Skip navigation

Conflict Management

Contact Us

Conflict Management
Isabelle Talpain-Long, Academic Program Coordinator
1619 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Suite 420
Washington, DC 20036
+1 (202) 663-5745


To understand conflict you must understand its causes, the tools and processes to manage it, and the use of international organizations to create peaceful resolutions. Through the Conflict Management program you will learn to evaluate the conditions that drive a conflict to escalate and to use negotiation, mediation, crisis management, stabilization and reconstruction to institutionalize peace-building after violent conflict.

Become an Expert

Form the basis of a strong negotiating position by critically evaluating the positions of your counterparts. Collect and interpret data to measure the conditions surrounding a conflict. Apply skills in policy design and implementation to develop strategies for vastly different political and economic settings. Conflict Management graduates gain valuable capabilities in diplomacy, leadership, and analysis.


Featured Courses

Learn to diagnose the long-term underlying causes and drivers of social conflicts within and between states.


International Bargaining and Negotiation

This course examines bargaining and negotiations from the theoretical and policy perspectives in international diplomacy and the impact of the negotiation process on the outcomes of negotiations in both theory and practice, including the role of individual negotiators, domestic politics, cultural context, and the international environment.

Students will consider the ways in which negotiations may ameliorate conflicts of interest and identity in international politics. Numerous case studies and simulation exercises will be utilized.


Genocide and Mass Violence

The goal of this course is to examine the origins and causes of genocide and to introduce students to the key works and major debates in the growing field of genocide and mass violence research.

This course is divided into three parts. First, students will look at how genocide is conceptualized and defined, explore the theories that try to explain why genocides occur, and discuss why people may participate in genocidal killing. In the second part we will examine several key case studies of genocide and mass violence. Third, we will complete the course by debating policy approaches to genocide and mass violence including prevention, interventon post-genocide justice, reconcliation and memory.


Behavioral Sociology of Conflict

This course considers the importance of culture in the operationalization of modernity by assessing the role of religion, beliefs and identity in social behaviors.

Students will challenge the rational assumption to emphasize the behavioral aspects of intercommunal and international relations and draw from various disciplines (sociology, evolutionary psychology, social and political psychology) to examine identity-based conflict as well as the xenophobic responses to the emergence of a global, modern identity.


Violence: State and Society

This course examines violence of varying types and scales that occurs mainly within the territory of nominally sovereign states.

The main objective is to survey and critically examine the most important developments in the literature on armed conflict over the past two decades. Why do armed conflicts begin? Why do nonviolent conflicts escalate? Why do armed actors kill some civilians and not others? Why does violence “work” to solve political problems in some instances but "fail" in others? Why do armed actors resort to particular forms of violence (e.g. torture) in some contexts but not others? In general, the focus will be on the causes and dynamics of violence, rather than on the origins or historical development of the social and political conflicts in which violence is embedded.

Learn From the Best

Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their scholarship, influence, and networks.

Daniel Serwer

Director of American Foreign Policy, Director of Conflict Management

Sanam Vakil

James Anderson Adjunct Professor, Adjunct Professor of Middle East Studies, Associate Fellow, Chatham House's Middle East North Africa Programme

Raffaella A. Del Sarto

Associate Professor of Middle East Studies

Eugene Finkel

Associate Professor

Advance Your Career

Gain the intellectual framework and analytic skills necessary to enter a variety of roles across the public, private, multilateral, and nonprofit sectors.

Advance Your Career

Recent Internships

  • Center for European Policy Analysis
  • International Crisis Group
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation
  • Russian International Affairs Council
  • United Nations Development Programme
  • US Department of State
  • World Bank Group

Recent Employers

  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Dataminr
  • International Finance Corporation
  • Ipsos
  • Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
  • US Department of State
  • World Bank Group


Build Your Network

Join a diverse, accomplished, influential community of scholars, practitioners, alumni, and students working across sectors in 140 countries around the world.

Conflict Management students spent ten days in Riyadh and Doha during a study trip, where they interviewed leaders, and members of international organizations for their final research report.

SAIS Europe's Global Security Conflict Management Club visited the Allied Joint Force Command Naples, where they received first-hand insights on NATO's military operations.

Maximizing the SAIS Europe Experience

"With a strong background in Italian, I was eager to employ my speaking skills in everyday life to better understand European politics from a closer point of view. "

View Story

Examining Conflict Resolution Across the Globe

"The opportunity to meet with several of the most highly regarded government officials and royal family members to discuss an important political event is something I would never have expected as a student."

View Story


Nov 14 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm Kenney Herter Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC

Lantos Foundation Annual Lecture: The US and the ICC with Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, President of the ICC

Join us for the Lantos Rule of Law Lecture with Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, President, International Criminal Court

In conversation with Steven Schneebaum, Interim Director, International Law and Organizations and Practitioner-in-Residence...

Dec 10 9:30 am - 11:00 am Kenney Herter Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC

Improving Practices in Reconciliation: A Look at Local Practices

Across many conflict and post-conflict contexts, healing the fractured relationships between communities is an essential step in peacebuilding. While many may be familiar with major national reconciliation processes, we often...

Beyond the Classroom

Put into practice the skills in cooperation and negotiation learned in our cutting-edge curriculum.

Explore Conflict Management Firsthand

Study the dimensions of conflict up close during a study trek. Interview government officials, leaders of NGOs, and local media representatives to assess prospects for progress in a conflict or post-conflict region.

Global Security and Conflict Management Club

Connect with classmates school-wide who share an interest in conflict management and related careers. Network with alumni and practitioners. Help us organize events and programs exploring the dimensions of conflict and post-conflict regions.

Contact Us

World-Class Events

Hear groundbreaking research from leading scholars at our weekly seminars. Recent sessions have explored topics including patterns of protest and revolt in Africa, the competing narratives that shape the identities of people in the Balkans, and strategies for defeating the Islamic State in Syria.

Study Treks

Join a study trek and see firsthand pressing issues such as the blockade of Qatar and its tensions with Gulf neighbors, the prospects for new Israel-Palestine negotiations, and ceasefire violations in Ukraine.