- The Conflict Resolution and Mediation MA Program 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 six electives are taken between these two semesters.
Courses offered by other TAU International Programs
- The International MA Program in Conflict Resolution and Mediation also allows students to take up to two courses (4 credits) 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, Political Communications, Crisis and Trauma 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 all 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 41 credit hours.
List of Offered Courses in 2016-2017
Courses and/or lecturers vary from year to year and are subject to change.
Principles and Processes of Negotiation in Conflict Resolution (2 credits)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 stile.
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. Ina Kubbe, Post-Doctoral Fellow, 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 part, each refering to a specific research method: Quantitative, Qualitative and Historical. Each part will be offered by a Professor specialized in the field.
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: The Case of Islam (2 credits)Lecturer: Professor Ahmed Natour, former Qadi (Judge) and President of Israel's Sharia Court of Appeals
The course will look at the following aspects:
- The judicial system in Israel and the Islamic courts, judges, jurisdiction, past and present
- Arbitration in the civil Islamic law, in personal status disputes, in communal, social, political and international disputes.
- Mediation and reconciliation: patience and forgiveness, criminal cases, traditional “Sulha”, civil conflicts, in the family and between spouses.
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.
Students choose 2 seminar courses from the list below, for a total of 6 credits.
Environment, Conflict, and Cooperation in the Middle East (3 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 integrating 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.
Migration and Conflict (3 credits)
Lecturer: Avinoam Cohen
Course Description: Migration of populations has transnational and international dimensions and impacts and can be both a result of conflict and can cause conflict. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the main trends in international migration and situate them within broader disciplinary frameworks (particularly; sociology, political economy and international relations). The course explores the drivers and consequences of population movements particularly in areas of conflict and the resulting conflict they can create. It will address the intersection between migration and conflict at the local, national and global level. It will examine responses to forced migration and refugee situations at the global and regional level; conflicts that arise when migratory movements challenge the perceived territorial and cultural integrity of nation states; and the consequences of migration when conflicts arise with the established citizenry at the local level, at the workplace and in the public sphere.
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 6 elective courses for a total of 12 credits.
Israeli Politics and Society (2 credits)
Lecturer: Dr. Yael Shomer. 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.
Lecturer: Daniel Beaudoin, Ph.D. candidate, 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.
Lecturers: Daniel Beaudoin, Ph.D. candidate, 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)
Lecturer: Mostafa Elostaz, Ohio State
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 seminar 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)
Lecturers: Chamutal Afek-Eitam, CEO and Founder of 3 Million Club/ Einav Levy, Head of the Israeli School of Humanitarian Aid
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
- The Impact of Prolonged Exposure to Disasters on Coping Resiliency and General Wellbeing: Dr. Avital Kaye-Tzadok
- Modern Diplomacy: Dr. Noam Kochavi
- International Migration in International Relations: Gallya Lahav
- International Environmental Law: Dr. Issi Rosen-Zvi
- Conflict Resolution and Judicial Decision Making: Dr. Udi Sommer
- Buddhist Perspectives on Conflict: Dr. Keren Arbel
- Islam and the West: Dr. Uriya Shavit
- Decision Making in Conflicts: Professor Dan Zakay
- 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 and Arabic 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): Classes meet 8:30 - 10:00 each day.
2. Sunday Classes (open for Graduate/ Post-Graduate students only): Classes meet from 15:00 - 19:30.
Fee: $500 for one semester. Students who study Hebrew in the fall semester and wish to continue into the spring semester will pay a total of $800 (second semester fee will be reduced to $300 instead of $500 for continuing students). Registered students receive placement and classroom information prior to the beginning of the academic year.