April 22, 2022, 5:49 p.m.

The Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies (CPCRS) is the home of teaching, research, and practice in peacebuilding at the University of Duhok (UoD). It is the first academic center in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, which, through its projects, works as a link between the university and society in learning and training in issues related to peacebuilding.

CPCRS facilitated the establishment of the new undergraduate Department of Peace and Human Rights Studies, the only program throught the Middle East; the department began accepted students in fall 2016. The Center previously facilitated the Master of Arts program in Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies, the only degree program in all of Iraq dedicated to teaching students about the emerging theory and practice of peacebuilding. CPCRS facilitates the higher diploma program in peacebuilding, which is running by UoD Department of Peace and Human Rights Studies. The Center conducts research on subjects related to peace and conflict in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, hosts seminars and workshops with local and national stakeholders in politics and civil society, and engages with international partners to develop new knowledge that can contribute to increased peacefulness in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq more broadly.

CPCRS was created in 2002, where it served as the University of Duhok’s institutional home for the Academic Consortium for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, an international network of organizations dedicated to peaceful resolution of conflict in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Cooperating partners included the University of Duhok, Salah Al-Deen University (Erbil), and the University of Sulaymaniyah, as well as Columbia University’s Center for International Conflict Resolution, American University’s Center for Global Peace, and the Conflict Management Group. In 2010, CPCRS transitioned from a loosely organized network affiliate to a self-contained peacebuilding institution housed within the College of Law and Politics at UoD. In September 2015, CPCRS moved to the Presidency of University of Duhok, becoming directly affiliated with the office of the President of University of Duhok. 


In August 2003, CPCRS partnered with the Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University to host and implement a conflict resolution curriculum development workshop for 13 instructors from Salah Al- Deen University, UoD, and the University of Sulaymaniyah.

From February 01 to July 31, 2005, the Center conducted a Conflict Resolution Training Course for 60 students from Salah ad Din University, the University of Sulaymaniyah, and Uod. The project was funded by the United Stated Institute of Peace (USIP).

In 2008-2009, the United Nations University for Peace supported the creation of the UoD’s M.A program in peace and conflict resolution, a two-year project with eight M.A graduates.

From 2010-2011, CPCRS collaborated with New York University’s Center for Global Affairs (CGA) on a project aimed at creating the UoD M.A program in Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies. With funding from the British Council, six UoD professors traveled to New York to work on curriculum development and pedagogy during the summers of 2010 and 2011, which they were able to apply to their Masters level teaching courses. Ten students were graduated from this M.A program.

From 2012 to 2017, CPCRS organized five annual interfaith symposiums in collaboration with Mennonite Central Committee. Symposiums topics included Learning Peace and Peacebuilding from Clergymen (2012), Religious Feasts as Bridges for Peace (2013), Promoting the Dialogue of Religious Tolerance (2014), Promoting Moderate Religious Discourse to Address Extremist Thought (2015) and the role of the clergy in reducing violence and extremism after Daesh (2017). Symposiums were attended by Muslim, Christian, Yazidi, and Baha’i clergymen, and academics and civil society activists, with recommendations published for civil society and community use. Eight books were edited and printed as a result of these

From July 30 to August 10, 2012, CPCRS facilitated the implementation of the First Joint Research Seminar in Peacebuilding, an initiative of UoD and NYU that enabled nine M.A students to travel to New York University for a 15-day intensive seminar and to form research teams with counterparts from New York University’s Master of Science in Global Affairs Program. The research teams developed proposals for peacebuilding field research that were later conducted in the Kurdistan Region in January 2013 and were collected and published as Finding Peace in Iraq.

This successful collaboration between UoD and NYU was renewed for the Second Joint Research Seminar in Peacebuilding; in July 29 to August 16, 2013, five UoD M.A students travelled to NYU, and formed research teams with counterparts from NYU. The research teams developed proposals for peacebuilding field research that were later conducted in the Kurdistan Region in January 2014 and were collected and published as Finding Peace in Iraq-Vol.II.

In August 2015, in collaboration with UNICEF, two of CPCRS’s trainers conducted a training workshop for 60 teachers and headmasters in the city of Kirkuk in an effort to promote civic values and life skills to promote peace.

In September 17, 2015, the Centre for Peace and Human Security at the American University of Kurdistan (CPHS-AUK), the US Consulate in Erbil, and CPCRS held an event to discuss human rights challenges facing minority communities in Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The event was held at the American University of Kurdistan (AUK), and was attended by over 100 guests. The event discussed the need to fight human trafficking in the 21st Century and the importance of reconciliation for the future of region as a whole, as many women and girls are still being held captive by the Islamic State group, and that young boys were also being brainwashed into fighting for IS.

From February through March 2016, and in cooperation with the Voice of Older People and Family Org. and with the support of War Child-UK, CPCRS designed and implemented three three-day workshops on community-based peace approach education for 71 people from Khabarto 1 camp for IDPs in Duhok. Twenty-three youth and 24 local leaders participated in these workshops, with a 50% female attendance rate.

From March through May 2016, and in collaboration with UNICEF, the Center designed and implemented Supporting Social Cohesion among Refuges and Host Community in Duhok This project included organizing and implementing the following activities: four brainstorming workshops on peace drivers with representatives from all communities to identify drivers of peace; three Community Peace Approaches workshops to peer mentors, including youth from communities around selected schools, and ten competitive sports activities (15 events) with diverse, multiethnic teams. The conducted sports activities helped promote team building and teamwork among Duhok governorate high school students from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, including Syrian refugee students.  

In collaboration with CGA, CPCRS implemented Supporting the University of Duhok in Becoming the Center of Excellence for Peacebuilding in Iraq; 2013-2017. Supported by the US Department of State’s Ambassador’s Fund. The overarching goal of the initiative, which was launched in 2013, is to enhance UoD’s existing capacity as an academic and practice-oriented center of excellence in peacebuilding. The project consisted of: 1. Establishing an international symposium about the intersection of peacebuilding and education in Iraq, to be hosted by UoD; 2. and establishing two new research projects – a conflict assessment of displaced communities in Duhok and an examination of mediation in the Iraqi court system, and; 3. Designing and implementing a Community Peace Education (CPE) program as part of UoD’s Master of Arts in Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies. In 2014, the US Department of State requested that CGA and UoD extend through February 2017 and continue the CPE program, conducting 108 workshops in schools and 72 in community centers and refugee or IDPs camps.

In collaboration with CGA, the center implemented the Improving Local Capacity to Build Peace and Improve Social Cohesion Among Host and Displaced Communities in Duhok and Nineveh Governorates. Supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). CPCRS and CGA undertook a one-year project to encourage community solidarity through skill-building and awareness-raising, thereby increasing local capacities to peacefully and sustainably manage conflict and social change. These activities were used an Appreciative Inquiry model to help reduce tensions and promote social cohesion between and among IDPs, refugees, and host communities living in Duhok and northern Nineveh governorate, while increasing coordination between peacebuilding activities. The project included: 1) Piloting a blended learning (50% online) diploma in peacebuilding skills and approaches for Syrian refugees 2) Training social cohesion and dialogue groups from displaced and host communities, 3) Conducting social cohesion assessment surveys and roundtable discussions to raise awareness of social cohesion successes and challenges, 4) Establishing ongoing social cohesion media monitoring and messaging, and 5) Mobilizing local and displaced youth as a conflict sensitivity training corps, empowering to serve as bridges between IDP and host communities, and ultimately to serve as youth focal points for peace during the return process, while strengthening UoD’s ability to improve social cohesion. The project started in April 15, 2016 and ended in June 14, 2017.

In collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), CPCRS implemented Peacebuilding and Social Cohesion in Ninewa Governorate The project included conducting training of trainers for ten people from five locations in Ninewa on peacebuilding and conflict resolution skills, undertaking ten community-level peacebuilding’s activities in the selected locations, and four conflict assessment researches on violent youth mobilization in four of selected locations. The project started in November 2016 and ended in March 2017.

In collaboration with IOM, CPCRS designed and implemented Conflict Mediation Training for IDPs, Returnees and Host Communities in Zummar The project included conducting: Mediation Skills Workshop for 17 Community Leaders in or around Zummar, Mediation Skills Workshop for 16 Active Women in or around Zummar, Mediation Skills Workshop for 21 Youth in or around Zummar and Six peacebuilding activities conducted by participants. The project started in May 2017 and ended in August 2017.

In collaboration with CGA, the center implements the Building University Capacity in Peace Education in Duhok and Mosul project. Supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project aims at building capacity in key peace skills for at least 20 academics from University of Duhok and University of Mosul; conduct 12 workshops for University of Mosul students on conflict assessment, mediation and reconciliation; building capacity of at least 20 youth each in Sumel, Sheikhan and Duhok to engage meaningfully in peacebuilding initiatives strengthened. The project started in October 2017 and will end in September 2018.

In collaboration with IOM, CPCRS designed and implemented CPCRS implemented the “Community-driven inclusion of IDPs and Host Communities in Dohuk Governorate through provision of economic opportunities and psychosocial support” project from 1 April 2018 to 31 August 2018. The project included: 1. Organizing 3 days training on basic skills on mediation, leadership and conflict management for at least 30 CSOs members; 2. Conducting 3 days training on advanced skills on mediation, leadership and conflict management for at least 30 CSOs members; 3. Organizing 3 days training on conflict assessment and peacebuilding planning for 30 management level NGO members; 4. Developing monitoring and evaluation tools for 12 trainings conducted by IOM.

With fund from MCC, CPCRS implemented the “Building Youth Capacity to Engage Meaningfully in Social Cohesion Initiatives”, from 10 December 2019 to 31 March 2021. The project included: 1-Conducting one 3-day basic conflict resolution skills training for at least 20 UoD students from UoD departments; 2- Conducting two 3-day community initiative planning training, each one for 20 UoD students; 3- Organizing 8 small-grants social cohesion projects for mixed-gender groups of the project’s participants.

In collaboration with the Lutheran World Federation-Iraq, and fund from Church of Sweden, CPCRS organized and conducted the following activities: 1- Conducting 3 Community Conflict Management Trainings for community leaders in Duhok and Sumel; Conducting 2 training on Social Media Advocacy for social media activists and journalists; 3- Conducting research on the role of youth in peacebuilding in Dohuk. The activities were conducted within the joint project “Advancing Social Cohesion and Community Participation in Iraq”, which lasted from 15 September 2020 to 31 January 2021