BYU-Idaho has a new minor in peace and conflict transformation. This 21-credit, interdisciplinary minor was primarily created through the combination of existing courses offered through BYU-Idaho. Some existing courses were amended, and one course was added to accommodate the requirements of peace and conflict education. A 15-credit cluster on the same subject is also available to students.
David Pulsipher, BYU-Idaho professor in the History, Geography, and Political Science Department, is the head faculty member over this academic addition. Pulsipher is also co-author of the upcoming Deseret Book release “Proclaim Peace: The Restoration’s Answer to an Age of Conflict.” In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Pulsipher shared how his expertise on the topic of peace led him to revere this minor as essential.
“We live in a world in which conflict is increasingly destructive,” Pulsipher said. “All conflict is not necessarily destructive. In fact, conflict is at the very heart of creation and is a necessary part of the universe, but engaging conflict in creative ways is increasingly becoming difficult because the world is moving to destructive models of conflict and our students don’t really have great models on how to engage conflict in creative and constructive ways.”
Professors already teaching courses like conflict resolution, conflict transformation and history of peace united efforts to offer students a more focused way to study peace building. The addition of this minor began with conversations spearheaded by Pulsipher who saw a need for it. BYU-Idaho instructors were eager to contribute. The minor was approved and offered for the first time during the Spring 2021 semester.
“The great thing about the minor or the cluster is that it really just enhances whatever career trainings a student is doing here at the university,” Pulsipher said. “So, if they are in business and then can take a minor in peace and conflict transformation, that makes them more marketable on the job market because they can tell a future employer ‘I have background, I have some training in mediation.’”
Currently, there are seven classes offered under peace and conflict transformation. This minor is receiving interest from students of various academic backgrounds and majors. Pulsipher expects interest to continue growing as students see its relevance and hear about the course offerings.
“If you are interested in bringing peace to a world that is rife with conflict, if you are interested in learning how to engage conflicts that you’ve been frustrated in the past in the way you have engaged them, if you want to learn how to be more creative and constructive in those things, if you are interested in nudging the world just a little bit closer to Zion, then this minor is a place for you,” Pulsipher said.