Certificate of Advanced Study in Postconflict Reconstruction

The CAS in Postconflict Reconstruction (PCR) is a 12-credit, interdisciplinary, law and policy studies program for postgraduate students preparing for careers in PCR, peace building, humanitarian relief, and development. Courses and research cover the rule of law, conflict studies, economics, capacity-building, and international security.

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One of a few programs of its kind in the US—the CAS in PCR familiarizes graduate and law students with the major aspects of PCR, the dimensions and goals of postconflict work, the actors who conduct it, their trade-offs and dilemmas, and the lessons learned from its application.

Like other INSCT programs, the CAS in PCR is multidisciplinary and broad in scope. Students are exposed to a range of topics that include reconciliation and peacebuilding; disarmament, demilitarization, and reintegration; security, rule of law, and governance reform; and development economics. These topics are covered by courses held across SU’s campus, including those in the anthropology, law, public administration and international affairs, and economics departments.

All students are required to complete an innovative core course—Fundamentals of Postconflict Reconstruction—taught by experts and practitioners in conflict analysis and resolution from the Maxwell School. An important requirement of this certificate, MPA students also participate in a capstone project related to PCR.

Who Can Apply

This certificate is available to graduate and law students currently matriculated at Syracuse University.

Areas of Specialization

David F. Everett Postconflict Reconstruction Speaker Series


INSCT Assistant Director Keli Perrin introduces Keith Tidball, Senior Extension Associate in Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources, who spoke at the Maxwell School on Feb. 26, 2014.

An additional unique aspect of INSCT’s CAS in PCR graduate program is the David F. Everett Postconflict Reconstruction Speaker Series, which brings established and widely known PCR experts to SU to deliver a lecture and to meet with students in the PCR certificate program.

The Everett PCR Speaker Series helps INSCT deepen its network of affiliated experts and professionals in this critical-need area from which graduate and law students may develop internship and career opportunities.

Past Everett PCR Speakers

Greening in the Red Zone

Feb. 26, 2014 | Keith Tidball, Senior Extension Associate, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University

Keith Tidball, Senior Extension Associate in Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources, asserts that creating and accessing green spaces confers resilience and recovery in systems disrupted by conflict or disaster. Tidball is the co-editor of Greening in the Red Zone, an edited volume that provides evidence for this assertion through cases studies from Afghanistan, Soweto, New Orleans, Kenya, Cameroon, Cyprus, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Legal Advice in a Combat Zone: Supporting the Army in Multinational/Joint Forces Combat and Peacekeeping Operations and the Bilateral Security Agreement

Feb. 19, 2014 | COL James McKee (’88, L ’91)

COL James McKee discussed his recent experience as the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate of US Forces-Afghanistan, his role in drafting the Bilateral Security Agreement between the US and Afghanistan, and his work with Deputy US Ambassador James Warlick’s negotiating team.


COL James McKee, speaking at the SU College of Law on Feb.19, 2014.

Making Stability Operations Smarter: Innovations for Fragile Environments

Nov. 12, 2013 | Morgan Courtney, Burma (Mynamar) Engagement Lead, Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, US Department of State

Morgan Courtney is the Burma (Myanmar) Engagement Lead at the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations at the US Department of State (DOS), where she manages a team of conflict specialists in the field and in Washington who focus on peace, conflict, and reconciliation in Burma.

Before this appointment, she served as the Special Assistant to the Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma at the DOS, where she handled a broad array of security, political, economic, and conflict/reconciliation issues at a critical point in Burma’s democratic transition. Before that, she served as a Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Chairman’s Action Group, where she helped to provide guidance on a range of issues, including Syria, the Asia-Pacific rebalance, women in combat, and security assistance reform.

Exposing One of Our Flanks: Failures in US Security Sector Reform in Afghanistan (2001-2012) and Lessons for Future US Foreign Engagements

April 23, 2013 | Erik Leklem, Senior Advisor for Global Defense Reform in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Partnership Strategy and Stability Operations

The success of US policy in Afghanistan and our reputation in the region is at risk, but in a mission area that is not widely understood: security ministry development and capacity building.  Without capable, civilian-led security ministries, Afghanistan’s security forces may be exploited by malign actors, be less combat effective, and fracture along ethnic lines, especially after Transition in 2014.

The Future of Security Sector Reform

April 10, 2012 | Mark Sedra, Senior Fellow, Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and Research Scholar, University of Waterloo, Canada

Sedra directs all of CIGI’s Security Sector Governance Projects, which produce field-based research and analysis on numerous ongoing war-to-peace transitions, including those in Afghanistan, Burundi, Haiti, Southern Sudan and Timor-Leste. In addition to his work at CIGI, Mark is a research scholar in the University of Waterloo’s department of political science and a faculty member at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. He is a member of the International Security Sector Advisory Team, an initiative developed at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces. He has co-authored two books, served as an editor for two others and produced numerous journal articles, book chapters, policy papers, technical reports and op-eds. Mark has also served as a consultant and adviser to numerous government agencies, intergovernmental bodies and non-governmental organizations, such as DFAIT, the Canadian Ministry of Public Safety, the British Department for International Development and the United Nations.

A Crisis of Trust

April 5, 2012 | A Panel Discussion of the Challenges and Prospects for Sustained Security Force Assistance to Afghanistan

This panel of distinguished subject-matter experts will reflect on their recent experiences working as embedded advisors to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and discuss what is necessary to salvage and regain the trust necessary for any long term strategic partnership and sustained security assistance beyond the projected end of combat operations in 2013.

Building the Rule of Law from the Bottom-Up

Feb. 15, 2012 | A Video-Teleconference with US Army Brigade Leaders and Afghan Prosecutors

Professor David Crane (College of Law/INSCT) will moderate a video-teleconference with key leaders and JAG officers from the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Fort Drum, NY) and Afghan prosecutors from the Zharay District of Kandahar Province.

Over the past 10 months, 3/10 Mountain has worked tirelessly with their Afghan partners to support capacity- and legitimacy-building efforts in legal institutions at the local level. Recent accomplishments include being one of the first districts to (1) develop a warrant-based system of search and seizure; (2) conduct criminal trials in public; and (3) integrate informal Afghan dispute resolvers (Huquqs) into the legal system to serve as arbitrators and strengthen the link between local Afghans and their government.

UN Perspectives on Postconflict Reconstruction

Dec. 6, 2011 | Pedro Medrano Rojas, Director, World Food Programme’s New York Office

Rojas was appointed Director of the World Food Programme’s New York Office in July 2009. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Medrano was the WFP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. Earlier, he served as the WFP Representative to India and Regional Manager for Southeast Asia. Mr. Medrano previously served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Chile to the FAO, IFAD and WFP in Rome, beginning in 1993 until 1998. Between 1995 and 1997, Mr. Medrano was President of the World Committee on Food Security, where he presided over the preparations for the World Food Summit held in November 1996 in Rome, Italy.

Transition and Reconstruction: Evolving US-Afghan Partnerships

Nov. 9, 2011 | Afghan Gov. Iqbal Azizi, Laghman Province, and Miguel Sapp (SU Law ’88; MPA ’89), Director, Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team

INSCT welcomes Afghan Governor Iqbal Azizi and Miguel Sapp for a discussion on the evolving nature of U.S. and Afghan partnerships.

God Grew Tired of Us

July 13, 2011 | Film Screening

John Dau, Founder, John Dau Foundation (Transforming Healthcare in South Sudan)

Building Capacity and Legitimacy in the Afghan Security Forces: Recent Experiences of the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan

April 12, 2011 | Panel Discussion

A panel of key leaders from the 2-22 Infantry Battalion (1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum), which spent the last year mentoring, instructing, and advising members of the Afghan National Army (ANA) under the charge of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. Members of the panel will share their recent lessons learned in building ANA capacity and legitimacy in the midst of a complex counterinsurgency.

The Power of Hope

Oct. 18, 2010 | Film Screening

With Gabriel Bol Deng, Founder, Helping Offer Primary Education (HOPE) for Sudan

The UN in Post-Conflict Countries: Mandates, Missions, and Minefields

April 8, 2010 | Tim Sisk, Director, Center for Sustainable Development and International Peace and Director, Humanitarian Assistance Certificate Program

Professor Tim Sisk discusses UN peace operations and what can be done to dramatically improve the capacity of the UN to more effectively address the challenges of consolidating peace after civil war.

Weak States and Global Threats: What Are the Connections?

Feb. 25, 2010 | Patrick Stewart, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Particularly since Sept. 11, 2001, it has been commonplace to assert that the main threats to the US and the world community emanate less from great powers than from weak and failing states. Yet surprisingly little empirical research has investigated the precise connections between weak governance in the developing world and today’s main transnational threats. Is it true that state fragility contributes to transnational spillovers like terrorism, WMD proliferation, organized crime, and infectious disease? What is the nature of these linkages—and what can be done about them? Author Stewart Patrick, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who will summarize the arguments of his book, Weak Links: Fragile States, Global Threats, and International Security (OUP).

Roles and Perspectives of Non-state Armed Groups in Post-War Security Transition

October 26, 2009 | Veronique Dudouet, Researcher, Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management

Veronique Dudouet is a researcher at the Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management in Berlin, Germany. She will address the roles that rebel and insurgency movements play in the termination of armed conflicts and the building of a more peaceful and stable political and social order. Her presentation will draw on preliminary findings from an ongoing participatory action research project with members of various non-state groups around the globe.

Security First:  U.S. Priorities in Israeli-Palestinian Peacemaking

April 17, 2009 | Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, Ph.D., USA (Ret.), SU Visiting Professor of Strategy & Military Operations

Five Critical Steps for Improving Post-Conflict Operations

March 2, 2009 | Dr. Karin von Hippel, Co-Director, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Applying for the Certificate

Program Requirements

Course Options

Fall 2014 Schedule of Classes

1) Required Core Course

Fundamentals of Postconflict Reconstruction (PAI 719)

The goal of this class is to familiarize students with the main concepts of postconflict reconstruction, the various dimensions and goals of postconflict work, the types of actors that conduct it, the trade-offs and dilemmas they face, and the lessons learned from its application across various settings.

The course will devote considerable attention to the applied side of postconflict reconstruction; that is, the techniques and tools used by international intermediaries (states, IOs, and NGOs), as well as local stakeholders, to transition societies from violence to sustainable peace. It will also address many of the key issues that frame the debate in postconflict reconstruction work:

  • The tension between externally and internally generated recovery efforts.
  • The possibilities and weaknesses of formal peace and reconciliation commissions.
  • The challenges of civilian-military cooperation in postconflict zones.
  • The trade-offs between stability and liberty.
  • The quest for viable exit strategies for international actors.

In the first half of each class, students will meet in plenary session for a formal lecture given by a member of the faculty team or by a guest speaker either from within the Maxwell School or from the applied world of postconflict recovery. During the second half of each class students will meet in their respective course section for discussion of weekly readings and small group work. Offered by Catherine Bertini and Renée de Nevers.

2) Secondary Required Core Course—choose one course from the following:

Humanitarian Action: Challenges, Responses, Results (PAI 765)

This course will examine major humanitarian activities worldwide since 1992, including disasters caused by nature and by man, such as conflicts and major economic stress. While the course will be organized around those themes, it also will …

  • Discuss key challenges for women and children, refugees, and displaced peoples.
  • Review the involvement of governments, UN agencies, NGOs, militaries, donors, the press, and others.

Multimedia presentation will include books, articles, and videos. Students will be graded on class participation, presentations, and written reports. Offered by Catherine Bertini.

Foreign Relations Law (LAW 871)

This seminar examines history, doctrine, and policy involving US engagements with foreign governments, organizations, and individuals. The focus will be the historical development and contemporary negotiation of diverse legal orders, subjects, and spheres of action implicated in contemporary foreign relations. Economic relations will occupy much of our attention. Central questions include:

  • With what method does the US negotiate its coexisting obligations under conventional, customary, constitutional, statutory, and administrative legal orders?
  • What roles do legal subjects such as legislatures, executives, courts, agencies, non-state entities, non-governmental organizations, and multinational corporations play in ordering foreign relations?
  • How do the foregoing methods and roles differ across contexts of war, occupation, aid, trade sanctions, finance, and migration?

By both canvassing and critiquing foreign relations history, law, and policy, students will acquire the basic knowledge and skills required for analysis and argument within this complex field.

Economics of Development (ECN 651/PAI 757)

This course familiarizes students with a variety of alternative theories on what causes (or hinders) economic development. Different strategies and outcomes from a variety of settings will be presented and discussed. The goal of the course is to develop an understanding of international, national, sectoral, local, and household-level issues related to economic development and the language used by economists to discuss these issues. Special attention will be given to the following research questions:

  • Are there differences between economic growth and economic development?
  • What are the environmental implications of economic development?
  • How are industrial/urban needs balanced against agricultural/rural needs?

Offered by John McPeak. For more information, click here.

Fundamentals of Conflict Studies (PAI 601)

This course provides students with a broad overview of the interdisciplinary field of conflict analysis and resolution, introduces them to faculty and the work they are doing in this field, and helsp them to develop a framework for diagnosing and responding to conflicts within their own area of interest.

Over the course of the semester we will explore the diverse range of theories of social conflict found across social science disciplines. Of particular interest will be the uncovering how our theories about the nature of social conflicts result in our making particular choices about which conflict resolution activities make sense under which conditions. Relying on a number of guest speakers, documentaries, and group projects, we will consider how conflict manifests across multiple topics and levels of analysis. Offered by Bruce Dayton.

Multilateral Peacekeeping (ANT/PAI 701)

Peacekeeping has become an increasingly important area of international action. In this seminar we will consider how this situation came about and the current challenges that face multilateral peacekeeping. This seminar has two interconnected sets of activities:

  • The first involves the history, theory and practice of peacekeeping; the high points in the development of peacekeeping; and social and cultural perspectives on peace operations.
  • The second activity is research leading to the preparation of a white paper dealing with an aspect of peacekeeping. The papers may be individual projects or conducted jointly by up to three participants. Several developmental milestones for preparing the white paper occur throughout the semester.

Taught in New York City and Syracuse.

3) PCR Internship/Capstone Project (3 credits):

IR students: Global Internship Experience (PAI 670/690/711/715)
MPA students: MPA Workshop (PPA 752)
EMPA/EMIR students: Executive Master’s Project (PPA 996)
Law/other graduate students: Experience Credit (PPA/LAW 670)

INSCT will work together with all CAS-PCR students and their graduate programs to meet their internship/capstone requirements. Even as INSCT expands its relationships with PCR organizations to establish regular internships for CAS students, it is the students’ primary responsibility for finding a suitable internship and working with INSCT and graduate program staff as early as possible.

4) Elective Courses—choose one course from the following:

Elective course descriptions (CAS in PCR)

NOTE: Elective courses change each semester.

Application Deadlines

MPA, IR, MPA/IR December 15th (1st Sem., 1st year)
JD, JD/MPA, JD/IR, JD/(other joint) December 15th (1st Sem., 2L year)
Other Graduate (1 or 2 year program) December 15th (1st Sem., 1st year)

NOTE: If you have missed the deadline or think you may be eligible for the certificate, please contact Lisa Pritchard at the INSCT office.


Lisa Pritchard Lisa Pritchard
402 MacNaughton Hall
College of Law
Nicholas J Armstrong Nicholas Armstrong
402 MacNaughton Hall
College of Law