The Swiss Center is a multidisciplinary study and research center that was established in 1999. The Center is located in the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Mount Scopus campus, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is open for students and researchers from diverse areas that share an interest in the Center's main areas of research. The Center is devoted to studying the sources and causes of domestic and external conflicts in general and in Israel in particular. It explores the methods, techniques and strategies that can help manage and resolve these conflicts from different disciplinary points of view, including social psychology, international relations and political science, communication and media studies, sociology, education and law.
The activities of the Swiss Center fall into four main categories:
- Multidisciplinary Masters and Doctoral Study Program: This program is intended for advanced students in the social sciences who want to study and acquire skills in conflict management and resolution in different areas. Students learn about the theories, methodologies, strategies and techniques for managing and resolving conflicts, and for solving problems between social, economic, ethnic and political groups, as well as states.
- Mediation and Negotiation Training Program: This program trains mediators for work in the Israeli mediation system. Such mediators, in tandem with the relevant authorities, can help relieve the burden of an overloaded court system. Students who have backgrounds in psychology, sociology, social work, international relations, education, law, and communication concentrate on gaining skills within the program, supplemented by an internship in community, municipal, and government offices. The Center also encourages the development of special programs for intervention in the education system, especially high schools.
- Research: students and faculty at the Center research the local, regional, and international dimensions of conflict management and resolution in theory and practice. Papers produced by the Center are printed and disseminated to various journals and publications.
- International Exchange: The Center aims at a cross-fertilization of ideas between scholars and practitioners analyzing, managing, and resolving conflict. Seminars, workshops, and conferences bring colleagues together for productive exchanges.
Only twenty of the many applicants for the Swiss Center Masters program in Conflict Research, Management and Resolution are accepted, based on their grade average and field of study. Most of the Center's students come from the Hebrew University with others from Tel Aviv University, Haifa University, Ben-Gurion University, Bar Ilan University, and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. However, some of our students come from universities abroad, including: Yale, Brandeis, George Washington University, McGill, SOAS, Northwestern, The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Maryland. The Swiss Center students also come from a wide variety of disciplines, including International Relations, Political Science, English Literature, Psychology, Communication and Journalism, Law, General Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Islamic Studies, History and Linguistics.
Program graduates hold positions, in part senior and very senior ones, in the following sectors: universities and colleges; the Ministry for Foreign Affairs; the Prime Minister's Office; non-governmental organizations; professional mediation; peace education and peace-building; conflict transformation; media (journalists).