Haifa is Israel's third largest city. First and foremost a port city for international commerce, it has in recent decades become a major center for Israel's high-tech industry. Built on Mount Carmel, Haifa is a collection of diverse, picturesque, and easily accessible neighborhoods from the port area in the lower city, to the commercial Hadar area in the middle tier, and the beautiful residential areas on the upper ridge.
Due to its special history and location, Israel is a unique place to study conflicts and their sources as well as diverse and intriguing methods and strategies to manage and resolve them. This is particulary true for the city of Haifa. With a pluralistic, ethnically and religiously diverse population, Haifa provides the perfect backdrop for students from around the globe to come together to learn about conflict and peacemaking.

Two of the most distinguishing features of Haifa are  the  physical beauty of the city and the coexistence of  its  ethnically diverse communities who live and work  together. Home to the Carmel National Forest and  miles of developed and natural beaches on the  Mediterranean Sea, Haifa provides a wonderful  environment for almost any kind of recreational activity. Haifa is the world center of the Baha'i Faith. Its shrine,  administrative center, and world-renowned  gardens are prominent features of the city’s  landscape. The   Christian and Muslim communities of  Haifa, and the neighboring Druze villages of Usifiya and Daliat- el-Carmel, are important components of  the city's social and cultural development. Along with Jewish  communities from Europe, North Africa, the Middle  East, North and South America, Ethiopia, and India,  they have combined to create a modern Mediterranean  city that is truly special.
 Haifa Bahai Gardens 2007  BetHaGeffen  Esther Rahma1

The MA Program in Peace and Conflict Management Studies is a rigorous, one-year program of study that introduces an interdisciplinary approach to peace and conflict management. The program addresses intergroup conflicts at different levels, ranging from local community conflicts to international conflicts, and presents a variety of approaches to dealing with such conflicts including formal and informal ones. While special attention is given to the Middle East, conflicts and peace processes in different parts of the world are also discussed. In addition to the great variety of courses within fields such as political science, international relations, psychology, sociology, social work, history and Middle East studies, the program offers a practicum (field internship) at NGOs working in areas related to peace and conflict management and a wide range of exciting and enriching extra-curricular activities. These activities include field trips to regions that are dealing with conflicts throughout Israel; thoughtful simulations of decision-making, negotiations and conflict management; and guest lectures by experts from academia and the field.

The program is based in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Haifa. The master’s degree is awarded by the Faculty of Social Sciences.

As a deeply divided society and a country in protracted conflict with other countries in the region, Israel is a unique environment for a program whose goal is to enable students to understand how conflicts unfold from a grassroots level and move up through the halls of government to the international community. Israel supplies excellent field study opportunities that allow students to see how attempts to manage conflicts and promote coexistence, mutual understanding, and peace processes actually develop and take root. Israel is a real-time hands-on working laboratory for advanced international and Israeli students, offering encounters with ongoing conflicts as well as successful and failed efforts to achieve peace.

The main objectives of the program are to:

  1. Provide students with an invaluable opportunity to learn about discord around the world, especially the specific conflicts within Israeli society and the Middle East;
  2. Endow students with theoretical knowledge and practical tools to deal with ethno-national conflicts and peace-building;
  3. Provide students with field experience that will build skills, knowledge and unique perspectives which can be applied to future careers.


The program begins in the fall and runs for three consecutive semesters from October to September. Courses cover the following subjects:

  1. The sources, types and levels of conflicts and how they develop
  2. Conflict management and ways to foster peace processes
  3. Research methodology
  4. Practicum (field internship) 
Fall Semester Spring Semester Summer Semester
1 Core Course 1 Core Course 1-2 Elective Courses
1 Research Methods Course Practicum  
1-2 Elective Courses 1-2 Elective Course - 4 Hours  
Total: 3-4 Courses Total: 2-3 Courses + practicum Total: 1-2 Courses

Track A: Thesis Track*

7 Courses = 28 credit hours (4 core courses and 3 elective courses)
Thesis Research Paper

Track A students will be required to write one seminar paper (5000-7000 words) and a thesis research paper. For more detailed guidelines see here.

*Being able to pursue the thesis is dependent on the student's ability to find an appropriate advisor.

*Students selecting the thesis track should take into consideration that completion of a master’s thesis within one year is not guaranteed. A master’s thesis is an independent research project, and the pace of progress largely depends on the student’s efforts. Completion of a thesis may often require more than one year.

Track B: Non-Thesis Track 

9 Courses = 36 credit hours (4 core courses and 5 elective courses), Graduation project

Track B students will be required to complete two seminar papers (5000-7000 words each) and a graduation project (12,000 words). The graduation project can be based on the practicum, but can also be about another topic. For more detailed guidelines see here.

Language Study

Hebrew and Arabic courses are not included in the program curriculum. However, language study is available through the International School. Please note that language course grades are not calculated into the MA GPA, but they do appear on the student's transcript. The language courses begin prior to the MA program start date. Please contact the International School at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for exact dates and costs. 


The practicum aims to provide students with hands-on experience in the practice of peace and conflict management, and to integrate the practical experience gained with the theoretical knowledge acquired in the program. Students will complete an internship at organizations working on projects related to peace and conflict management, broadly defined. In parallel, students will reflect on their experiences and analyze them on the basis of theoretical knowledge acquired in other courses. For more information, see here.

Extra-Curricular Activities

In addition to the courses and practicum, students will have opportunities to participate in field trips to regions of Israel that are experiencing conflicts and dealing with them; to take part in simulations of decision-making and negotiations; and to hear lectures by guest experts. The interactions between students coming from different countries also expand the students' experience and knowledge.

For stories about extra-curricular activities and student experiences, see here.

Dr. Keren Sharvit - Head of Program

Dr. Sharvit joined the faculty of the University of Haifa in 2010, as part of the process of creating the new MA Program in Peace and Conflict Management (PCM). Since then she has served as a faculty member in the PCM program as well as in the Department of Psychology, and in 2014 she was appointed as the head of the PCM program. Prior to joining the University of Haifa, Dr. Sharvit spent one year as a postdoctoral fellow at the Swiss Center for Conflict Research Management and Resolution, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and two additional years as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focuses on social-psychological processes involved in intergroup conflicts, especially intense and protracted conflicts. Some of her specific research topics include the roles of emotions and their regulation, moral reasoning, categorization processes and societal beliefs and ideologies in situations of conflict, as well as the individual and collective implications of being victims and perpetrators of violence.

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Website: http://sharvit.socialpsychology.org/


Dr. Ran Kuttner


Dr. Ran Kuttner recently returned to Israel after seven years in the US, in which he was an Associate Professor of  Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at the Werner Institute, Creighton University. Preceding his arrival at Creighton, Ran was a Visiting Scholar at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School for three years, where he acted as an Associate Director of the Dispute Resolution Project and where among other research projects he helped redesign and teach the Harvard mediation course, a joint course for law and MBA students.Ran completed his Ph.D. at the Program on Conflict Management and Negotiation at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. His focus is on relational approaches to conflict resolution and he published articles on mediation, dialogue, leadership, negotiation and conflict resolution pedagogy in leading academic journals. He is a certified mediator and mediation teacher in Israel and consults to organizations and community mediation centers that work towards a more dialogic Israeli society in implementing collaborative conflict engagement approaches.

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Dr. Carmela Lutmar


Researcher  , Ph.D., Political Science, New York University, 2004. Research Interests:  Causes of War and Peace, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Theories in  International Relations, Leaders, Civil Wars, State Building.

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 Prof. Edy Kaufman


Prof. Edward (Edy) Kaufman completed his B.A. in Sociology and Political Science and M.A. in International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, his doctoral dissertation at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) and conducted post-doctoral studies at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). He is a Senior Researcher at the Center for International Development and Conflict Management and its former Director and held earlier similar positions in the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University. In the last years, he has been teaching at the Department of Government and Politics of the University of Maryland and in the Government and Diplomacy Program of the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzlyiah.

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Prof. Benny Miller

Prof. Benny Miller is a professor of International Relations at the School of Political Sciences, and served as the Head of the Program for Peace and Conflict Management between 2010 and 2013. He was also the President of the Israeli Association for International Studies. Prof. Miller received his Ph. D. from the University of California at Berkeley and was a Research Fellow at Harvard, MIT and Princeton University. He was a tenured member of the department of International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Visiting Professor at Duke University and the University of Colorado, Boulder. Among his publications: When Opponents Cooperate: Great Power Conflict and Collaboration in World Politics (Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 2nd ed., 2002); and States, Nations and Great Powers: The Sources of Regional War and Peace (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press-Cambridge Studies in International Relations, 2007). He has also published numerous articles on international relations theory and international and regional security, war and peace, democracy promotion, grand strategy, nationalism and conflict, sources of international cooperation and conflict, international and regional conflict management, great-power intervention and the effects of the great powers on regional security.

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Website: http://poli.haifa.ac.il/~bmiller


Dr. Harry Frey


Dr. Harry Freycompleted his undergraduate studies is Social Sciences and Social work in Australia. He completed his M.A in Community work in Haifa University and has for many years has been a community practitioner helping to establish the Association for Community Development, Acre. His doctoral studies and thesis from Ruskin University England was on the subject of ethnic community conflict and is based on research both in Israel and Northern Ireland.

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Dr. Ronen Zeidel

RonenZeidel Dr. Ronen Zeidel is a historian of the Middle East. He received his MA in 1997 and PhD In 2004 from the University of Haifa. Dr Zeidel specializes on the history of Iraq and serves as deputy head of the Center for Iraq Studies in the University of Haifa. He is the author of dozens of articles on history, natioanl identity, culture and society in Iraq published in leading academic journals worldwide and in Iraq. He is a popular commentator on Middle Eastern affairs in the Israeli and international media. Dr. Zeidel also  teaches classes on the Arab-Israeli conflict, The Arab Spring and the geopolitics of the Middle East in the Universities of Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, working mainly with international students. His class, "Geoplitics of the Middle East" is an unconventional and original  exposition of Middle Eastern realities based on a wide variety of themes from oil to the distribution of populations and   from minorit ies to the political system, ending with a unique presentation of the Palestinian-Israei conflict. This class received very high evaluations from international and Israeli students. Dr Zeidel speaks, in addition to Hebrew, English, Spanish, Arabic, French and some Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian. 

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** Please Note: The following class schedule is the tentative schedule for the academic year 2017-2018 and is subject to change without prior notice on the website.

Fall Semester

Required courses

Course Instructor Day Time
Theories and issues in intergroup conflict: A multi-disciplinary perspective Dr. Keren Sharvit Wed 12-16
Research Methods in Peace and Conflict Management Dr. Carmela Lutmar Wed 16-20

Elective courses

Course Instructor Day Time
Regional Conflicts: Between War and Peace Prof. Benny Miller Tue 12-16
Building Consensus: Basic Negotiation, Mediation and Facilitation Skills Dr. Ran Kuttner Tue 16-20

Spring Semester

Required courses

Elective courses

Course Instructor Day Time
Community Conflict and Civil Society Dr. Harry Frey Mon 16-20
Social Psychology of Intergroup Conflicts and their Resolution (Department of Psychology) Dr. Keren Sharvit Wed 12-16
Multi-Track Diplomacy: Transforming Violent Conflict Prof. Edy Kaufman Wed 16-20

Summer Semester

Elective courses

Course Instructor Day Time
Leadership and Conflict Management: Cross-Fertilization Dr. Ran Kuttner Tue 12-16
    Thu 8:30-12
Geopolitics of the Middle East Dr. Ronen Zeidel Tue 16-20
    Thu 12-16

 Course Descriptions

Theories and issues in intergroup conflict: A multi-disciplinary perspective

Dr. Keren Sharvit

(Fall, Wednesday, 12-4 pm)

This is a core course intended to lay the foundations for studying inter-group conflicts of different levels. Inter-group conflicts have been studied by scholars from different disciplines, who offer differing perspectives on similar issues. In this course we will survey different approaches, and will also compare, contrast and relate them to each other in an attempt to arrive at an integrative understanding of the issues at hand. To allow such comparison and integration, the course is arranged by themes that recur in the scholarly literature about conflicts rather than by scholarly discipline. Throughout the course, we will use examples from actual cases of inter-group conflicts in various regions of the world.


Research Methods in Peace and Conflict Studies

Dr. Carmela Lutmar

(Fall, Wednesday, 4-8 pm)

The first half of the course is meant to develop the student's skills in effective and critical reading of a variety of academic research, and to become acquainted with research writing. The second half of the course will acquaint the student with a wide variety of research methods, describing the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of research questions. In particular, we will focus on studies in conflict resolution and intractable conflicts. The course is planned and constructed as a seminar in which most of the work is done by the student, guided and advised by the lecturer and other guest lecturers.


Building Consensus: Basic Negotiation, Mediation and Facilitation Skills

Dr. Ran Kuttner

The emergence of the discipline of Peacebuilding and Conflict Management has involved the development of both theory and practices. This course focuses on best-practices in conflict management – mainly negotiation, mediation and group facilitation – aiming to equip students with basic skills for professional and personal usage. The students will be exposed to foundational theories and models of negotiation, mediation, and group facilitation/consensus building and will engage in practical experience through roleplays, simulations and exercises. Through reflective analysis of their performances, students will challenge some foundational assumptions regarding negotiation and conflict interaction, gaining first-hand experience of transformation of adversity into collaboration. Thus, students will gain proficiency in serving as third party neutrals who strive to build consensus in interpersonal and intergroup conflicts.


Regional Conflicts: Between War and Peace (MA Seminar)

Prof. Benny Miller

The course will discuss the origins of regional conflicts and the sources of regional wars. We will also address the conditions for reaching regional peace. The class will examine the sources of great-power regional involvement and its effects on regional security. The seminar will also address the implications of regional conflicts for international security. During the course we will develop a theory of regional war and peace and apply it through an examination of the sources of regional war and peace in the Middle East, South America, the Third World, the Balkans and Eastern Europe and Western Europe. We will discuss which strategies are the most helpful for advancing peace in the different regions and what are the chances of promoting peace in these regions.


Community conflict and Civil Society

Dr. Harry Frey

Community is a changing, dynamic and multifaceted concept which is gaining attention in conflict studies. Firstly, this course examines conflict in the light of 'context.' In the course, we consider unique aspects of community conflicts and the interplay with exterior macro factors. Various theories explaining the causes of local conflict involving groups and institutions are examined. Different community characteristics which exacerbate or ameliorate conflict dynamics are also examined with reference to examples from Israel, Northern Ireland and other locations. Secondly, we will look at community as 'agency.' The emergence and relevance of various models of community practice, such as development, organization, problem solving and transformation of relations, will be considered. Finally, we will consider the building of shared communities as a 'target' and mode of intervention in conflict resolution.


Paths to Peace: Conflict Management, Conflict Resolution, Peacebuilding and Reconciliation

Dr. Ran Kuttner

(Spring, Wednesday 12-4 pm)

This core course will survey various approaches to dealing with intergroup conflicts: preventing escalation, minimizing harmful consequences, ending violence, improving intergroup relations and building stable peace. We will begin by discussing processes of conflict management, which take place during an ongoing conflict. We will then discuss various routes to conflict resolution and a formal ending of the conflict. Finally, we will address processes of reconciliation and peace-building, intended to improve intergroup relations in post-conflict settings and prevent conflict recurrence. Throughout the course, we will survey the works of scholars from different disciplines on each of these topics in order to become familiar with different perspectives and arrive at an integrative understanding. We will also discuss real world cases in which different approaches to dealing with conflict have been implemented with varying degrees of success.



Dr. Keren Sharvit

This course is a supervised practicum/internship. During the spring semester, students will conduct a project in the field. Each student can choose an organization (governmental or non-governmental) in the area of peacemaking, human rights, democracy, minority affairs, the Israeli-Palestinian question, or any other ethnic-national and international conflict problem in the Middle East or elsewhere. The choice of the project will be facilitated and approved by the instructor. In addition to the individual work and supervision, students

will engage in class discussions on their projects and all students must submit a final paper summarizing and analyzing the work and experience.


Multi-Track Diplomacy: Transforming Violent Conflict

Prof. Edy Kaufman

The goal of this course is to develop the knowledge and skills needed to facilitate transformation of interpersonal, organizational, community or complex societal conflicts, including ethnic, religious or cultural tensions, using techniques of multi-track and citizens’ diplomacy. These techniques, applicable at all levels of society, provide an essential complement to official (“first track”) diplomacy and police work, from conflicts in the workplace or community, to dealing with political instability, terrorism or insurgent activities, as currently in our work in the Middle East, South Asia, Latin America and elsewhere.


Leadership and Conflict Management: Cross-Fertilization

Dr. Ran Kuttner

Scholarship on leadership had traditionally viewed leaders as individuals who direct the actions of others, take unilateral decisions, and generally ignore or suppress differences or conflicts among the members of the group. However, in the last few decades there has been a growing understanding in literature that a leader ought to perform less hierarchically, seek input from followers, and value the power of conflict and diversity. In this course, collaborative skills and dialogic skills, also highlighted in the field of alternative dispute resolution, are emphasized, alongside other skills that conflict specialists should acquire as part of their professional development. The course presents various models of leadership and introduces leadership traits that are not commonly stressed in alternative dispute resolution scholarship. Through case studies students examine how these models and traits can help the conflict specialist in her/his work on the local, regional and national levels, both in her/his work with leaders or potential leaders, and in taking leadership roles as part of his/her conflict resolution efforts.


Geopolitics of the Middle East

Dr. Ronen Zeidel

What is it in the Middle East that attracts world attention? How homogeneous is the Middle East? What is the role of Arabs in the fabric of the Middle East and how important is Islam? All these questions and many more will be addressed in this class with a fresh , updated and original analysis. The class will include an attempt to define the Middle East geographically, trace its ascendance in global politics, review the importance of the region`s natural resources, analyze the role of ethnic and national groups, redefine Arab identity in the last two decades, explain the complexities of religion and state in all the states of the region, look at the processes of urbanization, internal migration and immigration and narrate the two major international conflicts of the region: The Arab-Israeli and the Persian Gulf. Finally, an extensive background to the political systems of the region and a future oriented analysis of their current state will also be part of the class. This class will take a wide angle, not focusing on one country, but on the region as a whole, often comparing the experience of several countries.

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