About the Program
The School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University is launching the Kent Global Leadership Program on Conflict Resolution to help prepare the next generation of global practitioners for the increasingly complex challenges posed by contemporary conflict.
The program's foundation is an intensive week-long training session for professionals from governments and inter-governmental institutions held annually in New York City, beginning in 2021.
The program will also sponsor on-campus events and workshops during the academic year, a visiting professorship, fellowships for outstanding SIPA graduate students, and new research. Sustained by the generous support and vision of Muhtar Kent, the program will be directed by Professor Edward C. Luck.
Onetime faculty member Jean-Marie Guéhenno will return to SIPA as the inaugural Kent Visiting Professor of Conflict Resolution in spring 2021.
A former French diplomat who sits on the UN’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation, Guéhenno served from 2014 to 2017 as president and CEO of the International Crisis Group, an NGO that works to prevent and resolve dangerous conflicts around the world. He remains a trustee of the organization.
Before joining ICG, Guéhenno was SIPA’s Arnold Saltzman Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs. He held the professorship and related positions from 2008 until 2014, and in 2012 took several months’ leave in an effort to help resolve the crisis in Syria.
He has also been United Nations Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, a role in which he led the largest expansion of peacekeeping in the history of the UN, overseeing approximately 130,000 staff on eighteen missions.
A number of factors, such as the prominence of non-state armed groups and the employment of terrorist tactics, sexual and gender-based violence, the incidence of atrocity crimes, and the exacerbation of environmental and resource stressors, have greatly complicated efforts to resolve conflicts and protect populations.
The peacemakers of tomorrow will need to build a broad array of skills to address the complexities of the challenges facing our global communities.
Galeela Michael MIA ’22
Economic and Political Development
Galeela Michael is a first-year Master of International Affairs candidate at SIPA, with a concentration in Economic and Political Development and a regional specialization in Africa. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, graduating in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Global and International Studies. After SIPA, Galeela hopes to pursue a career that creatively leverages technology to support people in emergency situations, specifically in the Horn of Africa.
Michael Thomson MIA ’22
International Security Policy
Michael Thomson is a first-year Master in International Affairs candidate at SIPA, concentrating in International Security Policy and specializing in International Conflict Resolution and International Organization and United Nations Studies. He is a 2015 graduate of Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in conflict resolution and public action. After SIPA, Michael intends to pursue a career in international peacemaking, either in supporting peace processes or in conflict analysis research.