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Southeast Asian University Partnership for Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation (SAUP)

The societal impacts of decades of armed conflict run deep. Possibly the most dangerous of these impacts in terms of achieving a peaceful society is the normalization and social acceptability of violence as a means to address conflict. Universities that offer courses on peacebuilding and non-violent conflict transformation act as bridges between theory and practice by examining the effectiveness of approaches to civil conflict transformation through their research contributions. By providing courses in peace and conflict studies, they support the social transformation of violent attitudes and actions and contribute to the distribution of methods of civil conflict management. However, the development of study programs in countries of the Global South is rather marginal and often universities lack technical expertise in the field of conflict transformation and the resources for vital peace research and its dissemination.

The GIZ Civil Peace Service (CPS) and the Center for Conflict Studies at the Philipps University of Marburg have established the Southeast Asian University Partnership for Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation (SAUP) regional program to support and strengthen universities in Cambodia, the Philippines and Timor-Leste in the conceptualization and implementation of curricula on peace and conflict studies. Central to the project is the mutual learning experience for all partners involved, where every organization is conceived of as an expert, sharing and gaining knowledge from each other.

The aim of the program is to provide technical and personnel support to university partners to build their capacities in the conceptualization and contextualization of curricula through the integration of best practices from local/traditional practices in non-violent conflict transformation as well as through the application of peace action research to ensure context appropriate approaches to promote sustainable peace. By anchoring and integrating the outcomes of peace action research into the relevant peace and conflict studies, the knowledge of past peace practices is preserved and made available for future generations.

The SAUP regional program will establish a university exchange network as a comprehensive learning platform to exchange on best practices and lessons learned and a means to disseminate knowledge garnered through practice in the South and shared on a South-to-South platform and also globally.

The specific role of The Center for Conflict Studies at the Philipps University of Marburg, Germany will be its role in fostering professional exchange, providing expertise in curriculum development in the specific field conflict transformation. By this, the SAUP regional network will use synergies between the three countries and aims to integrate the partner universities into global exchange programs and research projects on higher education. The Center for Conflict Studies will benefit from this shared project through a mutual learning experience by at the same time acquiring knowledge from and sharing skills with the project partners in Cambodia, Timor-Leste and the Philippines.

Project duration: 2019 – 2022
Funding institution: Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Partners: GIZCPS, CCS
Project Team: Sadie O’Mahoney (GIZ), Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bonacker, Theresa Ambré