Graduate Studies at the University of Haifa International School

Creating practical solutions in Political Science and Conflict management

  (photo credit: YONIT SCHILLER)
(photo credit: YONIT SCHILLER)

The University of Haifa’s Faculty of Social Science features several stimulating English-language master’s degree programs designed for students from around the world. These programs include programs in public management and policy, diplomacy studies, international relations, national security and peace and conflict management.

“Peace and conflict management is an up-and-coming field both as a profession and as an academic discipline,” says Dr. Ran Kuttner, head of the Peace and Conflict Management Program at the University of Haifa. “As we progress in the twenty-first century, it will become a crucial, very much needed profession to help integrate among diverse stakeholders.” The master’s program in Peace and Conflict Management is a one-year program that attracts students from around the world who explore the field of conflict management and peacebuilding, from conflicts between nations to disagreements on a social level between individuals and within society, organizations and communities. “In every field,” says Dr. Kuttner, “there are many barriers to engage collaboratively.”

The program, part of the University of Haifa’s Faculty of Social Science, takes a multidisciplinary approach and exposes students to relevant studies in education, philosophy, political science, psychology, communications, and other disciplines. Dr. Kuttner explains that Israel, located in the center of the Middle East conflict, is a hub for peace and conflict management studies. In addition, Haifa, with its mixed population of Jews and Arabs, is Israel’s most diverse city and is the only city in Israel that is part of the international intercultural city network. As part of the program practicum, students get hands-on experience working with organizations such as Givat Haviva, the oldest institution in Israel, promoting reconciliation between Jews and Arabs, the Red Cross, and others. 

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  (credit:  Roy Hermoni) (credit: Roy Hermoni)

Dr. Kuttner notes that the Peace and Conflict Management Program is in consonance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that the university has adopted. “UN Goal number 16, which is the promotion of peace and justice, is an easy one,” he says. He adds that every SDG goal requires the skills of conflict management which are taught in the program.  

One of the newest programs in the university’s school of political science is its master’s program in Public Administration that provides a specialization in Public Management and Policy Studies. The English-language program is based on the school’s highly ranked Hebrew-language degree program, which has been ranked as one of the top 100 programs in the world. 

Dr. Valerie Isaak, who, in addition to heading the English-language program, has taught in the Hebrew-language program since 2008 says, “We have a great deal of experience, and have the top lecturers in the department. We are offering a program that teaches at the managerial level, and which can include those who are beginning their careers in public administration, local government, or those in non-governmental organizations.”

The program provides two areas of concentration –in public administration and management skills. Courses in public administration provide students with the basic knowledge and skills in public administration. Studies in management offer a toolbox of skills that can be used in a variety of different settings, including personal managerial skills, teamwork skills, and organizational skills. Students will hone their leadership and decision-making abilities and will learn how to effectively manage communication between groups and formulate strategy, innovation and creativity on an organizational level. 

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As part of the program, students will create a practicum that integrates the skills that they have learned throughout the year. Dr. Isaak explains that the practicum, which is developed with the help of a university advisor, is tailored to address a core issue or organization that students have in their country of origin. In addition, the program offers workshops to students that provide tools in time management, interviewing and hiring prospective employees and providing feedback, ethics in public administration, leadership, and understanding the political and global economies. “We give them a lot of knowledge,” she says, “but our strong point is the practical tools that they acquire which they can implement after finishing their degree.”

Dr. Isaak herself teaches a course that takes the theoretical models and tools that help students turn it into a practical business plan that can be used by the community in order to narrow social gaps. Students also visit institutions in Israel that deal with innovation and creativity in the public sector. 

The one-year master’s program in Public Management and Policy Studies will begin in June 2022. “We emphasize two points in our program,” says Dr. Isaak. “A quality educational program and a personal connection with our students.”

Hasan Asgarov from Azerbaijan, a graduate student in the English-language program, says it best: “Haifa is an amazing school! I always look for universities that provide students with quality education, and what additionally differentiates the University of Haifa is “sustainable development” provided to students. I see gradual progress toward an academic lifestyle in myself, and professors are always there to help us out. The dormitory life is a very enriching experience, and the school spirit is very high. The school administration is very dedicated to improving the school and is always open for discussions and suggestions.”

Visit the school’s Website to learn more: The University of Haifa

This article was written in cooperation with the University of Haifa