Inside NYU Steinhardt:  Elisabeth King on the Minor in Peace and Conflict Studies

Steinhardt’s new interdisciplinary minor in Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) is geared toward undergraduate students who want to better understand the world today and contribute to global peace efforts.  Students in the program will be studying with faculty members who have their fingers on the pulse of state of the world, who will lead them in an exploration of issues from political violence and terrorism to civil resistance.  We spoke to Elisabeth King, program director of the peace and conflict studies minor, about the program.

Elisabeth King near the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem

Who should sign up for the Peace and Conflict Studies minor?

The minor is open to undergraduate students across the university.  It draws on the wealth of courses that are offered here on the square and around the world by diverse faculty across departments who have different disciplinary approaches. This minor brings these undergraduate courses together into a field of study for the first time.

There are many reasons to enroll in this minor.  It might be that you are interested in a career related to human rights or refugees; education in emergencies or local peacebuilding. It might be that you are interested in joining the Peace Corps, the military, or doing international development work. It might be that you aspire to graduate school. and want to go on to study law, international relations, political science, or international education.  Maybe you have  a passion for global affairs or commitment to social justice, or just want to learn more. The PACS program slogan “Study War. Make Peace,” comes from the idea that we need to study peace and conflict issues and understand their complexity in order to be a part of productive and meaningful change.

What will you be teaching?

When I think about the contribution that I want to make in the world, at this particular moment in time, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a group of motivated NYU students to study peace and conflict. I hope to help them better understand complex global issues and motivate them to make a difference in the real world.

I have the privilege to teach the anchor course, which will be offered each fall, and that will focus on explaining violent conflict, trying to understand the lived experience of people in conflict-affected contexts, and think about what international and local actors can do to build peace at home and abroad.  There will be lots of real-world examples, reference to current events, and opportunities to engage with people who work on these issues.

To learn more about Elisabeth King, read International Education Student Create Resources for Under-Served and Refugee Children.