Distinctiveness

Institutional Distinctiveness

The North East Institute of Social Sciences and Research (NEISSR) Nagaland proudly holds the distinctiveness of being the sole Master of Social Work Institute that offers a specialization in Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies within the social work curriculum in India. It stands out with its unwavering focus on Peace Studies and is housed within the PEACE CENTRE campus, which also encompasses PEACE CHANNEL and NEISSR.

The incorporation of Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies into the curriculum is a direct response to the pressing needs of the state and, more broadly, the conflict-prone North East region grappling with various conflicts since gaining independence. The specialization aims to equip students with a deep and professional understanding of conflicts while providing them with the skills necessary to transform conflicts in a positive direction.

Peace studies at NEISSR is not confined to theoretical knowledge but is designed to impart practical skills rooted in real-life conflict intervention experiences. Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies and the vision of a professional social work institution with a strong emphasis on peace building align seamlessly with Peace Channel's nearly decade-long experience in cultivating a culture of peace in a society marked by a culture of violence, influenced by the armed Naga movement.

The foundation for peace building as an academic discipline was laid with the establishment of Peace Channel in 2006 thereby intertwined closely with Peace Channel. Currently, Peace Channel serves as NEISSR's outreach arm, providing students trained in peace building with the opportunity to gain field experience by volunteering as interns. Peace Channel works closely with school-going youth and children across the state to integrate peace education into the school curriculum. Building upon this strong foundation, NEISSR was established as an academic institution with the mission of imparting knowledge, methods, tools, and techniques to individuals and communities, empowering them to engage in conflict transformation effectively.

Peace building as part of Social Work programme

NEISSR is one of the few institutions in the country integrating youth leadership development in peace building as part of social work programme to address structural and cultural issues that support social and political violence. Another area of its unique identity is in its efforts to design and organize the students’ community to respond to real life situation, application of classroom teaching into practice in real life situation within and outside the campus based on the institute’s core values of Peace, Justice and Integrity through engaging various stakeholders. Peace building and the concept related to it are also imparted as a compulsory subject in both MSW and BSW courses.

              Promotion of Inter-faith and Ecumenical Collaborations through NEISSR-Peace Channel Partnership            

NEISSR promotes interfaith culture in the fast-growing commercial town of Dimapur where people of faith, religious traditions, cultures and ethnic identity come together to negotiate their own living space with unique identities, in collaboration with Peace Channel. This programme has mobilized inter-faith group at inter-community levels and Peoples Forum for Peace (PFP) in strategic communally sensitive locations. These forums effectively manage and respond to any communal tensions and violence on time and educate people for mutual appreciations, cooperation and coexistence. Peace channel provides immediate opportunities for present and out-going students of NEISSR to develop their professional competencies, launching their future professional careers. Peace Channel with its many projects brings in huge experiences from the ground. Besides, there are other program for inter-community harmony which is another area of Peace Channel-NEISSR partnership. Women group, youth and students are also continuously trained in peace building and peer mediation. Peace Channel, as the outreach wing of NEISSR, has an MOU with various educational institutions.

Peace Lab

In order to enhance and develop the skills and knowledge of the students in peacebuilding and related areas, NEISSR has developed a unique concept in the form of “Peace Lab” and peace museum. Both have been revamped by NEISSR for last five years with its expertise. It is a space set aside for the acquirement and practice of knowledge and skills associated with peace and conflict transformation. In this lab, Peace Channel’s methods and unique practices are also displayed and provisions made available for any interested students to learn. The lab has facilities for peace game, peer mediation, dialogues, and also meditation. The lab also provides glimpses in to the journey of Peace Channel and NEISSR as a center of conflict studies and peace research, along with the history of Nobel Peace Laureates and local peace builders.

Linking the values and understanding of Peace to various activities

Apart from the specialization in Peace and Conflict Transformation studies, Peace and Development Studies (BSW 303) is offered in the third semester as a compulsory paper in the BSW programme, and Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies (SW 201) is offered as a compulsory paper in the MSW programme. Students are also divided into different forums, based on the specialization offered, of which Peace Forum is one among them. Peace Forum organizes an annual programme called ‘Peace Knit’ where peace activists and well-known personalities in the field of peace building are invited for panel discussions, talks and seminars. NEISSR in partnership with Peace Channel also acknowledge individuals who have contributed towards peace building and conflict transformation in Nagaland and North East India region by conferring the “PEACE AWARD” annually.

The two best practices identified, i.e. NEISSR’s COPO and Peace Lab models are also aligned to the ideal of ‘creating peaceful environment for effective learning’. The COPO helps in capacitating the students with soft skills such as knowledge, critical thinking, public speaking and assertiveness, and Peace Lab employs theories and skills to solve conflicts and strives to build peaceful environment in the academic institution. Thus, the both best practices strive to address the purpose of education namely, the academic and social mission.