This class will look at the Syrian tragedy from a critical perspective of experiments in conflict resolution interventions from their pre-war stage inside Syria to their current mid-war period. Students will learn about the challenges facing Syrian refugees, meet with activists and humanitarian workers, and learn from organizations attempting to address these challenges and mitigate the disastrous results of the conflict.
This is a service-learning course that brings students face-to-face with the refugee situation and the realities of the conflict on the ground. In partnership with local organizations, students complete several days of service work over the course of the trip. Students will stay in Amman and travel to refugee areas north of the city to volunteer at schools and centers sponsored by Project Amal ou Salam and the Tastakel Women's Center.
We will address the general history of nonviolent resistance and social movements and the fate of nonviolence in the Syrian struggle. We will also look at the effect of outside actors and geopolitics on the direction of these movements. CRDC staff have over thirty years of research and practical experience with religious extremism, and we will examine the practical ways to cope with the externally- and internally-funded extremist realities that have profoundly altered the challenges of building peace in Syria.
This class will be a practice class in that half our time will be spent deeply engaging with and learning from Syrian activists whose work crosses the divides of civil society, medicine, education, and engineering. Explorations will be made of goal-oriented and principled processes of coalition-building that focuses less on what or who is being opposed and more on the ethical practices of what can be built for the future, as well as an ethical approach to nonviolent social change that is radically inclusive in the process of building peaceful post-conflict societies. The course will entail lectures by Dr. Marc Gopin, touring in Jordan, studies with CRDC’s director of interfaith peacebuilding Hind Kabawat, and engagement with Syrians in Amman and in refugee areas.
The program is open to all Mason and non-Mason undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. students as a 3-credit course and to non-students as a professional development seminar.
Students will choose one 3-credit course during the application process. Students enrolled in the March session will be registered for their course during the spring semester. Students enrolled in the August session will be registered for their course during the fall semester.
- Conflict Analysis - CONF 385: Approaches to Conflict Management and Resolution: Field Work with Syrian Refugees
- Conflict Analysis - CONF 397: Study Abroad Special Topics
- Conflict Analysis - CONF 695: Approaches to Conflict Management and Resolution: Field Work with Syrian Refugees
Fall 2019: August 3 - 11, 2019
Spring 2020: March 7 - 15, 2020
The dates listed above are the actual days that the program takes place. Students are free to arrive early or depart late. Students who arrive before the program starts or stay after the program ends are responsible for their own accommodations and all other expenses associated with independent travel.
||Arrival to Amman; orientation
||Meeting with women Syrian activists; guest speaker on relief funds for Syrian refugees
||Visit to a women's center in Amman to facilitate a workshop
||Visit to a children's center in Amman that focuses on trauma-affected youth; guest speaker on psychosocial support for Syrian refugees
||Visit to the women's center in Zizya to facilitate a workshop on civic engagement
||Meeting with refugee NGOs; panel discussion with a Syrian who works at Zaatari camp and a Syrian who works with
refugees outside the camps
||Visit to a children's center in Irbid; meetings with representatives of international organizations in Amman
||"World Day" with Syrian and Jordanian kids at a school in Amman; farewell dinner
||Program ends. Departure for U.S.
* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.
August 2019: $3,890
March 2020: $3,890
Included: Tuition for 3 credits, double-occupancy (shared) hotel rooms for all 8 nights, two meals daily, excursions and entrance fees as described in itinerary, course trainers and speaker fees, in-country ground transportation, international emergency medical insurance.
Not included: Round-trip airfare*, passport and visa fees, transportation to/from the airport on arrival and departure days, some meals, personal spending, required textbooks and/or course materials.
*Note: Participants must arrange their own airfare once instructed to do so by the program administrator.
Students on CRDC programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in two payments (Deposit + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments.
Program Deposit: Accepted students must make a non-refundable program deposit of $1500. This fee is paid through the Mason Student Accounts Office. This deposit is included in the program fee.
Final Payment: This is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $1500 you've already paid (Deposit). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.
Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid or VA benefits to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" or "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form" completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the First Payment deadline. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have started your application for this program. If you are using VA Benefits please contact the Global Education Office to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."
Non-Mason Students: Non-Mason students must be admitted to the University and assigned a student number prior to making payments. Please submit the "Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form" during the application phase in order to begin this process.
Refund and Cancellation Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Refund and Cancellation Policy.
August 2019 session: June 9, 2019
March 2020 session: December 15, 2019
CRDC Application Package: You will submit several required documents to support your application (one-page letter of interest, one-page resume, and contact information for two references). Please follow the submission instructions provided in the application. These documents should be uploaded as one single PDF.
Your references must include at least one academic reference. No personal references.
Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.
Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now.
Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, communication policy, and your financial responsibility.
Intent to Use Financial Aid Form: For Mason students only. If you use financial aid, this form must be completed by your financial aid counselor and submitted by the first payment deadline.
Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:
Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.
Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.
* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.