Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the National Peacebuilding Peacelearning Certificate Program.
Who is the NCP for?
In short: everyone. Whether you are a seasoned peace professional or new to the fields of peacebuilding and peace education, the NCP has something to offer you. Our past students have included business leaders, community organizers, formal educators, health professionals, government workers, aid and development workers, faith leaders, and activists (just to name a few!).
NCP is suited for you if you are interested in working for peace, healthy communities, environmental sustainability, economic justice, democracy, effective citizenry, interfaith understanding, inner peace, multicultural and international understanding, non-violence and human rights.
Can I earn college credits?
Some of our university partners cross-list the courses they offer through the NCP for academic credit. Such possibilities will be indicated in course listings. Please note that to earn academic credit you will need to negotiate directly with our university partners. Significantly higher tuition rates can also be expected.
College students might also seek to pursue independent study credits with their respective institutions. The NPA is pleased to provide a letter of equivalency and completion.
What can you expect to get out of it?
Just about whatever you are looking for. Whether you want a quick refresher or an introduction to a new peacebuilding approach or methodology, you can find it here. The NCP also seeks to strike a balance between theory and practice.
For those who are new to peacebuilding, the NCP provides an affordable alternative to university degree programs. Our Certificate, although relatively new, should be well valued by potential employers in the field due to our partnerships with leading peacebuilding organizations and universities. It is also possible to matriculate into a degree program through some of our partners.
It is also possible to matriculate into a degree program through some of our partners.
What are the formats of the courses?
Most courses are designed as friendly weekend intensives or as online distance learning opportunities that are accessible for those balancing busy jobs and families. To earn a certificate you must also participate in an NPA approved weeklong intensive.
Many of our courses are experiential. Expect to engage in practice that is informed by theory.
What do I have to do to earn a Certificate?
Please see the Certificate Requirements pages for full details.
Where are the courses held?
In person courses are offered with our partner organizations. Our partners are scattered across the country and we are currently establishing hubs in New York City, Boulder, CO, the San Francisco Bay Area, Florida, and Washington, DC. In the coming years we intend to extend our reach to all 50 states and then some.
How much do the courses cost?
NCP courses are intended to be affordable. NPA and its partners understand that in these difficult economic times few amongst us have spare financial resources. We believe that learning for peace should be part of our everyday culture, and that paying for such learning opportunities shouldn’t force us to make sacrifices that compromise our quality of life, indebt us to creditors, and further perpetuate our fragile economic system.
Most NCP weekend courses are offered on a sliding scale of $100-500 dependent upon income. Fees for online courses vary. Some of our partners charge previously established fees that we have little or no control over. Some discounts and scholarships are available.
Are discounts available?
The NPA offers group discounts. Please inquire for more information.
The NPA also offers a 15% discount on most courses to Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) members.
Some scholarships are also available. Please see below.
Does NPA offer scholarships?
We are occasionally able to provide scholarship in the form of fee waivers and/or reductions. Scholarship is determined on a course-by-course basis, and regrettably for some courses we are unable to offer any scholarship. Whether or not scholarship is available for a particular course should be indicated on the course listings page.
You must submit a scholarship request for each course you are requesting scholarship for. Typically we will not know if scholarship is available until a few weeks before each course begins. We will notify you at such time if we are able to offer any form of scholarship.
Who teaches and leads the courses and workshops of the NCP?
The courses of the National Certificate Program are facilitated by experienced peacebuilders, academics, community organizers, and educators and are hosted and offered by a national consortium of partnering academic, non-governmental and community-based organizations. These organizations and individuals have years of experience and wisdom to share and are actively working for change around the world.
We call the educators or facilitators of National Certificate Program courses “edulearners.” Edulearners are “practitioner/theorist(s) whose primary activity is learning while trying to help other people learn” (Reardon, 1988). The National Certificate Program edulearners are constantly learning, seeking to improve their own practice and to develop new knowledge. This helps to assure that our program learns and grows from the unique needs and challenges that each participant brings.
You can find a full listing of partner organizations here. Instructor bios can be found here.
What peacebuilding approaches or philosophies does the NCP emphasize?
At the National Peace Academy we believe there are many viable approaches to teaching peace and peacebuilding and to pursuing personal and social change. Within the National Certificate Program, participants have options to choose from amongst many diverse perspectives and approaches in finding a learning path that supports their individual and community needs and personal learning goals. This diversity is made possible through extensive partnering with organizations of different backgrounds and experiences. The National Certificate Program course offerings recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to peacebuilding.
As you will see from the certificate requirements, there is plenty of room in the National Certificate Program to choose your own unique path. If the National Certificate Program does not have a course that meets your learning needs, we invite you to request that one be developed.
How do I keep track of my progress towards earning the Certificate?
The NPA is hoping to develop the technology that will allow you to easily track your progress through our online classroom. We are also developing a “course tracking worksheet” that will be available soon for download.
The NPA also keeps detailed records of all the courses you complete. You may request a progress report by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
Important information for international students
As a potential international student, we hope the following information is useful in aiding your decision-making as to whether a National Peace Academy course is right for you. Before completing an application or registering to participate in one of our programs, please read the following information very carefully and be sure you understand the process and can meet the requirements.
The NPA is not a traditional academic institution with two-year or four-year degree-granting programs or semester-long courses. Our National Certificate Program is generally comprised of short courses that are typically one-weekend in length – this short duration renders our courses somewhat cost-ineffective for international students. As an alternative to our weekend courses we strongly encourage international students to investigate our online offerings, which do not require the added expenses of travel, lodging, etc.
To participate in one of our programs you must demonstrate to us:
- that you are able to cover all travel, food and lodging costs for the duration of the course;
- have proficiency in English in order to be able to fully participate;
- and are able to pay the course fees (or have applied for scholarship).
Only after the above have been sufficiently demonstrated will the NPA be able to prepare a letter to support you in obtaining a visa to travel to the United States (see below).
If the NPA can make financial assistance available it will only come in the form of tuition reductions or waivers. We can provide no assistance for travel, food, or lodging. Further, tuition reductions and waivers are only granted on a course-by-course basis, so a scholarship application must be completed separately for each short course or intensive you wish to attend.
Visas and International Travel
If you need a visa to travel to the United States to attend one of our courses, you must visit the website of the United States Consulate in your home country to find out the process and requirements for a visa application, which may differ from country to country.
Click here to access a database of all US consulates websites.
a. Most U.S. consulates require that you begin the process of filling out an online visa application form. That is where you must start the process.
b. After you have completed a visa application and have scheduled an interview appointment with the consulate, and after we have accepted your application to attend our program, only then can we provide you with a letter verifying that you are coming to the United States to attend one of our programs. Also, unless we have granted you a tuition reduction or waiver, we cannot say in a visa letter that we are supporting you financially in any way. The consular officials will need evidence from you of your ability to support yourself financially while in the United States.
Creative Ideas for Financial Support
We encourage you to consider some alternative pathways to raising money on your own to support your participation in NPA programs. We hope that the following list of ideas will help support your individual fundraising efforts.
- Find a sponsor. Invite a church or community organization to sponsor part or all of your participation in the NPA program, with the understanding that you will return to the community and give a presentation or lead a workshop on what you have learned.
- Host a fundraiser. These can be large or small events—anything from inviting a few friends over for dinner, to hosting a larger event with a silent auction and band! Remember, your participation in the NPA program can have a very positive impact on the community you are engaged in.
- Make a personal request. Ask your friends, family and colleagues to support your commitment to this important work. Your passion inspires others. Remember $20 from 20 friends will make a big difference!
- Create a team. We encourage individuals to attend courses as a TEAM—with members and leaders from community organizations and businesses. Diverse teams provide a greater opportunity for effective, sustainable application of the learning beyond course participation. Consider approaching a business or local community organization that may be interested in sending a member of their group and helping to sponsor your own participation.