In the last decade, preventing conflict and sustaining peace have become increasingly complex. National armies and armed opposition groups are no longer the sole perpetrators of armed violence. Violence is being perpetrated more and more by a range of hybrid actors, such as armed groups, criminal organizations, and illicit trafficking networks. Understanding these emerging trends presents novel analytical challenges. 

Developed in collaboration with the Changing Character of War Centre at Oxford University and the University of Regina in Canada, this online course explores the political context driving the genesis of armed violence and the forces shaping armed group inception, structures and resources . It explores the links between criminality and insurgency and analyses the different implications for engagement. By focusing on multidisciplinary investigative approaches, this course will strengthen your analytical skills and provide practical tools which can support armed groups analysis.



Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Apply different tools and approaches drawn from numerous disciplines to analysis of armed groups.
  • Benefit from case studies from within the UN and from academic research on non-state armed groups.

Course Methodology

Course Methodology: 

This course offers the opportunity to engage in a dynamic online learning experience which combines learner-centred online design principles, recorded video segments, carefully chosen academic readings with stimulating webinar presentations from practitioners with interactive discussion fora.

Course Contents

Course Contents: 

In this course you will look at contemporary armed violence through a multidisciplinary lens and discuss different ways to analyse, interact and understand implications for engagement with armed groups.

  • Module 1 provides an introduction of key trends which influence armed groups analysis.
  • Module 2 examines different stages of inception of armed groups formation as well as outlines different types of armed group structures.
  • Module 3 provides a theoretical overview of the links between criminality and insurgency which will be highlighted through case studies.
  • Module 4 will focus on implications for engagement through live panel discussion with practitioners from the UN.
  • Module 5 provides selected practical analytical tools for armed groups analysis.
  • Module 6 consists of the final assignment to apply a systemic approach to bring together the different analytical angles and produce a more nuanced analysis applicable to your selected context.

Target Audience

Target Audience: 

UN staff as well as practitioners and representatives from governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, civil society and academia. It is geared to those who are either deployed in duty stations that are affected by the presence of armed groups or whose job description involves the analysis, interaction, and possible engagement with armed groups.

Cost of participation

Cost of participation: 

The course fee is $500.

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