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MA Intercultural Conflict Management

Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences, Alice-Salomon-Platz 5, 12627 Berlin, Germany

+49 (30) 992 45 333

+49 (30) 992 45 245

E-mail address

Type of course

Language of tuition
English and/or Spanish

Length of course
3 Semesters / 18 months

Date of commencement

Application deadline
Application Deadline Non-EU Students: 15th of April
Application Deadline EU-Students: 15th of May

Class size

Available, but not on campus

Major recruiters of graduates of our programmes
Ministries, GTZ, CCP – European Centre for Conflict Prevention

Admission requirements
• Completed application form
• Letter of Motivation
• Curriculum vitae
• Copies of certificates and academic records (no high school or secondary school certificates)
• Copies of letters of evaluation from past or current employers
• Proof of English and or Spanish language proficiency

For non-native English/ Spanish speakers: Cambridge Advanced Certificate, Test of English as a Foreign Language, International English Language Testing System or similar. Test of Spanish as a Foreign Langue and or similar.
These results should NOT be older than two (2) years.
• Proof of financial ability

Programme Director
Prof. Johannes Kniffki

Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences

Master of Arts in Intercultural Conflict Management (MA-ICM)

In recognition of the changes being experienced by many societies as a consequence of increasing global inter-dependence, the MA-ICM is a response to the challenges of conflict, cultural diversity, social inequality, violations of human rights and human exploitation. These issues have heightened tensions for a growing number of individuals and groups on the local, national and international level.

Thus there is an urgent need for professionals who can act effectively on issues of conflict management and social justice in multicultural contexts. Graduates will gain a solid understanding of these issues needed to achieve greater social justice through professional roles as field officers, managers, facilitators, advocates or researchers.

The Teaching and Learning Approach

The Master-ICM is based on 12 years experience of teaching and learning. Since 2002, 165 students from 34 different countries have completed this study program. The cultural, professional, political, social and linguistic diversity of participants is one of the main characteristics of the MA-ICM. The methodological and didactical design is oriented on that diversity and differences, giving the students the possibility to experience and handle differences and diversity in lectures, working groups and everyday life. The ICM works with and integrates the diversity and differences and thereby resembles a living laboratory for students and teachers. This also means that the MA-ICM by its self-understanding is generating and building habitus. The ASH believes that habitual knowledge instead of exclusively instrumental knowledge is the fundamental competency, which students should obtain in the social context of this study proposal.

Theoretical Approaches of ICM

The MA-ICM departs from a broad understanding of the concepts of “culture” and “conflict”.

Culture in this Master -Program is not only understood as national or ethnical differences with respect to norms, values, language, religion, behavior etc. Instead, it is conceived in the broader sense of an everyday program or general codes, on which a certain number of people agree and which they employ to define and solve problems.

Conflicts are not only seen as violent international or inner-state confrontations, but in a broader sense as any kind of social distortion, e.g. social exclusion phenomena, on a community level. Globalization in the last decades had a huge influence and provoked important changes on all these levels, which different social actors like governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions have to deal with.

The particular focus of the ICM on the community level enables students to analyze the repercussions of globalization on a local level and to develop concrete participatory coping strategies in cooperation with the involved people and communities. With this special and unique approach the ICM offers an application-oriented reply to global developments, international or inner-state conflicts, social distortions etc… Focusing on the specific implications of these global phenomena on a local level, the ICM provides powerful tools that enable communities to find and develop coping strategies to these phenomena. The tools addressed by the MA-ICM not only allow the means to cope with specific situations, but also to support social development in general.


1st Semester (Theoretical Background):

The first semester focuses on the theoretical and conceptual basis of the above explained premises. In the two modules, the fact that conflicts are essentially social phenomena will be considered, along with the resulting networks of relationships of the different social actors. Therefore, it is necessary to be familiar with the mechanisms that generate social conflicts.

These mechanisms can be defined as transnational phenomena that are effective on a community level (module 1, unit 1a). Social inequalities that manifest themselves in opportunities and ways of participation (for example distribution fights) can be theoretically described and empirically recorded (module 1, unit 1b). Diversity and difference, in the understanding of this Master Program are not the causes of conflicts, but they are at best, aggravating circumstances for the negotiations of the social actors on a community level. Nevertheless, diversity and difference are the basis for employing participative coping strategies. The conflicts on diversity reflect different programs of conflict solution on part of the involved actors and can be transformed into negotiating environments (module 1, unit 1c). Conflicts, their causes and possible coping strategies as well as the correspondingly involved actors are in need of a legitimizing framework, which allows them to intervene in a specific situation in an appropriate way. The MA-ICM assumes that the Human Rights and their implementation are a valid legitimizing basis. Within the scope of the conceptual orientation of the MA-ICM, Human Rights are reflected upon under the aspect of their implementation (module 2, unit 2a). Supranational institutions like the United Nations or internationally operating actors in the sector of developmental cooperation are global players, not only in the context of developmental issues, their respective programs or conflict resolution, but also with regard to the power of defining political concepts and measures. A critical taking stock and analysis of international cooperation and development is the content of module2, unit 2b. The last unit of module 2 deals with the intervention in critical situations of conflict and the issues that result from taking actions. Hereby it will be reflected upon, which strategies of conflict management exist and which mechanisms are necessary to be detected, in order to develop coping strategies for a specific situation of conflict. Different coping strategies will be analyzed and critically assessed in module2, unit 2c.

2nd Semester (Application Methods):

In the second semester, the application orientation of the MA-ICM will be implemented. The semester starts out with a workshop on mediation/negotiation techniques (unit 3a) and a thematical unit (unit 3b) in which students have the possibility to focus on specific topics of their interest (topics will be defined during first semester). International experts for the respective topics will be invited as guest lecturers.

On the basis of the theoretical and conceptual fundamentals, as they were taught in the first semester, the students are provided with a set of methodological tools with regard to contexts of conflict, social inequality, and social exclusion. The intention is to enable the students to interact and deal with any social, political, cultural or economic context. The starting point is to establish a wide participation of all actors involved (i.e. the community in the understanding of the MA-ICM).

In this context, a critical understanding of data and literature is fundamental (statistical literacy – module 4, unit 4a). The main approach of the Master ICM with respect to social analysis also concurs with a participatory and enabling practice. Social analysis is directly linked to the possibilities of cooperative action - Action Research (Module 4, unit 4b) - which refer to taking actions within the scope of a project (module 5, unit 5a). Furthermore, it is important within the application orientation of the MA-ICM to qualify students to interact with the relevant social actors in a given situation, so that the resulting relationship will be both strategic and operational (module 5, unit 5b). Consequently, the methodology of the MA-ICM derives from the combination of the theoretical background and contents taught in the first semester and the three methods Action Research, Project Cycle Management and Networking that are the cornerstones of the second semester.

3rd Semester (Master Thesis):

The third semester is reserved for the elaboration of the Master thesis. The topic of the thesis is chosen by each student individually in close communication with the teaching staff of the Master ICM and should be based on one or more of the theoretical and methodological contents of the Master ICM as set out above.

How is the MA-ICM programme designed?

This international programme is taught in English and is designed to bring students together from a variety of backgrounds and cultures to facilitate cross-cultural learning experiences. Students will be provided with an inter-disciplinary overview of the challenges facing multicultural societies and societies experiencing ethnic conflict. Students will develop comprehensive intercultural skills and the capacity to work effectively in a cross-cultural environment. The programme emphasizes self-knowledge and cultural awareness and develops students' practical skills in intercultural communication, mediation and conflict resolution and the application of human rights. For whom is the MA-ICM programme of most interest?

The M.A. programme will be of most interest to individuals who are professionally active or have an academic interest in environments characterised by cultural diversity and conflict. These elements are frequently encountered in multi-ethnic contexts where competing group interests exist and where individuals have regulatory/control responsibilities requiring additional intercultural competence and mediation abilities.

About the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences

Founded in 1899 by Alice Salomon, a strong advocate for women's rights and social justice, the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences is now Germany's oldest and largest training institution of higher education in social work. The University has a proud tradition in the high quality of its applied, professional education and its commitment to social justice and equality. It offers a long-standing, inclusive and future oriented approach to the study of social work. The institution has grown from a school providing professional training for women to an internationally oriented research university offering diploma and graduate programmes to a diversity of national and international students.

During its early years and consistent with the accepted practices at that time, the University, named the "Social School for Women", admitted only women applicants until 1945. As the training institute grew in prestige in the area of social work and social pedagogy, it was renamed the Alice Salomon School in 1932 in commemoration of Alice Salomon's 60th birthday. In 1933, the National Socialists came to power and Alice Salomon was banned from the school and a large number of instructors of Jewish descent were release from employment. In 1937, Alice Salomon was expelled from Germany and emigrated to the United States. It was not until 1954 that the school reinstated the name "Alice Salomon School". The school was recognized as a State University of Applied Sciences for Social Work and Social Pedagogy in 1971 and was granted the right to confer degrees, although it once again lost the name "Alice Salomon". In 1991, the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences is established as the official name of the university.

Today, the Alice Salomon University is recognized as one of Germany's most research-intensive universities of applied sciences in the social field. One of the cornerstones of the University is applied research. This applied research approach not only enhances the current knowledge in the field of social work but also assures the quality of education.

Without regard to gender, the Alice Salomon University enrolls academically and professionally qualified students from diverse age groups, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds. Through the application of a variety of study programmes, advanced instructional technologies, and student services, the University supports the professional development of traditional and non-traditional students.

The University offers a full and part-time certificate as well as diploma and graduate programmes. The two diploma programmes include the Social Work and Social Pedagogy programme, and the Nursing and Nursing Management programme. Diploma programmes consist of a strong focus on practical training and project-based learning combined with a theoretical understanding. The International Master of Arts in Intercultural Conflict Management degree programme has been offered since October 2000 by the University in response to the knowledge and expertise students urgently need in a changing world. Certificate programmes are aimed at professionals who wish to further develop their professional and interdisciplinary qualifications.

The curriculum does not remain static and the University regularly modifies and introduces programmes to reflect social changes and realities. Presently, the Alice Salomon University is in the process of establishing Bachelor and additional Master degree programmes to continue to meet the new orientations, directions and practices in social work education stemming from a changing global environment.