MOOC on Environmental Peacebuilding


The United Nations Environment Programme, UC-Irvine, the Environmental Law Institute, Duke University, and Columbia University are developing a massive open online course (MOOC) on environmental peacebuilding.  This MOOC provides an in-depth introduction to the multiple roles that natural resources and the environment play in the onset, escalation, resolution of, and recovery from violent conflicts. 


Conflicts over natural resources are among the greatest challenges in 21st century geopolitics and present serious threats to human security at both the national and local levels. Natural resources can nonetheless serve as a vehicle for peace if managed in a sustainable and equitable manner. Environmental peacebuilding has emerged as a new frontier in interdisciplinary studies and offers a conceptual and operational framework for researchers and practitioners to understand and maximize the positive peacebuilding potential of natural resources across the conflict lifecycle while mitigating potential risks.


This MOOC will cover environmental causes of conflict, environmental impacts of conflict, and post-conflict recovery, with specific modules focusing on extractive resources, land, water, and climate change.  Advanced undergraduates and graduate students, as well as technical experts and field practitioners will be invited to participate in the MOOC to learn about the key concepts and practices of this growing field.


The MOOC will be divided into 9 modules offered over a 9-week period.  Each module will include lectures, in-depth case studies, and interviews with notable experts, practitioners, and local communities and stakeholders. There will be three tracks available to students: a certificate track (paid), an auditing track (free), and a shortened executive learning track (free) for decision-makers. The Environmental Peacebuilding MOOC will be delivered in Fall of 2017.


The Steering Committee for the Environmental Peacebuilding MOOC includes (in reverse alphabetical order):

  • Erika Weinthal, Duke University
  • Richard Matthew, UC-Irvine
  • Marc Levy, Columbia University
  • David Jensen, United Nations Environment Programme
  • Carl Bruch, Environmental Law Institute


We are currently seeking individuals who would be interested in leading particular modules or developing lectures. If you have any suggestions or further questions, please contact us at