Course: Preventing Violent Conflicts (2-4 May 18, Swisspeace, Basel)

Conflict prevention – beyond a moral obligation and economic necessity? Learn about practical approaches to the prevention of violent conflicts.

Course topic

Despite increased international pressure and action to prevent violent conflicts and mass atrocities after the shocks of Rwanda and Srebrenica in the 1990s, the number of armed conflicts has increased in recent years. Whilst the wars in Syria, South Sudan or Ukraine differ with respect to the actors, driving factors and dynamics, they all raise the question of how violence and its escalation could have been prevented. The renewed attention to conflict prevention thus comes as no surprise, especially in light of a cost-benefit-perspective: investing in prevention is more sensible than post-conflict reconstruction. This course provides insights into the concept of conflict prevention and explores how it relates to issues such as the prevention of violent extremism and mass atrocities. Based on lessons learnt and best practices, it examines practical tools and methods for applying conflict prevention in your work context.

Your Benefits

  • Understand the notion of conflict prevention
  • Learn about macro- and micro-level methods for conflict prevention along the conflict cycle and how to use them in your own context
  • Explore the potential of private sector risk assessment tools for the development and peacebuilding sectors
  • Draw lessons from other contexts and disciplines for your work


This course is designed for professionals working in all stages of peacebuilding and development including policy-makers, practitioners and academics interested in enriching their own experiences with current conceptual insights and practical knowledge.

A minimum of two years of professional experience in relevant fields and a university degree (minimum BA) or an equivalent educational background are required.

The course will be held with a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 25 participants.


Experienced practitioners and scholars working on conflict prevention will facilitate this course.

Course Coordinator:
Dr. Lisa Ott, Co-Head, Dealing with the Past, swisspeace

Tania Hörler
, Senior Program Officer, Analysis & Impact,
Dr. Heinz Krummenacher
, Senior Fellow, swisspeace

Alexander Mayer-Rieckh
, SSR Associate, The International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT) of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forches (DCAF)
Dr. Reto Schneider, former Head of Emerging Risk Management, Swiss Re

Structure & methodology

The course consists of preparatory reading and a 3-day on-site training. Course methodologies include expert inputs, peer exchange, case studies, exercises, skills training and self-study.


Successful participants are awarded a Confirmation of Participation. This course can be taken as one module (2 ECTS) of the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Civilian Peacebuilding Methodologies and the Diploma and Master of Advanced Studies in Civilian Peacebuilding programs offered by swisspeace and the University of Basel.

Further information and application: swisspeace course (link)


University of Basel
Centre for African Studies
Rheinsprung 21
CH-4051 Basel
Tel.: +41 (0)61 207 34 82