The promise of the curriculum's progressive approach to ethnopolitical warfare (EPW) training can already be attested to by two classes of postdoctoral students in the Summer Institute at the University of Pennsylvania Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict.
The 10-week program was initiated in 1997 when Martin E.P. Seligman, PhD, approached Solomon Asch Institute co-directors Clark McCauley, PhD and Paul Rozin, PhD, with the idea for a first fruit of his EPW Initiative. McCauley and Rozin, who had researched such issues as stereotyping and terrorism for years, had long-sought to encourage work in ethnopolitical conflict. In response, they developed a Summer Institute, which began in 1999 and is offered during alternating years.
The program assembles 15 fellows, including psychologists and other social scientists from around the world, for training in theory and concrete work in ethnopolitical conflict. Expert scholars visit the Summer Institute to teach everything from the origins of conflict and the psychology of identification and ethnicity up to the most applied kinds of work to help victims. At its conclusion, the program places six Summer Fellows for one year at an international network site affiliated with the Solomon Asch Center. The 1999 graduates are working with organizations in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Israel-Gaza and Sri Lanka.
The Summer Institute and the new EPW curriculum are "two branches from the same tree," McCauley says, and first steps in sparking interest and developing psychologists' expertise in ethnopolitical conflict--a knowledge that, he says, can help psychology "begin answering the question of how we can help solve one of the greatest problems of this century."