Program Overview

At the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, the Balkans represents a diverse mix of cultures, languages, philosophies and religions. Since the violent breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the Balkans remain a global epicenter for peace building, inter-religious dialogue, and the promotion and protection of human rights. Led by UO Instructor Will Johnson, students in this program will study the challenges and possibilities of human rights and post-conflict peace-building in one of the most dynamic, beautiful, and diverse regions in the world. The program includes coursework, guided research, cross-border excursions and time for independent travel.

Peace Studies is an emerging field of law and inter-disciplinary academic study. The countries of the former Yugoslavia—the Balkans--have been at the forefront of international peace-building efforts since the end of the Cold War. Countries such as Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia continue to serve as models for other societies throughout the world that wish to design peaceful post-conflict transitions. Similarly, the peace building projects implemented in these countries since the 1990s helped initiate a global effort to develop culturally specific human rights laws, practices, and institutions. The promotion of human rights, from both an international and domestic perspective, provides the foundation for peace studies. Therefore, students wishing to pursue careers in human rights law or peace studies will need a strong foundation in both disciplines. This program provides an interdisciplinary perspective on these topics that includes an emphasis on law, politics, history, religion, and culture. The Balkans – Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia in particular – serve as a perfect setting for immersion into the challenges and possibilities of these important disciplines.

Academic Details

This 10-week program will provide students an exciting opportunity to study two overlapping but distinct disciplines in a region that has witnessed both the challenges and possibilities of human rights and peace building. The program is divided into two distinct parts: 5 weeks of coursework followed by 4 weeks of guided fieldwork; students will have the opportunity to pursue independent travel for one week in the break between the coursework and the fieldwork. The courses will be held primarily in Zagreb, Croatia, while the fieldwork will include travel to other parts of Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia.

During the first part of the program, students will take two core courses: Human Rights and Humanitarian Intervention, and Peace Studies in the Balkans. Each course will provide important historical, philosophical, and international perspectives on human rights and peace studies, including specific efforts undertaken in the Balkans (specifically Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo). The content will be particularly relevant for students majoring in International Studies, Peace Studies, European Studies, Political Science, International Development, Conflict Resolution, and pre-law. However, the program is open to interested students from all majors.

These courses will be supplemented with relevant cultural and content-based excursions, both of which will help truly immerse you in the complexities inherent to the peace building process.

After the coursework and one-week break, students will pursue 4 weeks of guided research and fieldwork in Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia. This fieldwork portion of the program involves substantial group travel to locations including (but not limited to) Sarajevo, Srebrenica, Belgrade, and Mostar. During this period students will engage broadly with the affected populations, visit and work alongside peace building and human rights organizations, and gain foundational fieldwork skills through the creation and execution of a guided research project.

Students who wish to enroll in the coursework but not the fieldwork have the option to end the program after the initial 5 weeks. For more details related to this modified program option, including the program budget, please contact the GEO advisor for this program.

Faculty and Staff

William Johnson, MA, JD is an Instructor in the International Studies Department and the Undergraduate Legal Studies Program at the University of Oregon. Professor Johnson’s teaching and research interests include human rights and human rights law, transitional justice and post-conflict peace building, corruption, and international development. Professor Johnson designed and led a study abroad program titled “Human Rights and Transitional Justice in Rosario” in Rosario, Argentina (2016 and 2017). Johnson has conducted research, presented papers and lectured on a wide range of topics in the U.S., El Salvador, Argentina, and Pakistan.

In addition to teaching and advising students, Johnson serves as the Director of Innovative Programming and the Policy Advisor in the University of Oregon Office of International Affairs (OIA).  In these positions, Johnson develops and manages programs to support the global engagement mission of the University of Oregon while providing a wide range of strategic advice and organizational support to OIA's leadership team.

Additional requirements

Demonstrated interest in one of the following fields: international studies, peace studies, human rights, European studies, religious studies, conflict resolution, or related field. This interest may be demonstrated in the application essay by reference to prior coursework, academic major or minor, personal travel experience, professional experience, or academic or professional goals.

Dates and Deadlines

TermYearPriority DeadlineFinal DeadlineArrival DateDeparture Date
Summer201802/15/201803/15/2018TBDTBD

Priority Discounts

If your program has a Priority Deadline, complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee. Please note, students participating in multiple summer programs are only eligible to receive the $100 credit once.

Note: this $100 discount does not apply to priority deadlines for SIT programs.

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.