- The International Program in Conflict Resolution and Mediation curriculum offers students a comprehensive study of conflicts and their resolution from a variety of perspectives. In addition to providing a theoretical foundation, the curriculum emphasizes development of practical skills through courses in negotiations, mediation and facilitation.
- The first semester is dedicated to obtaining in-depth knowledge about the theoretical and practical components of conflict resolution. Lecturers derive from a variety of disciplines, including but not limited to international law, political science, public policy, social psychology, cultural anthropology, and religious studies. In the first semester, all students are registered for a course in negotiation skills. A total of seven core courses are taken in the first semester. Students also complete the Interdisciplinary Seminar, which exposes students to experts and leaders in conflict resolution as well as educational trips throughout the year.
- Conducted in between the first and second semesters, the Mediation Workshop builds upon the material covered in the first semester while strengthening the students' negotiation skills through role playing and simulations.
Second and Third Semesters
- During the second and third semesters students choose from a variety of electives and seminar courses according to their interests. Noteworthy electives include advanced negotiations and facilitation and consensus building. These skills are integral to any future work environment. Emphasis is placed on research and analysis during these semesters. A total of two seminars and five electives are taken between these two semesters.
Courses offered by other TAU International Programs
- The International Program in Conflict Resolution and Mediation also allows students to take up to 5 credits (approximately 2 courses) offered by other Tel Aviv University International Programs based on the student’s learning goals and based on course availability. Note that not all courses are available every year. Each year a list of available elective courses are provided by the other international programs and students are notified of those courses towards the end of the fall semester. This may includes courses from the following programs: Security and Diplomacy, Emergency and Disaster Management, Middle Eastern Studies, Migration Studies and others.
Comprehensive Final Assignment
- At the end of the third semester students are required to complete a final assignment in order to be eligible to graduate. The assignment will be in the form of a take-home exam with a 10-15 page response. Subject matter from the core courses is covered. This assignment may be submitted remotely. Details are provided to incoming students.
- Students have the option to write a thesis upon completion of their MA. For further information, click here.
- Students complete a total of 38 credit hours.
List of Offered Courses in 2019-2020
Courses and/or lecturers vary from year to year and are subject to change.
Lecturer: Yonatan Kowarsky, Academic Director for Israel Center for Negotiation and Mediation, mediator/lawyer, and Supervisor and Trainer for National Mediation Program
Course Description: The course will offer to the students an in-depth understanding of the negotiation process. It will include:
- Grounds for preparation of the negotiation process, while applying a negotiation management model, based on interests and the appreciation of cognitive processes occurring while negotiating.
- An introduction to a number of tools and skills aimed to improve overall negotiation capabilities - while coping with the emotional aspects and enhancing each participant's awareness to his or hers own personal style.
An emphasis will be placed on the cultivation of long term, both business and workplace relationships. The principal premises, which will be outlined throughout the course, assume that skilled negotiators can bypass unnecessary conflicts and resolve disputes, while negotiating without the aid of third party intervention. Therefore, an outline of multi party-negotiation principles will be discussed as well.
Research Methods (3 credits)
Lecturer: Dr. Udi Sommer, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Tel Aviv University
Course Description: The purposes of this course are to provide students with useful tools for engaging in empirical research in the social sciences and to help students understand literature that uses a range of research methods. Students will learn how to think about theoretical problems in terms of empirical models – theory, hypothesis testing, data collection, presentation of research, and reading and writing research papers.
This class will be divided into three parts, each refering to a specific research method: Quantitative, Qualitative and Historical.
This course will prepare students to:
- Identify and evaluate scholarship on conflict resolution and mediation.
- Design an individual research project, matching theory with the appropriate research methodology.
- Obtain and evaluate information relevant to the execution of a research project.
- Present findings from a research project.
History of the Middle East (3 credits)
Lecturer: Dr. Uriya Shavit, Senior Lecturer, Department for Arabic and Islamic Studies and the Program for Religious Studies, Tel Aviv University
Course Description: The course surveys the major historical processes evolving in the modern Middle East in the past two centuries. It analyzes the interaction between internal developments and Western political, economic and cultural influences.
It discusses the emergence of modern nationalism; the foundation of new states in the early Twentieth Century, their struggle for independence and their grappling with parliamentary systems under the Mandate system. It will examine the replacement of the old elites by new radical military elites, which became in turn more moderate in the course of years, as well as their confrontation with the rising tide of Islamic radicalism.
Lecturer: Dr. Steven J. Klein, Ben Gurion University and senior editor at Haaretz newspaper
Course Description: Numerous international conflicts since the end of World War II have been managed or resolved by third parties through negotiations and various forms of interventions. During this period, the number of interstate conflicts has declined dramatically while internationalized intrastate conflicts have emerged as the dominant problem facing the international community. This course will survey a variety of political approaches and strategies for managing and resolving such conflicts.
The course will begin with a discussion of the causes of international conflicts as perceived by the major theoretical frameworks for the study of international relations, including realist, constructivist and liberal approaches. Students will learn principles of conflict, bargaining and conflict management theory, focusing on concepts such as the mutually hurting stalemate, conflict ripeness, security dilemmas, bargaining zones, reservation points, zones of possible agreement and two-level games.
Students will then explore the costs and benefits of peaceful and forceful strategies that seek to manage or resolve conflicts through democratization, the promotion of trade, ideational change and timed intervention. Specifically, the class will discuss the role of third parties – be they international institutions or individuals in resolving ethnic conflicts and deterrence, both conventional and nuclear, as a strategy to stabilize conflicts. The course will also examine the dramatic decline in interstate conflicts in contrast to the rise of intrastate conflicts since the fall of Communism, and utilizing the theoretical strategies discussed during the course, consider what lessons if any are applicable to the Middle East.
Lecturer: Dr. Dennis Kahn, Postdoctoral fellow, Lund University
Course Description: Social Psychology provides many critical insights into the understanding of social conflicts and their management. These include the interaction of personality and situation in the outbreak of conflicts and attempts at resolution, the critical importance of the subjective construal of conflict, and the roles of groups and group membership in conflicts. Among the topics to be covered in this introductory course are group identification and group perception, naïve realism, reactive devaluation, social dilemmas, personality and individual differences, emotions, culture and protected/sacred values.
Cultural Approaches to Conflict: Islamic and Jewish Perspectives on Conflict (2 credits)
Lecturer: Dr. Daniel Roth, Pardes Institute for Judaism and Conflict Resolution/Mosaica
International Law and Dispute Resolution (2 credits)
Lecturer: Daniel Reisner, former head of the Israel Defence Force's International Law Department and former senior negotiator of peace treaties from 1994-2007
Course Description: The course provides students with a critical view of international law relevant to conflict and conflict resolution. Focusing primarily on the Arab-Israeli conflict as a case study, the course will address topics including the sources of international law, the law of sovereignty and statehood, the laws of war, acquisition and loss of territory, trust territories and rights of self-determination, the role and authority of international institutions such as the UN and International Court of Justice, the law of human rights, refugee law, international criminal law, international law concerning terrorism, and laws of occupied territories.
Mediation Workshop (4 credits)
Lecturer: Dr. Brian Polkinghorn, Salisbury University, Fulbright Alumni Ambassador
Course Description: The Mediation Workshop examines the core concepts and principle of mediation as it applies to cases ranging from the interpersonal to international levels of engagement. The course will also study a variety of approaches or "styles" of mediation including, but not limited to, facilitative, evaluative, transformative, narrative and eclectic.
Large portions of the class will be reserved for small group role plays and other experiential learning exercises that allow students the opportunity to explore and experiment with key mediation skills, techniques and tactics.
Graduates of this course receive a certificate of completion in International Mediation from Tel Aviv University and the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution. The Bosserman Center is certified by UNITAR, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.
Students choose 2 seminar courses from the list below, for a total of 6 credits.
Lecturer: Dr. Clive Lipchin, Director, Center for Transboundary Water Management, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies
Course Description: The objective of the course is to review and discuss types, sources and aspects of environmental conflicts at the city, regional, national and mostly international level. These conflicts will be analyzed and classified by structural and subjective approaches with respect to related issues such as environmental justice, environmental awareness and planning policy as well as with respect to strategies and instruments of their resolution.
Nationalism and Ethnic Conflicts (3 credits)
Lecturer: Dr. Evgeni Klauber, Department of Political Science, Tel Aviv University
Course Description: What is a nation? Where is the nation’s homeland? Who is part of "us" and who is part of "them"? Why some ethnic groups mobilize to civil wars while others remain silent? How are these questions answered? Why do these answers alter? These and other questions stand at the center of inter- and intra-national conflicts around the globe. This seminar will unfold the main theoretical approaches to understand them and will try to provide possible solutions for ethnic conflicts. It will then investigate the interactions between state-building and nation-building, the relationship between nationalism, citizenship and minority rights, the nexus between nationalism, ethnicity and conflict, the colonial legacies of nationalism (especially among Post-Soviet newly emerged states), the religious nationalism, and the impact of globalization on ethnicity and nationalism. We will also try to integrate ideas of culture, ethnicity, and multiculturalism into conflict resolution.
Leadership and Conflict (3 credits)
Lecturer: Dr. Nimrod Rosler, Tel Aviv University School of Public Policy
Course Description: One of many influential figures in the life of an intractable conflict is the leader. She or he has the ability to harness and mobilize the public towards the creation and intensification of conflicts or lead the people to dialogue with the other side. The course will be comprised of two main parts: the first part will examine the phenomenon of leadership. We will discuss the sources of power, the influences of the leader and test models describing different types of leadership. In the second part of the course we will examine the role of the leader in various stages of the conflict - his or her motivation, basic strengths and the tools available for social influence.
Israeli Politics and Society (3 credits)
Lecturer: Dr. Udi Sommer. Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Tel Aviv University
Course Description: This seminar will present a rather broad, and yet very brief, introductory survey of some of Israel's major social, economic, cultural and political aspects in their respective historical developments. It will attempt to present an evenhanded view of the achievements, difficulties and failures in all these domestic areas. More specifically, it will deal with Israel's changing social, ethnic, national, religious and ideological schisms and the various policy impacts of this multicultural composition, as well as with its governmental, political, legal and military institutions and other public organizations, their functioning and their operation.
Advanced Negotiations (3 credits)
Lecturer: Dr. Hilla Dotan, Organizational Behavior Department at the Coller School of Management, Tel-Aviv University
Course Description: This skills-oriented course is an extension of the Principles and Processes of Negotiations in Conflict course taken in the Fall semester. The course provides an exposure to further analytical tools, frameworks, simulations and debriefings with the purpose of providing participants the opportunity to identify, analyze and develop their negotiation abilities in both situations of collective conflicts and within institutional settings.
Students take 5 elective courses for a total of 10 credits.
Lecturer: Dr. Daniel Beaudoin, humanitarian and civil-military adviser
Course Description: The role of humanitarian aid agencies is thought to be to save lives and ameliorate suffering. Their level of success depends on varying factors, from a topography that might make communication and transport more or less easy, to the prevalence of corruption and insecurity in distribution chains and to the increasingly politicized nature of humanitarian aid. A significant factor in meeting humanitarian objectives, however, is the capacity of humanitarian officials to negotiate access to beneficiaries and to secure protection both for recipients and for staff in the context of often very sensitive political and military environments. This course provides a unique opportunity for critical reflection, analysis, and debate on the negotiation approaches of INGOs working in development, relief, and advocacy contexts. The course will study several conflict arenas, and also provide a case study of humanitarian advocacy and aid operations as conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Palestinian Territories.
Lecturer: Dr. Daniel Beaudoin, humanitarian and civil-military adviser
Course Description: Students will become closely acquainted and involved with both the national non-governmental organizations, as well as the work of the international aid and development agencies that operate in Israel and the Palestinian Territories (PT). This in depth and personal encounter with the national and international aid and human rights organizations in Israel will allow the students to experience firsthand the complexities and varied approaches and challenges that these organizations face in the implementation of their respective missions. The learning experience will combine theoretical aspects together with practical understanding and reflective processes. The learning process will take place in class, in the field and through reflective meetings in small groups with the lecturer in the course of the semester. This course involves 2.5 hours of class time per week and an internship of 40 hours in the field.
Game Theory and Conflict Resolution (2 credits)
Lecturer: Dr. Maya Diamant, Faculty of Management, Tel Aviv University
Course Description: A conflict is an interactive situation. The course of the conflict as well as its resolution depend on the decisions made by the various parties involved. Each party, when considering its decisions, should take into account the decisions made by all the other parties. Game theory studies decision making in such interactive environments.
We will present prototypes of various games and study basic concepts required for their analysis like domination and equilibrium. Emphasize will be put on the need to change the "rules" of the game when it results in undesirable outcome, and designing rules to obtain a desired result.
We will highlight the differences between decision making of a single agent and interactive decision making, namely, a game. One of the differences is that in the first case we are aiming at getting an optimal decision. In games optimality does not always apply, and the result of games can be dismal even when all parties behave rationally. Israel, which, as the website of this program claims, is the Silicon Valley of Conflict Resolution is also the Death Valley of Frustratingly Unresolved Conflict. The frustration may partly due to the lack of understanding of the fact that in interactive situations good will and rationality do not necessarily guarantee good results.
Palestinian Politics and Society (2 credits)
Course Description: This course deals with the story of modern Palestinian Society, Politics, and Culture. This is a story that will begin in the late 19th century, and end in the 21st century. While the course will deal with the historical developments that began in the 19th century, we will move to focus the bulk of our class on the middle and late 20th century, and to the current events that are presently taking place and which have been having a powerful impact on the search for independence and statehood. The Palestinian Story is currently being somewhat revised within the context of the current events that are taking place in the Middle East. This is by no sense a linear story, but rather a meandering one where the writers are constantly rethinking their plots in reaction to the events that have been shaping their environment.
Effective Facilitation and Consensus Building (2 credits)
Lecturer: Dr. Yuval Kalish, Tel Aviv University School of Management
Course Description: Students in this advanced course will learn a set of tools and techniques that are often used in organizational conflict management. Techniques such as conflict assessment, group facilitation for effective performance and decision-making, and consensus building will be presented and experienced by the students. The theoretical basis of the course will be supplemented by experiential use of the techniques.
Assessment Tools in Conflict Zones (2 credits)
Lecturer: Chamutal Afek-Eitam, CEO and Founder of 3 Million Club
Course Description: Assessment Tools in Conflict Zones will provide students with a set of tools for conflict assessment, analysis and evaluation for field practitioners including:
- Humanitarian foundations
- Emergency management, response and programming of people and operations
- Humanitarian assessment, Monitoring and evaluation
- Capacity building
- Security management
- Children in emergencies
- Third sector innovation
Lecturer: Dr. Dennis Kahn, Postdoctoral fellow, Lund University
Course Description: The course builds on the course social psychological approaches to conflict and conflict management, given in the fall semester and in the advanced course, the students will go beyond the broad social-psychological theories of conflict and conflict management and explore in-depth topics such as apology and reconciliation, how collective memory, especially of past trauma, affects current intergroup relations, how our moral preferences affect attitudes and behaviors in conflict and the way in which collective threats affect ideologies and worldviews. Students will also analyze a case study, based on a current event.
Democracy in Ethnically Divided Societies (2 credits)
Lecturer: Dr. Steven J. Klein, Ben Gurion University and senior editor at Haaretz newspaper
Course Description: The post-WWII era saw the creation of numerous new countries that did not fit the classic nation-state model, often comprising rival ethnic groups. These internal conflicts have presented challenges to the ruling elites when interested in establishing a democratic regime. Factors such as the perceived threat by or manageability of ethnic minorities have influenced the type of democracy pursued and the extent of democratic rights afforded to these minorities. Such experiments of forging the country’s ethnic character while maintaining a certain measure of democratic institutions have had mixed results, often contributing to grievances among minority groups and at times failing to prevent bloodshed.
Conflict Resolution and Judicial Decision Making (2 credits)
Lecturer: Dr. Udi Sommer, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Tel Aviv University
Course Description: This course will delve into the intricacies of judicial decision making and examine several historical cases where courts resolved conflicts. We will examine the motivations of justices, their constraints, the influences that constitutional principles have on their rulings and the power of the public and politics writ large on judicial decisions.
Lecturer: Dr. Ina Kubbe, Post-doctoral fellow, Tel Aviv University, PhD Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany
Course description: The purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview of the political, economic and social challenges and issues of contemporary democratic as well as non-democratic countries around the globe. From a comparative perspective, the course will mainly focus on four topics that almost every society is confronted with, but handle in many different ways: migration, populism, corruption and gender politics.
Grant Writing and the Business Side of NGOs (1 credit)
Lecturer: Jennifer Shaw Racz, Malki Foundation
Course Decription: This course will explain the grant writing and reporting methodology by which NGOs/ nonprofit organization can bring income to fund their projects in order to achieve their mission and goals. The course will also include perspectives on trends and best practices from the field as well as insider tips from an experienced professional that can make their future work more effective, efficient, and help them to avoid common mistakes.
- Theories of International Migration: Dr. Noah Epstein
- Modern Diplomacy: Dr. Noam Kochavi
- International Migration in International Relations: Gallya Lahav
- International Environmental Law: Dr. Issi Rosen-Zvi
- Islam and the West: Dr. Uriya Shavit
- Comparative Analysis of National and International Conflicts: Former Ambassador Dr. Alon Liel
Before the start of the Fall Semester, intensive full-time summer language courses are available for an additional cost. Information about the summer intensive Hebrew language courses can be accessed here.
During the Fall and Spring Semesters, Hebrew classes at all levels are available:
1. Monday to Thursday morning classes (open to all)
2. Sunday Classes (open for Graduate/ Post-Graduate students only)
Fee: $500 for one semester.
Beginners Arabic courses are available as well. For further information, go to the website for Arabic studies.