Dealing with the Past & Conflict Transformation Course

Learn about the design and implementation of effective and transformative dealing with the past processes.

Course topic

Finding a way to deal with a violent past following events such as civil war, the end of an authoritarian regime or occupation, is often argued to be the basis for lasting peace, democracy and rule of law. International advocacy networks, norms and legal frameworks support national and local actors in the design of mechanisms and processes like truth commissions, tribunals or commemorations. The interactions of these actors shape whether a particular dealing with the past process succeeds in being locally relevant and effective. This course examines the potentials and challenges of designing and implementing dealing with the past processes, and the ways in which actors can work together for effective policy decision-making. Engaging with key debates in the field, it focuses on how to ensure that dealing with the past processes support the transformation of violent conflicts.

Program overview 2017
Program overview 2016
Program overview 2015

Your benefits

  • Get to know ‘local’ approaches to dealing with the past as well as ‘international’ norms and frameworks
  • Understand processes of memorialization
  • Reflect on perspectives of victims and perpetrators in contexts of transition
  • Learn about transformative approaches to dealing with the past

Course methodologies include expert inputs, peer exchange, a study visit, case studies, exercises, skills training and self-study.


This course is designed for professionals engaged in dealing with the past processes and conflict transformation: practitioners and academics interested in combining their own experiences with current conceptual insights and practical knowledge.


Leading scholars and experienced practitioners from swisspeace and different international, governmental and civil society organizations facilitate this course.

Course coordinator:
Dr. des. Julie Bernath, swisspeace

Elisabeth Baumgartner, swisspeace
Nicola Diday, swisspeace
Luisa Franco, Specialist in ethnic archives and oral memory projects
Sidonia Gabriel, swisspeace (tbc)
Dr. Lisa Ott, swisspeace
Dr. Enzo Nussio, ETH and swisspeace
Alain Werner, Civitas Maxima

Structure & methodology

The course consists of preparatory reading and a 5-day on-site training. Course methodologies include expert inputs, peer exchange, case studies, exercises, skills training and self-study.


Successful participants are awarded a Confirmation of Participation. This course can be taken as one module (3 ECTS) of the Certificate, Diploma and Master of Advanced Studies in Civilian Peacebuilding programs offered by swisspeace and the University of Basel.

Any questions about this course?

Please take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). If you cannot find the information you are looking for, our staff will happily answer your questions (contact us).