MA Peace and Security Studies

Program level: 


Program starts every semester.



Duration in semesters: 

4 semesters


Peace and Security Studies covers a wide range of issues that include peace, violent conflict (such as individual violence, collective violence, and state violence), justice, inequality, social change, human rights, militarism, gender and security/insecurity, regional and global security/insecurity, hydro politics, etc. Its focus ranges from local to global levels. Due to various reasons, currently, Peace and Security Studies in higher education is characterized by a wide range of approaches and goals. Different intellectual sources for Peace and Security Studies contribute to the diversity of approaches and goals. The first intellectual stream comes from international relations. Scholars of international relations have been studying war, security/ insecurity as well as peace and diplomacy for centuries. During the last hundred years these studies have sought to identify the patterns that contribute to conflictual or harmonious nation state relationships.

Thus, the designing of this curriculum (MA in Peace and Security Studies) takes the current development in areas of peace and security, and contextualizes with the visions and missions of ECSU. As ECSU envisions excelling in Public Service Capacity Building in Africa, it is evident that the university shall diversify its programs with the focus of achieving its mission. To this end, the Peace and Security Studies program within AIGAD will strive not only to achieve the mission of ECSU, but also the strategic regional and continental development goals of Ethiopia through education, research and tailor-made training.

Prerequisites & Requirements

Nowadays, peace and security problems become one of the major challenges of development facing many countries in Africa, including Ethiopia. The economic, political and social consequences of violent conflicts are immense. Indeed, such types of conflict and insecurities displace population, destroy infrastructure, disrupt schooling, damage the social fabric, endanger civil liberties, and result health and famine crises. This situation is not only affecting the actors directly involved but also others, which may not have a direct stake in the conflict. Against this backdrop and for the purpose of addressing the problem in a systematic and non-costly mechanism, there is a need for greater understanding of the political, economic and social factors that affect security and stability, as well as the tragic human costs involved in such conflicts. In this regard, it is essential to train and educate civil servants and scholars from relevant government institutions with the fundamental theories and concepts of peace and security, which will help them to play a leading role in addressing the aforementioned local, national and global peace and security challenges.

It has been well documented that problems of peace and security have also been a major feature of Ethiopia and are among the major challenges for its development. Historically, Ethiopia qualifies as a conflict-prone country and conflict was the major and fundamental explanatory factor for the poverty and backwardness of the country. Because of this, the history of the country is the history of war and conflicts. The consequence of these conflicts has been devastating. Not only did they create human misery or resulted in the loss of life and destruction of physical capital, with detrimental implications for growth and development, but has at times threatened the very existence of the Ethiopian polity.

Resources shifted from productive to destructive activities as conflict destroyed the very bases of the economic and political fabric, as well as the social and civic ties that permit and sustain development. Despite good achievements in the socio-economic and political arenas, there still are fundamental challenges that require serious attention by the government and other concerned bodies. One of the major challenges which currently face Ethiopia is lack of peace and stability in many areas of the country because of multifaceted factors. Indeed the violent conflicts in different corners of the country still need strong attention. Ethiopia is also surrounded by unstable neighboring countries. Several of them are still in civil war, with negative repercussions on the peace and security situation of the country. The costs of conflict are multifaceted and complex, ranging from breakdown of law and order, disruption of economic activities and social disorder, humanitarian crises (e.g. displacement of people, including vulnerable groups such as women and children) and a state of uncertainty that deters investment efforts and stability.

Thus, to address such conflict related problems at local, regional, national level and beyond, it is necessary to build the capacity of civil servants from relevant government institutions to understand the nature, duration, causes, intensity, and consequences of conflicts as well as the modalities for their cessation through scientific inquiry. In order to do so, civil servants at various levels of government need to be equipped with fundamental theories and concepts that help them to assist with conflict prevention, management, resolution, and post-conflict reconstruction endeavors. Such knowledge and understanding are essential to learn from previous initiatives and to design and develop appropriate policy responses. Moreover, professional civil servants should be capable of understanding the social, cultural and political configuration of the country and people, as well as the dynamic link between peace/security and growth/development.

Based on the practical self-experience and lessons learnt over a decade, the FDRE government has recognized that peace and security is a key factor for attracting investment and for sustained economic development. Similarly, it recognizes that rapid economic development helps to promote peace and stability within the country as well as the region as a whole. Realizing the importance of peace and security, in October 2018, the FDRE government established the Ministry of Peace, which shows that government has given high priority to peace, conflict resolution, and security. It is evident that AIGAD’s plan to establish an MA program in Peace and Security reflects the country’s priority agenda. On the other hand, this program will not only closely work with this ministry, but will also recruit potential students from the ministry and from other relevant public institutions. Therefore, the choice of the field as an area of study in the university emanates from the need of the country to produce professional and competent civil servants equipped with the requisite knowledge, skills and attitude needed to prevent, manage, and resolve conflicts effectively, impartially, and through bottom up processes and approaches. To this end, a need assessment was conducted based on a mixed research approach. Result of the need assessment highlights there is a gap of having competent and professional civil servants in areas of peace and security.

Program Objectives

The designed MA Program in Peace and Security Studies comprises the following general and specific objectives:

· General Objective

The general objective of this program is to build the capacity of civil servants with building knowledge, skills and attitude required to maintain and advance sustainable peace and security at national, regional and continental levels.

· Specific Objectives

The specific objectives of this program are to build the capacity of civil servants who:

(a) Have good attitude towards diversity and possess deep knowledge and skills on how to manage and resolve conflicts in a pluralist society;

(b) Have profound knowledge about issues pertaining to conflict, peace and security in Ethiopia, Africa and the world at large;

(c) Have both reputable capacity and competences to map, analyze and transform conflicts at local, national, regional and international levels;

(d) Can propose realistic policy options to appropriate policy makers based on their critical analysis of contemporary conflict, peace and security situations at local, national, regional and international levels;

(e) Have clear understanding about the dynamic relationship between conflict/ peace/security and development and identify the major bottlenecks for sustainable peace, security and development;

(f) Possess good knowledge about the use of modern and traditional institutional and legal frameworks to address conflicts effectively.

Exit Level Outcomes

Upon completion of the MA program in Peace and Security Studies, graduates are expected to:

  • Analyze causes, processes and consequences of conflict professionally;
  • Apply roles of mediation, negotiation or arbitration to resolve different types of conflicts at different levels;
  • Serve as think thanks on issues related to peace, conflict and security at local, national, regional and international levels;
  • Become peace-building and conflict transformation specialist at national, regional and international levels;
  • Design and review policies and strategies on conflict, peace and security issues in line with the national, regional and global context;
  • Design professional peace and security documents for education, training and research;
  • Implement peace and security reform programs at various levels of the country;
  • Apply conflict-sensitive approaches in development, humanitarian and peace-building interventions; and
  • Prepare and apply security sector reform at country level, regional level (IGAD), continental and global levels (the AU or UN peacekeeping mission) to support peaceful transition in post-conflict situations.


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