The idea behind the project was initiated as an outcome of the conflicted resolution conference organized by AAUP in April 2017. The conference proceedings stressed the need for the establishment of a research hub in the field of conflict resolution. As AAUP has recently accredit a graduate program in conflict resolution and conflict management, this hub will offer a platform for researchers and students to produce and publish academic paper. It will also to provides practical policy insight and advice for national policymakers.
Consequently, a project summary was prepared by AAUP, and later was shared with national and EU partners. A consortium was established for the project and the different WPs and interventions was discussed. Activities of project were assigned to consortium partners according to their institutional and personal expertise. Meetings were arranged on phone and Skype calls in order to ensure the full involvement and commitment of all partners in this project.
Conflict is one of the most important development challenges facing the world today. Reports have clearly demonstrated that conflict is a key barrier to human development and prosperity. In Palestine, a generation has passed since the signing of Oslo agreement between Palestine and Israel. However, the conflict still exists in a frustrating and vicious cycle that must be broken, or otherwise the development potential of future generations will continue to be restrained. In addition, the divergent perspectives of Palestinian political parties has increased the tension in the national arena, which has exacerbated existing socioeconomic inequalities and undermined social cohesion.
This project is considered strategic priority for Palestine and fits very well with the national research agenda. It seeks to “improve management and operations of Higher Education Institutions” in Palestine, through “the development of research and innovative capacities” in conflict resolution & reconciliation across Palestinian Universities. It also fits with The EU's central objective in supporting a comprehensive peace agreement, based on the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, the Madrid principles, the Roadmap, the agreements previously reached by the parties and the Arab Peace Initiative.
The conflict resolution project aims at promoting interdisciplinary research in the scholarly fields related to conflict resolution and conflict management. The project consortium represents a joint effort involving a wide range of institutions, representing different geographical regions and cultures. The consortium includes all vital skills and competences recognized to be needed within the project. More specifically, the project is carried out by 7 HEIs partners. The HEIs represent 3 Programme Countries (E1,E2,E3) and 4 local partners (P1, P2,P3, P4).
The Palestinian Universities in this project are (P1, P2, P3, P4). These universities represent the majority of HEI community including staff and students. These Universities were invited to join the consortium to encourage multidisciplinary research across various faculties and departments (i.e. Political Science, Law, and International Relations). Palestinian universities in this project represent also different geographical areas and different cultural environments in Palestine, this will support the project by involving more HEIs and stakeholders at each area. For example, (P4) is located in Gaza, thus all regions will be involved which contributes to more valid and reliable research outcomes. In addition to this, P1, P2, and P3) are all located in the West Bank where decision and policy makers are existing, thus, involving those stakeholders will support the success of the project and will secure the intended impact of the project.
At the Programme countries, partners of this consortium are all reputable universities, well-known for their experience in conflict resolution and conflict management. For example, Queen’s University offers one of the leading MA programs in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice. It provides a unique opportunity for students to join interdisciplinary programme taught through subject areas that include law, anthropology, English, history, philosophy, politics, psychology, sociology and the creative arts.
The FSU, TCD, HU, cover the most needed expertise, and have been all assigned to work packages related to the development and capacity building. They represent different higher education systems, and different university sizes and ages. This variety will expose the Palestinian Universities to different experiences and experts in the field of conflict resolution, so they will be able to adopt and benefit from their long-term expertise.
All partners in the consortium are fully committed to ensure the sustainability of all deliverables beyond the life cycle of the project. In addition, all partner institutions from local and programme countries are committed to share the deliverables with other institutions in the region in all possible means. As the work is composed of different WPs and activities, requiring different disciplines and expertise, the partners are recognized and allocated accordingly.
In summary, all European Universities have intensive knowledge and the necessary competencies, skill, and resources to address the topic on hand. Thus, they will play a key role in developing HEIs’ capacities the field of conflict resolution.