End of this page section.

Begin of page section: Contents:


Current Projects

  • MA-Plus Module: International Peacebuilding and Conflict Transition
    In close cooperation with the Austrian Centre for Peace, the Department of Global Governance has developed a university-wide MA-Plus module on peacebuilding (24 ECTS), which will be launched in summer semester 2023. The module is part of the university-wide MA-Plus program, which offers MA students the possibility of a deeper specialization. In the M+ module International Peacebuilding and Conflict Transition, students critically examine processes, strategies, and measures in (post-)conflict areas to sustainably prevent the (re)outbreak of armed conflict. This concerns questions of armed and unarmed intervention, external state and societal influence on the part of the international community and civil society, as well as peace processes in the broadest sense. In doing so, the module provides scientifically sound legal, political and social science skills for working in (post-)conflict societies.
  • Local Peace Formation: International Online Conference Format
    Two events have already taken place as part of the international online conference format: on October 27, 2022 and April 27, 2023, focusing on the relevance of local actors* and strategies in peacebuilding. With this format, the Varna Institute for Peace Research (VIPR), the Department of Global Governance of the University of Graz and the CPD Cluster want to give different actors a platform to articulate their visions of peace, solidarity, freedom and autonomy. Speakers* from academia, practice and activism came together from the United Kingdom, Rojava (Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria), the Philippines, Iraq, Lebanon, Bosnia, South Sudan, Germany, Bulgaria and Austria to discuss local peace initiatives and their ideas for shaping just social systems. A continuation of the conference format is planned.
  • Dialogue for national reconciliation in Iraq
    With support from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, ACP launched a national reconciliation initiative in September 2020. Iraq remains fragmented along sectarian, religious, ethnic, and generational lines and is caught in open conflict between political elites and a large protest movement. Clientelism, mutual distrust and contempt remain widespread more than a decade after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Finally, U.S.-Iranian rivalry and the struggle for influence are also driving the politicization of Shiites and Sunnis and thus fragmentation. These conflicts repeatedly foster escalations of violence. Through a series of dialogue meetings between representatives from across the Iraqi political spectrum, the project seeks to build mutual trust and formulate a common Iraqi vision – as a guiding principle for a more peaceful Iraq for all its inhabitants. This CPDC project is also supported by the Law Faculty of the University of Graz.
  • MANTA: Mini-Publics and other New Forms of Participation in Civic Education
    Many young people in Europe are by no means apolitical: they organize themselves and take to the streets. The MANTA project explores how citizens' councils can enable young people to participate in an institutionalized way. The project is led by the Democracy Center Vienna and IKF and aims to restore trust in representative democracy as well as to bring political engagement to an institutionalized level. The goals of the project are the didactic preparation of scientific theories to complement the professional competencies of teachers and lecturers at schools and universities. In addition, civic competencies are to be introduced to the students and they are to be provided with a differentiated knowledge of possibilities of political participation (apart from the right to vote). In September 2022, the project organizations of MANTA got to know each other for the first time. This resulted in the creation of joint content guidelines.
  • 3G against conspiracy theories: Seen, Tested, Confronted. Critical (Social-)Media Literacy in Adult Education in Vienna
    Conspiracy myths are on the rise in times of general uncertainty. Due to the covid pandemic, they increasingly circulate in social networks and spread discriminatory content. The seemingly simple explanations elude rational arguments. In this context, the IKF Vienna and the Democracy Center Vienna have identified a gap in the field of adult education and launched a project funded by MA 7 (Department of Culture of the City of Vienna).
    The aim of the project is to survey existing offers in the field of critical and competence-oriented media education in Vienna. International offerings are to be surveyed and best practice examples identified. Finally, the applicability of these examples is to be examined with partner organizations in Vienna. The result is a low-threshold media education offer for adults of the city of Vienna. Starting in June 2023, these offerings will be sustainably anchored through a three-part, target-group-specific dissemination strategy.
  • REACT: Recognising Extremism And Conspiracy Theories
    Teachers, in particular, face challenges in dealing with discriminatory statements and group-based misanthropy and in taking responsibility when these are voiced by students. It is important to clearly confront conspiracy theories, extremist narratives and related anti-human views (racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim racism, queer-phobia, ...) and to show students that these have no place in our society and especially in public institutions such as educational institutions.
    The REACT project aims to help teachers recognize and counter conspiracy theories and extremist narratives. The project aims to provide schools with a tool to survey extremist attitudes among students. A curriculum and teaching materials for teachers will be developed. The first results (tool for determining attitudes) were published in spring 2023. Work on the curriculum will begin in summer 2023. The CPDC partner organizations were involved in the plans for the teaching and learning content in 2022 under the leadership of the Democracy Center Vienna.
  • Europeans Against Conspiracy Theories (E-ACTS)
    The project focuses on the intersection of conspiracy myths and hate speech - two phenomena that have alarmingly increased in recent years. While anti-Semitism seems to be overrepresented in current conspiracy myths, other forms of hate speech seem to fade into the background at first glance. This applies, for example, to anti-Muslim racism, which fuels the right-wing conspiracy myth of the 'Great Exchange', to conspiracy constructions directed against Roma, or to anti-feminist narratives. E-ACTS therefore uses a qualitative mix of methods to investigate how conspiracy myths and hate speech are interrelated, focusing on anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Roma, and anti-feminist resentments, using relevant social media channels in four European countries. Based on these research results, the project develops and tests trainings aimed at multipliers from civil society.
  • Study Focus on Conflict – Peace – Democracy
    Within the framework of the CPDC, a study focus on peace, conflict and democracy has been developed for law students. This is an optional specialization within the curriculum. All organizations of the CPDC are represented with their courses. Thus, this program is strongly interdisciplinary. On the foundation of law, it integrates social and political science disciplines. The program aims to provide students with knowledge about the emergence and management of intra-state, inter-ethnic and international conflicts, the embedding of these conflicts in political communities and their "regulation" through the legal system, as well as alternative conflict resolution mechanisms. Accordingly, a broad repertoire of possibilities for analysis and adequate intervention in the respective conflict situation will be acquired.
  • Specialization Focus Conflict, Peace and Democracy
    The specialization focus within the new curriculum (2022) of law is offered within the Conflict - Peace - Democracy Cluster by the Institute for Conflict Research, the Democracy Center Vienna, the Institute for Minority Rights of EURAC Bolzano and the departments of Global Governance as well as Sociology of Law, Legal Policy, Negotiation and Mediation Research of the Institute of Legal Studies at the University of Graz. The specialization deals with the emergence and management of conflicts: at the local, national and transnational level (from interfamilial to international conflicts). Methods for the analysis of conflict causes and dynamics (e.g. conflicting interests, structural inequality, resentment, group attributions) are taught as well as an interdisciplinary repertoire of possibilities for adequate intervention in a conflict situation, from legal to political to civil society instruments - in the context of the respective political and social system and the legal order. These instruments include methods of conflict transformation, prevention of violence and radicalization, extrajudicial dispute resolution or measures of political education. They serve - complementarily to the law - to deal with conflicts in a democracy.
  • CPD Policy Blog: policyblog.empowermentforpeace.org
    The online blog contributes to the informative exchange between the scientific and political landscapes. It emphasizes the relevance and potentials of different scientific approaches and perspectives to the work of political agents, ranging from civil society to official decision makers.
  • State of Democracy Conference Series
    The State of Democracy (StoD) conference series is a collaboration of CPDC. It takes a look at recent social and political developments and examines the state of modern democracies. The State of Democracy series brings together research approaches and discusses synergies of interdisciplinary work.
    The conference is held periodically and provides the scholarly platform for the exchange and advancement of CPDC's research priorities. In 2022, planning began for the State of Democracy- conference for 2023. Likewise, in 2022, the anthology for the past STOD was published with the theme "The Political in Democracy Education". This was published in the series of publications of the Democracy Center Vienna.
  • Local peace and conflict work in Burgenland
    Within the framework of the Conflict - Peace - Democracy Cluster (CPDC), the Institute for the Foundations of Law and the Center for Social Competence support the Peace Center at Schlaining Castle (ACP) in a project to strengthen social cohesion in Burgenland. The aim is to create the institutional basis for professional peace and conflict work at the municipal level. Specifically, the project aims to establish a mediation service and support for citizen participation processes in the areas of housing/neighborhoods, communities and integration. The project partners are thus responding to a situation that is described (not only) at the municipal level as increasing polarization and thus as a threat to social and societal cohesion. The hallmarks of this situation include a general sense of insecurity due to changes in social structures, a creeping increase in social inequality, and an uncertain way of dealing with the effects of flight and migration. This is associated with a rise in populist aspirations and a general complaint of increasing aggressiveness and intolerance. The example of citizens' initiatives illustrates one feature of this new situation: While these were initially seen predominantly as an opportunity and as a gain for the democratic way of life, there is currently also growing concern that they could be accompanied by a curtailment of tolerance, social empathy and mutual consideration legitimized from below.
  • Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Training
    Within the CDP cluster, ACP in particular has many years of expertise in the design and implementation of peacebuilding training programs. The International Civilian Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding-Training Program provides training for civilian experts in peacebuilding in crisis, conflict and post-conflict areas. Participants are experts from different professional fields and countries, working for international, governmental and non-governmental organizations. They are trained by our pool of experts with many years of experience in working in crisis, conflict and post-conflict areas. Thus, ACP offers basic courses for peace professionals twice a year, as well as varying specialization courses and master classes - in 2019, for example, on topics such as dialogue, conflict transformation and gender, intersectionality and peacebuilding. In 2020, ACP will also launch a pilot training abroad, which will particularly support national and regional networks and exchanges and also take into account the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult for participants from crisis regions to enter Austria. With a duration of almost 30 years, there are already more than 2000 graduates from all over the world. Last year, a total of 74 participants from 44 different countries attended one or more courses.
  • Summer Academy on OSCE
    This training, which deals with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (based in Vienna) in a constructive and critical manner and, guided by experts, takes a look at the mandates, political goals, activities, players, successes, opportunities and limitations of the organization, has been held annually at the ACP since 1997. The target group includes young diplomats who work for the OSCE or are entrusted with OSCE agendas in their foreign ministries, as well as representatives of NGOs, universities/think tanks, the media, civil society, etc. who cooperate with the OSCE. Although independent of the OSCE, the Academy is organized in cooperation with various OSCE institutions, whose representatives are invited to participate in panel discussions, workshops and lectures. A highlight of the Academy is the visit to the Permanent Council in Vienna, where international politics can be experienced first-hand.
  • Peace Weeks at ACP
    Almost 14,000 students from all over Austria have taken part in Peace Weeks at Schlaining Castle since the project began in 2007. The content of the project focuses on training in the areas of conflict management and violence prevention, appreciative communication and team building. Innovative and interactive methods from peace education, experiential education and social education are used to reach the children and young people in the best possible way. Each program is individually tailored to the respective group in order to be as effective as possible and to sustainably improve the class situation together with the students through more conflict and peace skills. Global topics such as human rights - children's rights, civil courage, climate change, etc. can also be addressed upon request. Parallel to the student programs, a teacher training takes place, which offers teachers insight into the topics of the students, as well as introducing methods that can be regularly used in the school for the sustainable improvement of the class climate.
  • Dialogue project "Alps-Adriatic Peace Region": Envisioning the Future by Dealing with the Past
    Since 2013, this project has been dedicated to the establishment of a multi-year, cross-border dialogue process on dealing with the past, present and future in the Alps-Adriatic region. The aim is to bring together representatives of science and civil society from Austria and Slovenia in a creative dialogue about memory cultures and future concepts in the Alps-Adriatic region. The aims of the project are the development of common, cross-border positions and perspectives within the dialogue group, the elaboration of policy-relevant recommendations for civil society and decision-makers, and the preparation of high-profile actions and initiatives. This is done on the one hand with regard to the transgenerational effects of historical traumas, with the perspective of a new way of dealing with the past, and on the other hand with regard to the concretization of a common vision of the future "Alps-Adriatic Peace Region". The project is coordinated by a steering group consisting of civil society coordinators and scientific accompanying researchers from Klagenfurt, Graz and Ljubljana. The University of Graz is cooperating with the Herbert C. Kelman Institute, the ACP Schlaining, the Institute for Ethnic Studies in Ljubljana, the Slovenian Scientific Institute (SZI) and the Carinthian University of Applied Sciences.
  • Network for Peacebuilding & Conflict Research in Austria (NeFKÖ)
    NeFKÖ was constituted in July 2016 as a loose network of institutions and individuals engaged in peace and conflict research and work in Austria. It sees itself as a pluralistic network in disciplinary, scientific-theoretical, philosophical and practical terms, comprising academic researchers, scholar-practitioners as well as scientifically supported educational, political or social peace practitioners. There is a regular meeting once a year to exchange knowledge, information and experiences. The goals of the network are to strengthen peace and conflict research and peace work in Austria, to make their effects more visible, to promote cooperation and to use synergies.

Concluded Projects (selection)

  • Graz Research Contributions to Peace and Conflict
    Within the framework of the CPDC cooperation, the conference seeks to make visible the expertise of researchers* at the University of Graz on the important problem areas of peace and conflict. Even though peace and conflict research in particular has become more and more established as such, the scientific study of conflict and peace is mostly still scattered across many different scientific disciplines, even if different terminologies are used. This concerns different scientific subjects as well as different faculties. At the University of Graz, too, research on peace and conflict takes place in many different academic fields: from the natural sciences to the theological subjects, from law to the humanities and cultural studies.
    The collection of more than 30 researchers from various fields in exactly that thematic field within the framework of the conference is intended to lay the foundation for strengthening peace and conflict research at the University of Graz and to serve as a starting point for further scientific undertakings: The conference will be followed by an anthology as well as a lecture series in the academic year 2021/22, in order to also allow students to participate in this initiative in a comprehensive way. The conference was to have taken place in September 2020, but was postponed to spring or fall 2021 due to Covid19.  
  • Gender justice glocal - "If I can't spray, it's not my revolution!" Global citizenship education through participatory graffiti workshops with girls.
    The Austrian Development Agency ADA is funding a project developed by IKF on the topic of "gender justice glocal". The participatory project combines content workshops on Sustainable Development Goal 5 of the 2030 Agenda (gender equality) with workshops on art in the street (graffiti) and media in youth centers. The goals are knowledge acquisition, reflection on a local and global level, sensitization for the topic of violence and finally the empowerment of the participants, whereby this self-empowerment is based in particular on the acquisition of new skills in the artistic as well as in the media field. The graffiti workshops are carried out by the street art collective Feminist Killjoy. The dissemination of the "products" of the project - apart from the visibility of the graffiti in the (semi-)public space - is done by the young people themselves in their social media channels, but also through a professional media campaign and the video of a media company. Digital communication of the results is essential to make them available to as many users as possible.
    Cooperation partners within the CPDC are the Democracy Center Vienna, which will conduct workshops on global citizenship education with young people, and the Institute of Folklore and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Graz, which is responsible for the external evaluation.
  • Children's Rights in Darfur: Mediation with armed rebel groups on human rights
    How to resolve a crisis that has claimed several hundred thousand lives? The Darfur conflict has dominated the Central African region around Sudan for more than 15 years. In this context, a project of the CPDC is trying to bring in scientific and practical know-how in order to find solutions. Accompanied by experts from the European Training Center for Human Rights and Democracy at the University of Graz (UNI-ETC) and the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR), two influential rebel groups negotiated in Stadtschlaining and Graz at the end of March. The high-ranking representatives agreed on a final document with measures to improve the situation of the internally displaced civilian population in the crisis region.
    A few weeks after these negotiations, the autocratic Sudanese President Omar Bashir was overthrown. During this period of upheaval, UNI-ETC, together with ASPR, was able to accompany the opposition parties united in the alliance "Sudan Call" in negotiations on the formation of a civilian transitional government and to provide technical and logistical support for a meeting of the alliance in Austria.
  • OSCE Peacebuilding Training: Protecting National Minorities in the OSCE Area
    The OSCE High Commissioner has been cooperating with the University of Graz on the protection of minorities for considerable time. In tandem with the publication of the Graz Recommendations on Access to Justice and National Minorities, the CPD cluster conceptualized a peacebuilding training program, which seeks to contribute to the practical implementation of the publication’s major principles. It specifically facilitates trainings of governmental officials, civil servants as well as civil society in all OSCE member states.
  • Global Citizenship Education (MA-Programm)
    The ULG „Global Citizenship Education“ marked the first Master’s degree that offers a comprehensive combination of political education, global learning, intercultural education and peace pedagogy in Austria. Consisting of six semesters, the program focuses on the perception and understanding of global partnerships, as well as promoted a global perspective and competences to foster a critical understanding and decision-making skills.
    More information
  • Peace, Conflict, Democracy Research: A Textbook
    published by Blanka Bellak, Gertraud Diendorfer, Anton Pelinka and Werner Wintersteiner

    This textbook explores the interdisciplinary intersections of the research fields of peace, conflict and democracy in terms of theory, concept and method.
    Publisher‘s website
  • Summer Academy at the Castle Schlaining, 2012 up to now
    The summer academy has been bringing together competences, knowledge and interests from realms of civil society, academia, politics or civil service for more than 30 years. This way, it has made a name for itself as a popular forum for debates in the field of peace and conflict research, specifically for visitors from Austria, Germany and Switzerland every.
    Information about the most recent summer academy
  • State of Peace-Conferences
    The annual State of Peace Conference explores contemporary topics in the fields of peace and conflict studies.
    ​​​​​​​Information about the most recent conference​​​​​​​

End of this page section.

Begin of page section: Additional information:

End of this page section.