Politicians, Paramilitaries, and Peace, takes students to Northern Ireland to learn about the linkages between the political and grassroots levels in a conflict that has evolved significantly over the last 50 years but still faces challenges of reconciliation and integration. Students see the impact of partition and witness how Northern Ireland and the Republic developed differently following this key moment in their histories. Students will examine the linkages between the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and the events of the 1960s in Northern Ireland and visit the peace walls in Belfast to study their relationship to paramilitary groups’ ceasefires. The class will visit the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont to hear from political parties and politicians involved in the negotiations of the 1990s and will also hear firsthand accounts from civil society organizations and grassroots organizations, such as women’s groups and ex-combatants’ groups.In both Belfast and Derry/Londonderry, we’ll examine how the post-conflict scenario evolves and delve into the challenges of a process that is frozen in the period of conflict management rather than moving on to conflict transformation and conflict resolution. Lectures and guest speakers will address the challenges of peacebuilding at an everyday level in interface communities and the realities of life in a polarized, post-ceasefire society. The course will examine how the theoretical works out at the practical level and raise the question of what model of government is best suited to such a society.
This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students including those who do not attend George Mason University. Non-students can participate as a professional development seminar.
CONF 385: International Field Experience
Conflict Analysis and Resolution (CONF) 695: Selected Topics
Professional Development Seminar
Non-credit option (certificate of completion)
June 26 - July 4, 2021
Students arrive in Belfast; Orientation
Remembering Conflict - Crumlin Road Gaol and Peace Walls
Making Peace from the Bottom Up - A Unionist/Loyalist Perspective
Making Peace from the Bottom Up - A Nationalist/Republican Perspective
Making Peace - A Political Perspective; Meetings with Political Parties at City Hall
Building Peace in Contested Spaces in Derry/Londonderry
Governing Peace - Stormont & Belfast City Council Good Relations Unit
A 'Bubble of Peace' - The Giants Causeway/ Game of Thrones filming locations
*Instructor reserves the right to modify the course schedule as needed
* 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.
Summer 2021: $3,890
Program Fee Includes:
Tuition (3 credits)
Hotel accommodations (shared rooms)
In-country ground transportation
Course trainers’ and speakers' costs
International Emergency Insurance
Price does not include: Round-trip airfare/airport transportation
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 your program officer 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.
Dr. Gopin is the GMU professor of record for this course and will meet with students at the pre-trip and post-trip meetings in Arlington. Dr. Gopin does not travel with students to Northern Ireland. Lectures in Northern Ireland are conducted by Dr. Sean Brennan.
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.