpful information on strategies to overcome structural violence and to build a desired alternative. The assignment will focus on designing an action plan for conflict transformation, based on examples of other organizations in the field.

Throughout the course participants have access to a library of conflict transformation tools, a map of actors, a glossary and a database of conflict transformation resources.

Target Group

The target groups for this course are professionals that work in conflict areas and students with a special interest in the topic. Some examples are: (inter)national relief agency workers, development professionals, conflict resolution trainers, military personnel, journalists, students in international relations or other conflict-related topics, academics and others working for governmental or NGO's in countries and territories that are the scene of violent conflict and civil strife.

Intensive Tailored Supervision

The course is tailor-made: participants receive personal feedback. They can choose the conflict(s) they would like to study. In addition they can suggest and initiate online debate topics. These are often linked to current affairs and student's special interests. The course website is permanently accessible in some way to the students after the course is finished.

Collaborative learning

The participant will participate in a collaborative learning experience in an online 'learning community' of professionals. Every week the participant is required to undertake different assignments. These assignments are NOT the so-called ‘conventional assignments': 'read some articles, write a paper and send it in before Friday'; but aim to stimulate discussion and cooperation between the participants. In addition to individual and group assignments there will be online discussions and exercises.

Timeframe: How much time, 'A-synchrone'-teaching.

The course is designed for people who want to study and work at the same time. The amount of time needed to complete the assignments and participate will depend on your experience with conflict, level of participation (in discussion groups) and familiarity with the subject. As most of our

participants are working, we strive to make it possible for every participant to complete every week's assignments with 10 hours of reading, debating and studying. The course is taught 'asynchronous': participants do not have to be present at certain hours; work can be spread over the week and in weekends. We will be present at the 'call centre' approximately 8 hours a day, but submissions of assignments and contributions to discussions can be made 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sometimes we allow participants (by exception) to spread their course participation over the period of two separate courses. In this way, they can still participate, even if they have to leave for work, to a place where they do not have Internet-access, or when unexpected emergencies occur.

Registration and Information

Course fees

The regular fee for the course is € 300,- *. If you participate in more than one course, a discount is available. A limited amount of reduced fees is available for shoestring-budget NGO's, groups and individuals in special circumstances. In that case please fill out the online scholarship application form. For more information please visit our demo course. The fees are due no later than two weeks before the start of the course.

Registration is possible through Registration implies an intent to participate and transfer the fee. If you are not sure about participation please contact us first. Requests for information can be sent by email to Claske Dijkema at


Participants will be provided with a certificate of completion from both the Network University and Modus Operandi after the course is finished.


For the development of the program we are co-operating with the following institutions: Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation, The Global Coalition in Conflict Transformation, The Centre for Conflict Resolution Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK and The European Platform on Conflict Prevention, the Netherlands.