Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)

Module SGIA43515: Conflict Mediation

Department: Government and International Affairs

SGIA43515: Conflict Mediation

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To explain the process of conflict mediation by third-parties
  • To develop and practice skills and techniques necessary for effective mediation
  • To explore factors present in asymmetric and/or violent conflicts that impact on conflict mediation


  • Indicative module content typically includes: entry and exit strategies; types of mediation (official and non-official);legitimacy of mediators; benefits and limitations of mediation; qualities of mediators; mediator credibility; timing of mediation initiatives; ethical guidelines for mediators; techniques and skills of mediation; engaging armed non-state groups in mediation; co-mediation and building a mediation team; mediation in protracted asymmetric and symmetric violent conflict; spoilers;
  • Students will learn and practice mediation using case studies, role plays, and simulation exercises.
  • Students will use learning from Module 3 and be given new information prior to the elective, particularly with respect to role playing requirements, to enhance the learning and ‘realism’ of the mediation exercises.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • a advanced knowledge of third-party mediation processes and how these are impacted upon by internal and external influences.
  • an understanding of how the taught academic elements of mediation concepts and theory are operationally applicable in situations of tension and conflict
Subject-specific Skills:
  • an ability to analyse conflicts and design mediation approaches at an advanced level.
  • an ability to recognise links between early warning and rapid response mechanisms with stages in a mediation process
  • to employ skills of third-party conflict mediation
  • to link conflict sensitive approaches to project implementation with mediation skills
  • to engage in research projects at MA level in the subject of conflict analysis and principled negotiation
  • to apply subject related knowledge and advanced theoretical models to the evaluation of current local and global issues, to interpret and analyse empirical data at an advanced level and according to competing explanatory frameworks, and to recognise the impact of a chosen conceptual framework on one’s research findings
Key Skills:
  • to demonstrate an ability to construct argument critically for both oral and written presentation from different sources of material, including material delivered orally and in an article review, report or policy document.
  • to demonstrate an independent approach to learning, critical thinking and creative problem-solving.
  • to use sophisticated techniques of information retrieval and management using an array of print and digital resources.
  • to demonstrate an ability to work cooperatively and constructively in group exercises and role plays
  • to formulate complex arguments in articulate and structured English, within the discursive conventions and genres of academic writing and written to high academic standard
  • to demonstrate effective time management.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be delivered as a block in workshop format over a period of an evening and two full consecutive days, and will involve a mixture of lectures, short presentations, discussion and small group work, and a role play or oral presentation based on real or constructed cases.
  • Summative assessment will include a pre-workshop article review, and a post-workshop report or policy document. Which post-workshop assessment is selected is in the hands of students (in consultation with the module convener), so as to maximise flexibility with a view to the wide range of professional backgrounds and needs students attending the course are expected to have. The post-workshop assignment is in the form of a report or policy document reflecting on the content and skills learning acquired during the module incorporating perspectives from research, academic or work contexts. The pre-workshop assignment is designed to provide students with a focused task to prepare them, through self-guided learning, for the workshop’s discussions and/or role play, the knowledge, analytical pointers and literature advice for which will be provided through a virtual induction. Prior to the elective students will be provided with key article(s) to read and provide a written review. This might take the form of one longer article or two (or more) shorter articles to review and compare.
  • Formative assessment is intended to develop students' oral communication and academic writing skills, as well as effective time management. Students will receive continuing formative feedback in seminar and group discussions. During the workshop there will be spaces for discussion and reflection on skill development. They will receive formal formative feedback on their role play or oral presentation in a debriefing session after the event, in which students’ performances will be discussed in view of the learning outcomes.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Module in workshop format 2 Term 2 2 days 18
Preparation, reading, assessments Term 2 132
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Article Review 1000 words 30%
Report or Policy Document 2500 words 70%

Formative Assessment:

Role play or oral presentations; continuing feedback in seminar and group discussions.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University