The PRDU currently hosts the highly prestigious Chevening course on conflict resolution, which is sponsored by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Selected by the FCO, participants come at a formative stage in their careers with senior-level experience and outstanding professional achievements. Since 2006, groups of 12 fellows have completed the course in each academic year, bringing together the relevant though often separated worlds of academia, civil service, civil society, government, journalism, the military, non-governmental organisations, and the United Nations. Overall, the groups so far have shared country perspectives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Cuba, East Timor, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guyana, Nepal, Palestinian Territories, Philippines, Uganda, South Africa and Sudan.
Based at the university, the conflict resolution course equips the senior fellows with an advanced understanding of conflict causation, maintenance and amelioration. Employing participatory teaching methodologies, the course is practitioner-orientated and places an emphasis on skills to manage conflict in developing world contexts. The course is also designed to enable participants to reflect upon and experiment with the integration of conflict management theory and practice through discussion and group presentations, to observe best practice in a number of different settings, and to consider conflict and its amelioration at a range of levels. The emphasis on post-conflict recovery and peace-building locates conflict resolution in wider processes of development and thus provides extra 'added-value'.
During the 12 weeks, the senior fellows cover 8 interlinked topics and dimensions of conflict resolution. Group discussions begin with a short presentation by a specialist from the field or academia. The course draws upon the expertise of visiting specialists, including: Professor Cynthia Cockburn (City University London and international consultant); Dr Ben Hoffman (Senior Fellow at the Fetcher School, and former Director of the Conflict Resolution Program at the Carter Centre); Dr Judith Large (Director of the Conflict Resolution Programme at Crisis Management Initiative); Mr Dan Smith (Secretary General of International Alert); Mr Matthias Stiefel (President and Founder of WSP International/Interpeace); and, senior representatives of the International Crisis Group, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, and Independent Diplomat.
From the PRDU's teaching faculty, seminars are also led by Professor Haleh Afshar, Dr Rob Aitken, Professor Sultan Barakat, Dr Adrian Leftwich and Dr Alp Özerdem.
The course at York is 1 of 17 Chevening courses in the UK that specialise in a wide range of timely themes.