Professionalizing peacebuilding

Inquire. Implement. Innovate.

In cooperation with Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), the 2017 Bologna Symposium will bring together the globe’s brightest young minds from top graduate institutions, international organizations, grassroots peace movements, and the armed services. Be one of them.

Over a three-week period, you will undergo intensive training by the field’s premier political leaders, academic experts, practitioners, and advocates in the practical skills necessary to foster peace and security in your community and the world. Not only will you have the opportunity to inquire about theory and practice from the world’s brightest minds, you will implement lessons-learned in complex and dynamic experiential education exercises. The skills you gain and the network you build will give you the foundation to innovate the peacebuilding field.

As a participant, you receive an IPSI Post-Graduate Certificate in “International Conflict Management” upon successful completion of the course.  If you choose to undertake additional rigorous assignments you will earn an IPSI Post-Graduate Certificate in “International Conflict Management with Distinction.” 

Applications Closed

A curriculum firmly grounded in experiential education.

You will graduate from the program with the knowledge to effectively transform violent conflict through the following learned techniques:

⋅  international mediation
⋅  multi-party negotiation
⋅  conflict prevention and diagnosis
⋅  community facilitation
⋅  reconciliation and trauma healing
⋅  social entrepreneurship and societal transformation

The world’s most effective conflict management practitioners.

The Bologna Symposium is different. Through carefully designed activities by current world leaders and educators, including formal exercises, simulations, role-playing, and workshops, you will learn skills never taught in a typical classroom setting. [pictured left: UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson]

View last summer’s Program Book
Download the 2017 Curriculum

2017 Keynote Speaker

Humberto De la Calle: Former Vice President of Colombia and chief negotiator of the Colombian peace process, Humberto de la Calle is a Colombian lawyer and politician. He served as Vice President of Colombia from 1994 to 1997 and in the cabinet as Interior Minister under two Presidents, Andres Pastrana and Cesar Gaviria. He also served as Ambassador to the Spain and the United Kingdom. In October 2012, President Juan Manuel Santos appointed De la Calle as the chief negotiator in Colombian peace process with the FARC. Because of these peace talks, a final agreement was concluded in late 2016. Currently De La Calle continues in his position, now charged with facilitating the implementation of the agreements. In March 2017, De La Calle announced that he will work to form a coalition of different political parties to provide a unified front that will protect and implement the peace agreements.

2017 Faculty

Dr. Terry Hopmann
Chair, Conflict Management Program, SAIS

Susan Collin Marks
Senior Advisor and Former Vice-President, Search for Common Ground

John Marks
Founder and Former President, Search for Common Ground

Robi Damelin
Head of Public Relations, Parents Circle – Families Forum

Dr. Joyce Neu
Former Team Leader, UN Standby Team of Mediation Experts

Dr. Valerie Rosoux
Professor of International Negotiation, University of Louvain

Dr. William Zartman
Professor Emeritus, Johns Hopkins University SAIS

Rajendra Mulmi
Country Director, Nigeria, Search for Common Ground

+ Many More

Event Space: SAIS Europe in Bologna, Italy

Home to the oldest university in Europe, the city of Bologna has a long tradition of education, cultural heritage, and political vitality, as well as SAIS’ European branch. The SAIS Bologna Center—the leading American graduate school for international affairs in Europe—offers a unique educational environment that distinguishes it from typical exchange or multi-institution programs. The Bologna Center is adjacent to the University of Bologna in the heart of the historical university district. As an IPSI student, you will have exclusive access to all SAIS Bologna facilities including the library, computer lounges, wi-fi network, common areas, and classrooms.

Student-Trainer Network

By connecting participants to one another and to leading experts, IPSI provides an active and on-going forum for our alumni.  Relying on the power of dialogue, networking, and collaboration inherent in our programming, IPSI catalyzes constructive discussions regarding peacemaking, peacebuilding, and human security.  Through the diverse skills and regional expertise of its vast network, IPSI strives to be at the forefront of thought leadership in Peace & Security.  In addition, IPSI’s Staff, Boards, and lecturers are available to help you plan and execute long-term career goals. [pictured left: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jerry White]

Application Process

STUDENT SELECTIONThe IPSI Bologna Symposium strives to attract a diverse and accomplished student body from across the globe, especially peace and security leaders from conflict and post-conflict countries. A balanced and effective student body draws from a broad spectrum of regions, religions, and ethnicities. IPSI accepts young professionals, graduate students, and accomplished undergraduates, based on one or more of the following criteria:

  • Stellar academic and/or professional achievement
  • Keen interest in Peace & Security
  • Proven record of leadership positions in community affairs
  • Experience in/with government agencies
  • Demonstrated ability in undertaking social entrepreneurship ventures

NEW! Successful applicants that attend the Symposium have the option to be added to the internal professional employment/consultant roster of IPSI’s sister organization Creative Associates International. As alumni, you will have the inside track for jobs in one of the most well respected and successful international development firms in the world.

Questions? Please contact

HOW TO APPLY: To be considered for matriculation, you will need to provide the following materials via our online application form:

  • Résumé or Curriculum Vitae
  • Short statement (500 characters or less) on
    • WHY you would like to attend the Bologna Symposium & WHAT you intend to do with the training received
  • Contact information for two professional/academic references
  • 10 EUR application fee

Tuition & Deadlines: IPSI accepts applications on a rolling basis (acceptances are merit-based and spots are limited). Your tuition includes all academics, trainings, educational materials, and special events.  Tuition does not include airfare, accommodations, or most meals. IPSI has negotiated extremely reasonable group rates for optional accommodations, which will be provided upon acceptance.

Standard Tuition: 3,699 EUR
Scholarship Tuition: 1,999 EUR (learn more >)

Applications Closed

Bologna Blog

Learn more about Bologna Symposium by reading our blog written by participants from the years past.

Explore Blogs
Meeting diverse participants, learning from experts in an environment full of culture and heritage was a lifetime experience. Attending the Bologna Symposium was very valuable for Gaza and for my career.
Raghda Abu-Shahla • IPSI Alumna • Office of the director, Gaza field office, UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
“Every year, eyes shining, the students tell me that they are being transformed by the Bologna experience. They can hardly believe what is happening. But it is. That’s why I make sure I am free to teach – their inspiration puts wind under my wings too.”
Susan Collin Marks • Peace Ambassador, Search for Common Ground
“This symposium is a catalyst for students from all over the globe who are looking to make a difference in a dangerous world. It offers tools for change and a recognition of how our lives are intertwined.”
Robi Damelin • Spokesperson, Parents Circle - Families Forum

Bologna, Italy Symposium

on Conflict Prevention, Resolution, & Reconciliation
June 10 – July 1, 2017 

Applications Closed

The Sarajevo Symposium

on Post Conflict Transitions & International Justice
July 15-29, 2017 

Learn More