The establishment of the "Winter School on Crisis Prevention and Peace Support" is based on the insight that capacity building is essential for managing the challenges of the transition from war to peace and the non-violent rebuilding of post-conflict societies. Particularly in regard to the political influence of the military, broader civilian know-how on the management of civil-military relations is required. The Winter School addresses this agenda of capacity building of civil-society actors from countries in transition. The aim is to foster an understanding of non-violent conflict resolution in various institutional and cultural settings within the framework of different personal experiences (see: more background information on the idea behind the Winter School).
The objectives of the academic programme of the Winter School are firstly, to generate a theoretical understanding of the issues of crisis prevention and peace building, and secondly, to enable the participants to adopt strategies best suited for their specific experiences. These two objectives are subdivided into three main issues included in the curriculum at the Winter School.
1. Concepts of Peace and Conflict Research
A theoretical introduction to the causes and dynamics of violent conflicts, the "crisis of the state" including concepts such as state decay and nation-building, and the economic aspects of war, i.e. war economies and the links between the war and the peace economy.
2. Institutional Rebuilding
Focusing primarily on the role of development co-operation and civil-military co-operation in regard to crisis prevention and peace building. Examining links between external and internal actors, and how external involvement influences the internal development, both during conflicts and in post-conflict situations. Addressing the issue of security sector reform and how to restructure civil-military relations.
3. Concrete Points of Reference for Action
Specifying conditions for institutional rebuilding in post-conflict societies in regard to gender issues, religion and interethnic-related issues. Examining "lessons learnt" from crisis prevention and peace building in various countries. Focusing particularly on the reintegration of refugees, the education of the youth and the role of women. Exploring the issue of alliances for peace and the experience with truth-commissions in various countries ( see detailed programme of the Winter School 2002).
At this year's Winter School there will be a mixed group of participants from Afghanistan and the Balkans. The concept of the Winter School places special emphasis on the international context of issues of war and peace and is therefore aimed at international participants. In an internationally mixed group the students have the opportunity to exchange views and develop strategies within the framework of their personal experiences. The courses offered at the Winter School are directed at civil servants, officers, journalists, representatives of political parties and NGO-representatives (women's organisations, unions, churches etc.) from countries in transition. Due to their active involvement in civil-society, the participants can contribute to further disseminating the relevant issues of non-violent transition and post-conflict rebuilding addressed by the Winter School in their specific home environment.
The participants are offered lectures, tutorials and experimental courses to creatively engage in the complexities of post-conflict rebuilding. The lecturers are experienced academic professionals from a various of well-known peace and conflict research institutes in Germany. The students are not required to bring with them any specific study materials. The management of the Winter School will supply each participant with a Reader, containing relevant academic articles on topics discussed during the two weeks course. The success of the Winter School will depend on the active participation of the students. In particular, the working groups in the afternoon will be used to discuss in small groups the topics of the Winter School. Tutors guide the working group sessions. The main objective of these tutorials is to offer the students an opportunity to exchange views and form their own opinions on the background of different regional and personal experiences. Various study methods including lectures, role-plays, plenum discussions and tutorials will be used to actively engage the students in the various study areas. The conference language is English. The participants are therefore required to have sufficiently well oral and written knowledge of English.
In addition to the academic programme, the students have the opportunity to take part in various cultural activities. The cultural programme accompanying the Winter School gives the students an opportunity to explore cultural sights in Hamburg, including various academic institutions, museums and historical buildings with relevance to the topics discussed at the Winter School (see Cultural Activities).
Background information on the idea behind the Winter School
The initiative to establish a Winter School on Crisis Prevention and Peace Support emerged from a longstanding research interest in civil-military relations. Since the late 1970s, a number of conflict-researchers centred round Professor Jürgen Gantzel at the Institute of Political Science, University of Hamburg, has been focusing on issues of war, peace, proliferation of arms and development. This collaboration between various researchers led to the establishment of the "Research Unit of Wars, Armament and Development" at the University of Hamburg in 1986. Since then, the conflict researchers of the Research Unit and students participating in the "Working Group on the Causes of War" have been devoted to empirical analyses of wars, exemplified by numerous working papers and since 1993, an annual publication documenting the development in wars world wide (see website www.akuf.de, in German). This continuous documentation of structural causes, historical developments and dynamic changes in wars after 1945 forms the background for the elaboration of a general theory to the study of war, the Hamburg Approach to the Causes of War.
During the last decades, the Research Unit has hosted various research projects concerning the causes of war, disarmament, militarisation, civil-military relations and the nature of the state in the developing world. The findings of these research projects suggest, among other things, that the management of civil-military relations is a crucial stabilising factor in context of transitional processes and post-conflict situations. In order to attract more interest in this subject, the Research Unit arranged a series of lectures at the University of Hamburg in spring 2001, entitled "Civil-society Control of the Military and the Security Sector in Societies in Transition". During this lecture series, a number of experienced scholars from the University of Hamburg and various institutes in Berlin, Bonn and Hamburg contributed to setting the idea of a Summer School on civil-military relations on the agenda.
The events of September 11th 2001 and the subsequent involvement of the USA and its allies in Afghanistan further increased the external interest in the project. The German Agency of Technical Cooperation (GTZ) decided to finance the pilot phase of the project, scheduled to take place in November 2002. In the short-term therefore, the Summer School was re-launched as a Winter School on Crisis Prevention and Peace Support, building also on the profound experience of the GTZ within the area of crisis prevention and conflict settlement. The long-term objective of the Research Unit remains the establishment of a Summer School on Security Sector Reform in countries in transition. Subsequent to the pilot phase of the Winter School in November, the experience of the Winter School 2002 will be assessed and the approach of the original idea will be re-examined.