Peace Studies

Peace Studies examines nonviolent ways of resolving conflict.  Peace workers support individuals, families, communities and whole societies in transforming conflicts before they escalate towards violence. They also work with communities in conflict-affected nations in constructive and participatory ways, helping them to cultivate peace, reconcile and rebuild into societies that are sustainable, ecologically just and equitable. They assist communities to adapt to change and to create peaceful, resilient cultures. Peace Studies also engages with contemporary issues such as globalisation, climate change and refugee flows.

Studying Peace Studies at UNE enables you to examine these issues in a multi-disciplinary setting.

Students who study Peace Studies at UNE are eligible for the Dirk Boomsma Memorial Peace Studies Bursaries

About Us

Contact Information

Administrative Assistant

Shirley Rickard
Phone: +61 2 6773 3062


Peace Studies
Arts Building (E11)
University of New England, NSW, 2351

Campus Map

Arts Building (E11), 1st Floor, north and east wings

A History of the Peace Studies at UNE

The growth and development of Peace Studies at UNE occurred in three stages: a formative stage, 1970s-1980s; a growth stage, 1990 – 2007; and its current stage, from 2008 onward.

Formative state, 1970s and 1980s

The history of Peace Studies at UNE dates back to the late 1970s. Credit for the initiation of Peace Studies at the UNE goes to Dr. Bernard Swan, a Geographer who had specialised in Geomorphology and Issues of Underdevelopment in South and Southeast Asia, but who later found himself drawn to the academic study of and teaching Peace. Bernard Swan, whose prior specialisations were in Geography (Universities of Ceylon, London and Sussex), joined the Department of Geography at the UNE in 1971. It was the period when the world's super powers were engaged in escalating the Cold War, the nuclear arms race and nuclear deterrence, and intensifying brinkmanship, which earlier had led to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the imminent threat of nuclear war. Looming nuclear holocaust and the Vietnam War had witnessed the growth of the Peace Movement and much intellectual debate about peace. However, the response of academe was limited. In the words of Bernard Swan, "In the late 1970s it struck me as surprising that the subject of Peace was not examined as such in secular academic institutions".

Bernard Swan realised that academics and universities had an important role to play, seeking answers to the question, “What is Peace? What are its paths?” So he wrote a letter to the National Times of Australia (25 May 1980) entitled "Needed: the Academic Study of Peace" where he warned:

…Academia, the world over, has this essential task ahead, a responsibility it must not shirk. If we continue, mesmerised by threat of doomsday, or ostrich-like assume that if problems are ignored long enough they will…disappear, we could expect to find ourselves one day hapless pawns in some hellish chess. Academia, please, no longer stand aloof.

His plea was well received by the media, the public and academics, who supported the idea of peace. Bernard Swan checked widely to ascertain which universities and academic communities within the British Commonwealth of Nations were conducting teaching and research on Peace. He found four: Bradford and Lancaster in the UK, Waterloo in Canada, and the Gandhian Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in Allahabad, India, were all engaged in peace related research and teaching in the late 1970s. But South of the Tropic of Cancer, none of the academic institutions had undertaken the study of peace as such. Of course, there were many centres for Strategic Studies, War Studies, International Studies, and so on, but the study of Peace was deemed to be too nebulous, too wide in its scope, and indeed too threatening to the National Interest for secular universities to undertake it. According to Bernard Swan, "as for the peace spoken of in religion that was a pie in the sky.”

Nonetheless, he decided otherwise and decided to face the challenges ahead. The first was to ascertain whether any of his colleagues within the Department of Geography would be interested in getting involved in a programme of Peace Studies. The next was to decide on the content of such a programme. The third was to avoid asking for money in an environment where there was acute competition for limited financial resources. The fourth would be to get the go-ahead from the top decision-makers of the University who were committed to ensuring high standards of teaching and to preserving existing academic structures (Faculties, Departments and insistence on students satisfying prerequisites in order to follow particular courses): to obtain the approval of the Academic Advisory Committee which whetted applications to introduce new courses, and of the Academic Board on which sat the Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

While many applauded the idea of Peace Studies, few could make a commitment to it. There was also the question of who could and would make a commitment to a course with the word 'peace' in it, as a course about peace was assumed to be likely to have leftist sympathies.

Bernard Swan proceeded in the following way. He offered to put on a unit entitled "Geography of Peace and Conflict" in addition to his existing workload. After considerable debate, he received the green light from within the Department of Geography, but the Academic Advisory Committee and the Academic Board turned down his proposal.

Good news, however, was that within the Faculty of Arts, a Special Reading Course could be made available to fourth year students (postgraduates) reading for an Honours degree, without formal approval from the Academic Board. Bernard Swan quickly capitalised on this. As a result, in 1982 he offered the unit "Geography of Peace and Conflict" as a Special Reading Course in the Faculty of Arts. A condition imposed on him was that the course should be given no formal publicity: advertisement would only be by word of mouth. The condition did not preclude him starting the unit. This formally marked the beginnings of Peace Studies at the UNE in 1982.

The next undertaking was the introduction of a Bachelor of Peace Studies degree. Bernard Swan’s idea here was to have a set of compulsory core courses, and in addition optional subsidiary courses drawn from several departments and faculties, from whose prerequisites (courses as laid down in the University Calendar) those reading for a BA in Peace Studies would be exempt. Contributors to the core of Peace Studies in its formative stage were Dr. Geoff Harris from the Faculty of Economics (he is currently a professor and head of the Peacebuilding Programme at Durban University of Technology), Dr. Toh Swee Hin (currently professor of Peace Studies at the UN Mandated University of Peace in Costa Rica) and Dr. Max Lawson (both were from the Faculty of Education). Geoff Harris offered a unit titled "Economics of Developing Countries". Toh Swee Hin taught a unit, "Peace Education" and Max Lawson offered a unit "Peacekeeping and Conflict Resolution". Later other faculty members also contributed. For instance Howard Brasted from the department of History (currently professor in the School of Humanities at UNE) offered a unit on Gandhi while Raja Jayaraman offered a unit on the 'sociology of non-violence'. Another unit, offered in History, was titled 'The Swinging Sixties'.

Thus, with the combined offerings of different departments, Peace Studies at UNE became highly interdisciplinary, straddling diverse departments and faculties. Thus commenced the opportunity for those who wished to read towards a Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Peace Studies. This was from around the mid-1980s within the Faculty of Arts. The structure of the university at that time was based on departments. Therefore, different departments had to waive prerequisites for students who wanted to join BA with a Peace Studies major.  This they graciously did.

The next step was to have Peace Studies available for students reading for higher degrees (Master of Letters, and doctoral degrees). Bernard Swan put this proposal before the Faculty of Arts in 1991, which accepted it. He then retired, but retained his commitment to offer the unit “Geographies of Peace” to M. Litt. students. The M. Litt. was a two year programme, consisting of a core course, supplementary courses in the first year, and a written thesis on a topic approved by an appointed supervisor in the second year and attendance at a residential school.

Though progress was made in establishing Peace Studies at UNE, in mid 1980s it suffered a setback. For financial reasons the university asked the department of Geography to get rid of courses which were not part and parcel of essential teaching in geography. In response, the then Vice-Chancellor, in conjunction with the Head of Department of Geography, abolished the "Geography of Peace and Conflict” course. In the meantime, the Faculty of Arts was changing, in terms of its business model as well as its approach to the field of studies. While the Faculty was more interested in generating money and resources, it was also more interested in including subjects from the field of 'Liberal Studies'. As a consequence, the BA degree with a single major in Peace Studies was also dropped.

Growth stage, 1990 - 2007

In early 1991, Bernard Swan was preparing to retire (in stages). He went part-time, relinquishing his commitment to Geography but retaining his commitment to Peace Studies (“Geographies of Peace”). He approached Geoff Harris and asked him to coordinate Peace Studies units being offered as part of the Master of Letters (M.Litt.) degree.

Geoff Harris devised the plan of using beefed up versions of the BA in Peace Studies units, together with some new units, to make up an M.Litt. in Peace Studies. This did not require extra resources for the expertise and readings were almost ready from the units offered in BA in Peace Studies.

The new School of Arts approved the course so that the M.Litt. with a major in Peace Studies was launched in 1991. The degree consisted of four units of coursework each requiring essays totalling 7500 words, and another four units consisted of a dissertation of 20,000 words.

Many students commented that when they heard about the M. Litt. in Peace Studies, they realised that this was the degree for which they had been searching for a long time. The M. Litt. programme became highly popular among students for many reasons. First, students only spent time at UNE in Armidale twice during the course, first at the start of their coursework and finally for the dissertation. This provided working students flexibility in terms of their time management. Second, the programme was inter-disciplinary, focused on broader aspects of Peace Studies covering Peace Education, Non-violence, economic dimensions of peace and conflict, Peacekeeping, and Conflict resolution. The programme attracted students from a broader field including those from government, non-government organisation, medical and religious professions, humanitarian workers and those engaged with charities, the business sector and development. Geoff Harris recalled that a number of students chose dissertation topics that helped them 'make sense' of what they had done earlier in their lives, for instance, time spent as an aid worker in contexts where conflict and violence were rife.

As Peace Studies was becoming increasingly popular, there were other important developments in terms of the programme's growth. Firstly, the Centre for Peace Studies was officially formed in 1995. It was a virtual centre, which started coordinating teaching and research in Peace Studies. Secondly, the first cohort of PhD students was admitted in 1993.  The first batch of PhD students in Peace Studies included four students, Julienne Kaman, Kate Dewes, Rebecca Spence and Mark Lawrence, all of them graduated in 1996 under the supervision of Geoff Harris.

A focus of the Centre in the late 1990s was how countries recover from armed conflict and two major publications appeared in 1999. One was Recovery from armed conflict in developing countries (Routledge: London) edited by Geoff Harris and including significant contributions from Neryl Lewis (now a senior officer in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) and Rebecca Spence. Another was Building Peace in Bougainville, edited by Geoff Harris, Naihuwo Ahai and Rebecca Spence, which was an outcome from a conference on Bougainville organised by the Centre for Peace Studies. Similarly Geoff Harris edited the volume tilted Achieving security in sub-Saharan Africa: cost effective alternatives to the military (Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies). In 2005, Helen Ware published a volume titled The No-Nonsense Guide to Conflict and Peace (New Internationalist, reprinted in 2006 by Oxford) in which she contributed as an editor and a chief contributor. Likewise Bert Jenkins co-edited (with H. Hakena and P. Ninnes) a book titled NGOs and Post-Conflict Recovery: The Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency, Bougainville (Asia Pacific Press, Canberra ACT 2006).

The Centre for Peace Studies was running with very limited resources while its activities were supported by staff from other departments who worked on peace teaching and supervision almost voluntarily as an addition - on top of their usual workload. Some part time staff were occasionally added who were paid by using a share of the fees paid by foreign PhD students in peace studies (the fees paid by foreign PhD students were the only university funds provided to peace studies at that time). According to Geoff Harris, the weakness of this arrangement was evident when staff retired or moved elsewhere, when replacements were hard to find. Although more than 100 students completed the M. Litt. with a Peace Studies major between 1991 and 1999, the programme was finding it hard to survive. A major challenge in this regard, according to Geoff Harris, was that:

the bureaucracy of a changing Faculty of Arts were not able to appreciate the benefits of 10-12 graduates per annum at virtually no cost to the Faculty and who were distressed by the fact that students entered the M. Litt in Peace Studies without a first degree in the discipline (because there were [and are still] no such degrees in Australia).

A frequently mentioned concern about Peace Studies during the 1990s was that it depended too much on an individual. As Geoff Harris states, he was frequently asked questions such as "What would happen’ if you [Geoff] fell under a bus?" There was no offer to provide any administrative or other support, so the concern rang a bit hollow. Geoff Harris recalled this experience:

Apart from being very careful in the vicinity of buses, I didn’t see there was much alternative than to continue doing the administrative work largely on my own and am pleased to report that around a hundred students completed masters degrees in peace studies during the 1990s. A parallel argument expressed concern about the sustainability of the programme if I was to leave; in the event, I took a long time to leave and when I did, the way opened for an expansion of the programme.

A new Dean in the Faculty of Arts was appointed in 1999. One of the first actions of the dean was to terminate the M.Litt. in Peace Studies on grounds that it did not fit nicely into any of the existing Faculty’s disciplinary combinations of permissible courses. However, the dean was happy to support the move of the programme to another Faculty if one was willing to take it on. Geoff Harris discussed with the Dean of Education about a possibility to move M.Litt. in Peace Studies to the Faculty of Education. Considering the number of students enrolled in the M. Litt., the Dean agreed to take on the programme. The Faculty of Education agreed to take over the programme one day after the Faculty of Arts had rejected it. Thus the M. Litt. in Peace Studies moved to the Faculty of Education in 1997. Dr. Rebecca Spence was appointed as a part time (50%) lecturer in Peace Studies to oversee and contribute to teaching and administration of the M.Litt. Bernard Swan provided the unit on "Geography of Peace and Conflict" as part of the M. Litt. in Peace Studies course until he retired, and supervised Rev. Mark Lawrence through his doctoral studies until he obtained his PhD in 1999.

In the meantime, the M. Litt. degree was changed into a Master of Professional Studies. Geoff Harris left UNE as he had been offered a chair in Economics at the then University of Natal in South Africa for which he departed in August 1999. Rebecca Spence then took on the position of Coordinator of Peace Studies.

In 1993 Bert Jenkins began supervising M.Litt. students in Peace Studies in their thesis components whenever there was environmentally-related peace project. He was a lecturer in the department of Ecosystems Management. He also allowed interested M.Litt. students to take a unit he was teaching on 'Resource Management in Developing Countries' in 1995. In 1996, Bert Jenkins moved to the Department of Geography where he developed the unit for Peace Studies in "Environment, Development and Peace", which he was teaching till 1997 when he departed UNE to lecture at the University of Newcastle. His further involvement in Peace Studies resumed in 2002 when he was given the opportunity to teach in Peace Studies for the second half of the year when he was asked to replace Rebecca Spence while she was on maternity leave. Later Bert Jenkins got a full-time position as Senior Lecturer in Peace Studies starting from January 2003. His background is in horticulture, environmental studies and development studies with significant experience working in the government and non-government sectors. His teaching covers the Introduction to Peace Studies, Environmental Security and Conflict Transformation.

Between 2003 and 2007, Peace Studies was a sub-discipline in Professional Studies along with Aboriginal Studies and Intercultural Studies. Bert Jenkins was the Coordinator of Professional Studies in 2006 and 2007. During this time, the main degrees were Master of Professional Studies, Master of Professional Studies (Honours), Bachelor of Professional Studies - all of which had specialisations in Peace Studies, and also the BA and MA with majors in Peace Studies. During this period Peace Studies was a highly popular course with numbers of students growing significantly both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The degrees attracted police and military personnel, aid workers and bureaucrats, clergy, development practitioners and non-government organisation workers from Pacific Island countries like Fiji, Tonga, the Solomon Islands and also Australia. Given the growing success, and popularity of Peace Studies among people with diverse backgrounds in the “Peace and Development” arena, a new position for Professor in Inter-Agency Leadership was created and Helen Ware was appointed to this position in 2002, she then subsequently joined Peace Studies in 2008.

This experience suggests that we just have to persist in the absence of certainty, funding and permanent posts. As Geoff Harris said, "a love for peace can overcome a wide range of impediments".

Current period, 2008 to present

In 2007, UNE went through restructuring of its Faculties and Schools. As a result, in January 2008, Peace Studies was convinced to move from the School of Professional Development and Leadership in the Faculty of Education, Health and Professional Studies to the School of Humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Science where it was allowed to be a small discipline in its own right. However, this was followed by a few structural changes in the Peace Studies programme. First, the Centre for Peace Studies was dissolved. Second, the degrees in Professional Studies were discontinued in 2009, although there were still a few part-time students finishing these degrees until very recently. The main degrees in the programme were now the BA and MA with majors in Peace Studies, and the Bachelor of International Studies with a Major in Peace and Development.

Despite these changes, the Peace Studies programme diversified on many counts: expertise and specialisation of faculty members increased while there was diversity of PhD students.  Similarly the programme's outreach and visibility thorough academic and extracurricular activities also increased as discussed below.

Helen Ware joined the discipline in 2008 as a Professor in Peace Studies (part-time) which added to the existing expertise in Peace Studies. Having a diverse academic background of being an historian, a sociologist, a demographer, a human rights advocate, an aid bureaucrat and a diplomat (Australian High Commissioner to Zambia and Malawi and Australian Ambassador to Angola), Helen Ware is at present the chair of the Peace Studies programme at UNE. Her teaching areas include Peacebuilding (including issues related to infrastructures for peace and attacks upon neo-liberalism), Post-Conflict Justice, and Australia's Treatment of Refugees. She has supervised a number of PhD Students form Africa and Asia Pacific. Helen Ware's research interest includes hybridity (forms of government which mix Western models with non-Western traditions), the roles of governments and governance in maintaining peace, transitional justice (especially the impact of the International Criminal Court and the balance sheet associated with Truth and Reconciliation Commissions) and trends and differentials in Aboriginal mortality and morbidity (especially in urban areas and New South Wales), and African development.

Bert Jenkins became convenor of the discipline of Peace Studies in the School of Humanities in 2008. He was the convener of Peace Studies until Marty Branagan took over from him in August 2015. Bert's academic interests are interdisciplinary. His research over the past decade has focused on peace education in Bougainville, where issues in peace, the environment and development coincide. In addition to his research and teaching focus on peace education, Bert Jenkins has expertise in civil society agency within the environmental sector. Thus, with his focus on environmental issues, in mid 2000s, Peace Studies began to incorporate the topic of Environmental Peace. In 2010 in collaboration with another faculty member, Marty Branagan, Bert Jenkins designed a new Master of Environmental Advocacy (MEA) degree, to address growing concerns about global warming and destructive mining practices that exacerbated the effects of climate change. The creation by Marty Branagan of a special collection for Peace Studies in Dixson Library - “Armidale Environment Centre Archives” - along with hundreds of books and documentaries ordered for the library by staff and postgraduates has added to the resources available for research in Peace Studies.

Marty Branagan had been involved in Peace Studies as a casual academic since 2003. He completed a PhD supervised by Rebecca Spence and Bob Boughton in 2005. In 2010 he became a part-time faculty member, and is now the convenor of Peace Studies in 2017. Since 2010, he has been teaching into the MEA course within Peace Studies, which in 2014 changed into a Master of Arts (MA) with an Environmental Advocacy major. Similarly, Rebecca Spence has continued her engagement with Peace Studies as a part-time lecturer, mostly supervising Masters by Research and PhD students at present.

In the Humanities, the main focus of Peace Studies is in association with the Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of International Studies (BIS), the Bachelor Social Science and the M. Phil. with majors in Peace Studies. It was in the Humanities era that Peace Studies grew its PhD program and this is still strong today. With students coming from Africa, Asia (including the Arab States, South Asia and South East Asia), Europe, the Pacific Island countries, the USA and Australia, currently Peace Studies has attracted the highest number of PhD students in the School of Humanities.

The topics covered by current and past PhD students in Peace Studies are diverse such as Peace Education; Peacekeeping; Regional peace and security architecture; Religion, identity and conflict; Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR); Security governance and peacebuilding; Civil society and peacebuilding; Natural resource and conflict; Revolution and regime change; Gender and peacebuilding; Governance and peace; Conflict and displacement; Transitional justice, reconciliation and peacebuilding; War, conflict and refugees; Human rights; Civil-military relations; Environmental security and peace; Non-violence; Arts, culture and peace; Infrastructures for peace; and Statebuilding.

Various publications and activities further increased visibility of the discipline. In 2013, Bert Jenkins co-authored (with K. Jenkins, K. and L. Cornish) in 2013 the book A Peace Education Curriculum for Bougainville which is published by Open Knowledge Network, University for Peace Press, S.J. Costa Rica. Similarly in 2014, Marty Brangan published a book Global Warming, Militarism and Non-Violence: The Art of Active Resistance (London: Palgrave MacMillan 2013).

With regard to academic activities, in May 2012, an international Peace Studies conference, titled "Cultivating Peace" was organised by PhD students, led by DB Subedi. About 30 scholars from Asia, Africa, Australia and the Pacific region presented their papers. Selected papers from the conference culminated into a volume “Cultivating Peace: Contexts, Practices and Multidimensional Models”, edited by Peace Studies faculty members and published by Cambridge Scholars Publications in June 2014. In 2013, another conference titled "Mining in Sustainable World" was organised by Marty Branagan, other UNE academics, and Peace Studies PhD students Johanna Garnett and Venessa Bible, to help address the rise in mining-related conflict. Selected papers presented in the conference were published in a special edition of the International Journal of Rural Law and Policy. In August 2015, another Peace Studies Conference titled "Questioning 'peace formation' and 'peace infrastructure'" was organised by a recent PhD graduate, Paddy Tobias. A total of 35 papers were presented in the conference. Selected papers from the conference were published in a special issue of Peace and Conflict Review.

In 2009, Marty Branagan organised the first "Nonviolence Film Festival" which grew out of his unit on "Active Resistance: Contemporary Nonviolence". Since then, the "Nonviolence Film Festival" has become a regular annual activity of the Peace Studies programme, exploring nonviolent methods of resistance, protest and conflict transformation. In the past eight years, forty films have been shown, primarily documentaries from around the world about significant nonviolent movements. These have been attended by many hundreds of viewers both from the university community and outside. In 2015, the "Nonviolence Film Festival" moved to the Oorala Centre where Aboriginal people were also actively involved.

In February 2009, Marty organised a summer course titled "Nonviolence Social Change in the Contemporary World". In 2011, he organised an "Open Space Environmental Forum", and in 2013, a "Coal Seam Gas Forum". These conferences, forums and extra-curricular activities have not only contributed to the visibility of Peace Studies programme at UNE but also have helped in providing leadership opportunities for higher degree research students. At the same time, these have also made significant contribution in diversifying the focus of Peace Studies research and academic engagements.

The Peace Studies programme has also recognised by the public. With the generous support of Boomsmas family, the Dirk Boomsmas Bursaries are available to cover fees for domestic students or full fees for international students to study a Peace Studies unit. To apply for the Bursaries, students must be enrolled in undergraduate or post-graduate degrees at UNE and must demonstrate a strong commitment and passion for Peace Studies.

In last three decades, the nature of conflict and security (local, regional and international) has drastically changed. The 1990s experienced a massive upsurge in intra-state war and violence while the new millennium has experienced conflict and security threats emerging from identity and ethnic conflict, religious and sectarian violence, extremism and terrorism and the dangerous nexus between conflict, security and development. Global warming and the biodiversity extinction crisis – resulting from a profound lack of environmental peace - are also fundamentally changing our world, as are nonviolent movements for peace, social justice and environmental sustainability. The shift in the dynamics and patterns of conflict has simultaneously called for a rethinking and defining of how peace can be achieved in the contemporary world. In this context, current and past PhD students opine that being Australia's one of the oldest institutions specialising in peace-related teaching and research, Peace Studies at UNE has an opportunity to place itself as one of the leading Peace Studies institutions in the Asia-Pacific. It would require defining the institution's niche in Peace Studies (as opposed to Peace and Conflict studies) and also to incorporate new areas of teaching and research that would attract students, practitioners and civil society workers engaged in the fields of peace, social justice, environmentalism, conflict and security in the region. This means that, in addition to a current focus on training students in teaching and research, programmes and curricula aiming to strengthen the practice of building peace could attract practitioners and practitioners-to-be of peacebuilding and conflict transformation from  Australia and beyond.

However, while Peace Studies is being diversified and becoming increasingly popular, especially amongst higher degree research students from around the world, the programme continues to face threats, as a small interdisciplinary field which is often poorly understood by those outside the field. Nevertheless, the staff and students are optimistic about the future of UNE’s Peace Studies, and proud of the role they have played in promoting a more educated populace and a more peaceful, sustainable, just and equitable world.



How to apply

If you are interested in Peace Studies there are a number of courses in which you can enrol at both an undergraduate and graduate level.

In the course information pages listed below, see the Course Rules & Plans tab to see the recommended Program of Study for the Peace Studies Major.


Advanced Diploma in Arts
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of International Studies
Bachelor of Social Science

Postgraduate Coursework

Graduate Certificate in Arts
Master of Arts

Postgraduate Research

Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Philosophy


PEAC100 Introduction to Peace Studies
PEAC102 Environmental Peace
PEAC303 Active Resistance: Contemporary Nonviolence
PEAC304 Environmental Security and Peaceful Futures
PEAC308 Creating Cultures of Peace
PEAC328 Resolution or Transformation of Conflict
PEAC352 Building Peace in Post-Conflict Situations 
PEAC354 Post-conflict Justice and Reconciliation Processes
PEAC373 Globalisation as if People and Ecosystems Matter
PEAC388 Constructing Aliens: Refugees in Contemporary Australia
PEAC503 Active Resistance: Contemporary Nonviolence
PEAC504 Environmental Security and Peaceful Futures
PEAC508 Creating Cultures of Peace
PEAC528 Resolution or Transformation of Conflict
PEAC552 Building Peace in Post-Conflict Situations
PEAC554 Post-conflict Justice and Reconciliation Processes
PEAC573 Globalisation as if People and Ecosystems Matter

There are a number of units which complement Indigenous Studies, see the Course Rules & Plans tab of your enrolled course to see the recommended Program of Study for the Peace Studies Major.

Scholarship Opportunities

Students who study Peace Studies at UNE are eligible for the Dirk Boomsma Memorial Peace Studies Bursaries

Research Opportunities

Students at both Undergraduate and Postgraduate Level are encouraged to do research. We believe that research skills are critical for graduate employability.

Peace Studies staff currently have a number of active research projects.  Students interested in pursuing research opportunities can find these topics listed on the Research Opportunities page.  Please contact the relevant supervisor for those interested in HUMS units.  For those interested in undertaking fourth year Honours projects contact the Honours coordinator.  For those interested in undertaking higher degree research projects (MPhil, PhD) please contact the program convenor.

Undergraduate Research Units

HUMS 301 Special Option A

HUMS 505 Reading Unit A

HUMS 507 Major Research Project

HUMS 508 Major Research Project

Peace Studies Research

Peace Hub

Peacebuilding in Bougainville 2003 - 2013

In September last year Dr Bert Jenkinswas invited to speak at the First International Seminar on Peace Education held at the University of Cambridge, UK. He shared his experiences with other international scholars on working in Bougainville for a decade on various projects including the development of a peace education program.

Dr Rebecca Spence is currently working with a Nongovernment organization in Fiji supporting which is exploring new methodologies in feminist praxis.

Marty Branagan was an organiser and presenter, and Vanessa Bible and Bert Jenkins were presenters, at 2015 Symposium: 'Wilderness 40 Years and 40,000 Years'. A book is planned based on the symposium’s papers.

Northern Tablelands Nonviolence Sculpture Garden

(Project led by Dr Marty Branagan and Vanessa Bible, early stages)

Join international movement of recognising peace activists, nonviolent practitioners, conscientious objectors, by creating nine sculptures in the Mike O’Keefe Woodlands, along with a history project that will lead to an onsite app, signage, website and book. Focuses on people from the Northern Tablelands region, but working on globally-significant issues and linked with international movements fro peace, social justice and environmental sustainability. Networked with New England Regional Art Museum, EcoArts Australis, Armidale Tree Group, National Parks Association and Armidale High School. Seeking Arts NSW funding, and possible DECRA application for Vanessa)

Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Defence in the Asia-Pacific

(Project led by Marty Branagan and DB Subedi, very early stage)

Will examine ways of reducing the carbon bootprint of war, militarism and defence in the Asi-Pacific. Aims to examine the carbon bootprint and other environmental impacts of Asia-Pacific defence forces, and to explore alternative methods of defence and regime change to militarism. These include civil defence and social/civilian defence using nonviolent active resistance and creative high-tech activism. Explore the possibility of transformation of military forces into ones with a smaller footprint, that use nonviolence, and engage in a wider array of projects, including disaster relief, humanitarian missions, fire-fighting, search and rescue, environmental rehabilitation and renewable energy projects. Possible DECRA project for DB Subedi.

Past activities

* the ;UNE Peace Studies Conference 2015, "Questioning 'peace formation' and 'peace infrastructure'", which resulted in a special edition of the Peace and Conflict Review, entitled Questioning Peace Infrastructure and Peace Formation: ISSN: 1659-3995. It is a fine, wide-ranging volume of work and insight in the field of critical peace and conflict studies!

* the 2013 ‘Mining in a Sustainable World’ conference, which resulted in a special edition of the International Journal of Rural Law and Policy, and followed a Coal Seam Gas public forum featuring MP Tony Windsor and others,

* the UNE Peace Festival 2012, including an international conference ‘Cultivating Peace: Context, Practices and Multidimensional Models’ (which resulted in an edited book of the same name), the Nonviolence Film Festival, an exhibition, talks and discussion panels.

Our People


Our current students range from - educators, military personnel, lawyers, social workers, community development workers, agriculturalists, natural resources managers, members of the clergy, activists and allied health professionals, all seeking an insight into understanding how to deal with direct, structural and cultural violence within societies affected by violent conflict.

There are growing areas of practice and research in the international arena of post conflict recovery and conflict management. Australian and international involvement in areas adversely affected by armed violence is increasing. Tens of thousands of people are deployed around the globe as either United Nation Peacekeepers or Peace Monitors, as non-government Humanitarian Workers supplying aid and relief, or engaging in longer term recovery and reconstruction projects with indigenous and international NGOs, or as International Observers, Diplomats or Government Representatives.

Some employers  support or sponsor their employees through a Peace Studies specialisation in one of our courses. Both the employee and employer will gain from the benefits of:

  • A solid contemporary education, as well as training in the skills relevant to today's complex and changing world, equipping people to resolve conflict and prevent violence;
  • A more comprehensive understanding of community development and peacebuilding; and
  • A better appreciation of the requirements for working cooperatively in inter-cultural and international environments.