Fragility, Conflict & Statebuilding Course

How can we counter fragility and engage in statebuilding? Reflect on fundamentals of global public policy challenges.

Course topic

States of fragility are of major concern to actors spanning from local citizens to global policy makers. Not only are they particularly prone to violent conflict, they are also held responsible for a range of public bads transcending national borders. While ‘fragility’ is pervasive in donor and aid organizations’ thinking, the concept remains unclear and fuels the debate on how the international community should best respond. This course focuses on the conceptual, policy and implementation challenges of statebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.

Program overview 2017
Program overview 2016
Program overview 2015

Your benefits

  • Draw lessons from links between concepts of violent conflict, fragility, state- and peacebuilding
  • Understand the foundations of states and the construction of social and political legitimacy
  • Learn about international policy responses to fragile and conflict-affected contexts
  • Reflect on current methodologies proposed by international actors for working successfully in fragile contexts


This course is designed for professionals working on issues pertaining to fragility, conflict and statebuilding as well as practitioners and academics interested in ‘seeing the bigger picture’ by combining practical experiences with conceptual insights.

A minimum of two years of professional experience in relevant fields and a university degree (minimum BA) or an equivalent educational background are required.

The course will be held with a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 25 participants.


Leading scholars and experienced policy makers and practitioners from swisspeace and different international organizations, universities and governmental bodies facilitate this course:

Course coordinators:
Dr Dominik Balthasar & Dr Sibel Gürler, swisspeace

Prof. James Putzel, London School of Economics and Political Science
Matt Waldmann, Advisor to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Somalia
Tania Hörler, Senior Program Officer, Analysis & Impact, swisspeace, Dr. Gabi Hesselbein, Freelance Research Consultant for National and International Organisations, Dr. Jan Pospisil, DFID Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Law, University of Edinburgh.

Faculty list 2017

Faculty list 2016

Faculty list 2015

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).