USIP Land & Conflict Course, June 2010

United States Institute of Peace


June 15-17, 2010
Washington, DC

Land and property disputes play a role in many more conflicts than is often appreciated.  While the most straight-forward case may be two sovereign states fighting over a piece of territory, disputes and grievance over land and property take a multitude of forms in the intra-state or internal conflicts that have been much more common over the past few decades.

In rare cases land may be a primary cause of conflict; more often it is a tinderbox of discontent caused by long standing tenure insecurity and inequities, easily ignited by the flames of violence.  During the conflict itself, land is not only a physical battleground, but is often a tool as well as a casualty of war.   Control of land may serve a political or ideological aim, such as to control its population, including by mass forced displacement and secondary occupation.  It may be financially motivated, to enable armed groups to plunder land and natural resources for direct profit or to reward loyalists.

Land and property relations are further profoundly impacted by the dramatic social and political changes that occur during and in the immediate aftermath of armed conflict.  The lawless free-for-all that characterizes so many of these transitions creates an environment ripe for land grabs.  Mass return of refugees and the displaced – sometimes following generations of absence – together with accelerated rates of urbanization, especially among the landless and unemployed, can put tremendous pressure on a fragile administration. If not adequately addressed, grievances related to land and property – both old and new – may threaten to unravel a hard-won peace.

The USIP Land, Property and Conflict Course aims to provide practitioners with analytical tools for assessing and addressing an array of complex land and property disputes, from competing ownership claims and restitution to customary land rights and illegal urban settlements.  Drawing on case studies of peace operations and peacebuilding efforts, participants explore the range of entry points (humanitarian, human rights, state-building, development etc.) and options for dispute resolution and structural reform.  The course is tailored to professionals who work on conflict management and peacebuilding, whether they come from a legal, development, military, government, NGO, international organization, private sector or academic background.

By the end of this course, delegates will be able to:

  • Identify a range of complex land and property disputes and assess their relation to a particular conflict;
  • Understand the various mandates and entry points of international actors with regard to land and property disputes;
  • Assess the desirability of a range of intervention options for addressing land and property disputes in a given context;
  • Apply lessons learned from several case studies of complex conflict-related land and property disputes;
  • Understand and apply over-arching “principles of engagement” to interventions related to land and property disputes.

Delivery Methodology

The course will be delivered through a variety of methodologies that seek to maximize the learning experience. With an emphasis on ‘problem-based learning’ or ‘learning by doing’, presentations will be supplemented by simulation exercises, group work/discussion, role-playing, and so forth. Primarily, the training course seeks to cultivate an environment in which delegates can learn from each other through the sharing of knowledge, experiences and solutions.

The training course will be facilitated and delivered by individuals with strong backgrounds in land and property issued in conflict environments, both from an academic and practical perspective. Case studies and examples will be drawn from a variety of states where land and property disputes have played an important role, including Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, Timor Leste, Sudan, Afghanistan and Colombia.

Course Requirements

Participants enrolled in this course will find that it is intensive in nature given the breadth of materials being covered. Participants are expected to attend every session.  In addition, participants will be asked to:

  • Actively participate in all group discussions, exercises, and case studies; and
  • Actively participate in the final simulation at the end of the course

Timing and Cost

This course is taught as an intensive 3 day course from June 15-17, inclusive.  It will be held at USIP, in Washington, DC.   This course is free, however, participants are responsible for their own travel costs.

Course Instructors

Course Facilitators:                 Deborah Isser and Peter van der Auweraert

Additional Instructors:            John Bruce, Conor Foley and Rhodri Williams

Instructions for Applicants

1) Click on this link:

2) For Course Type, select All Courses. Click Search.

3) A list of all courses will pop up. Click on Land, Property and Conflict.

4) Select date and click Apply.

For more information, please contact: Tim Luccaro,

2 responses to “USIP Land & Conflict Course, June 2010

  1. Pingback: US Institute of Peace ‘Land, Property and Conflict’ Course in June « TerraNullius

  2. Pingback: Guest-blogger Esteban Leon to introduce new land and natural disaster guidance « TerraNullius

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