Photo
Office Location
124 D McCone

Email Address
pushpa.iyer@miis.edu

Phone Number
831.647.7104

Language(s)
हिन्दी

Pushpa Iyer

Associate Professor, GSIPM-MAIPS/Center for Conflict Studies


Before coming to the United States for her Ph.D. studies, Pushpa Iyer worked to secure the rights of the poor and the marginalised in Gujarat state, India through holistic development programmes. Her commitment to bringing peace between the divided Hindu and Muslim communities in Gujarat laid the foundation for her subsequent work and academic interest in conflict resolution and peace building. She has consulted for different NGOs and institutions including the World Bank.  Such work has taken her to India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Before joining our faculty, she taught different courses in conflict resolution as adjunct faculty at George Mason University.

Expertise

Identity conflicts, civil wars, peace processes, non-state armed actors, South Asia

Education

Ph.D (Conflict Analysis and Resolution), George Mason University, US MBA (International Management), University of East London, UK Post-Graduate Diplomas in Human Resources Management, Organizational Behaviour, Sacred Heart University, Luxembourg and Academy of Human Resources Development, India Bachelor of Law (Labour Laws), Gujarat University, India Bachelor of Commerce, Gujarat University, India

Publications

Co-authored chapters: “The Nature, Structure and Variety of Peace Zones” and “The Collapse of Peace Zones in Aceh” in Zones of Peace edited by Landon Hancock and Christopher Mitchell. Kumarian Press. Feb 2007.

“Peace Zones in Mindanao”. Case – study for STEPS project of Collaborative for Development Action Inc.  2004.

“Martyrdom in Context: Implications for Conflict Resolution”. In Koinonia Journal, Vol.XVI Princeton Theological Seminary Graduate Forum, 2004.

“Zones of Peace: A Framework for Analysis”. With Dr. Landon Hancock. In Conflict Trends, ACCORD, South Africa, Vol. 1 March 2004.

“Was it a Genocide in Gujarat?” – Religion and Peacemaking bulletin - The United States Institute for Peace. April 2002.

Courses

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

ICCO 9511 - Intro to Conflict Resolution      

This course is an introduction to the field of conflict resolution and is intended to provide a solid foundation for further inquiry and application. The course is deliberately very broad and it so designed to facilitate students to pick and choose specific topics they would like to study in-depth in future. This course is both theory and skills based. Theories useful for understanding the root causes, dynamics and the resolution of the conflict (primarily inter-state conflict) will be examined. In the latter half of the course, students will focus on developing skills (primarily negotiation, mediation and facilitation) as third party interveners. Students will be encouraged to find their style of intervention, analyze complex conflict situations, develop intervention strategies and suggest methods and processes for implementing agreements reached.

Fall 2013 - MIIS, Fall 2014 - MIIS

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ICCO 9545 - Culture and Conflict      

Spring 2013 - MIIS

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ICCO 9578 - Women & War      

War is increasingly recognized as a gendered phenomenon. In today’s global context the need to study the impact of war on women as separate from men is very pertinent. This is because the changing nature of warfare has created many new roles and therefore new experiences for women in war. This course primarily focuses on the experiences of women, as combatants, victims and peacebuilders, in situations of violent conflict. Through an inter-disciplinary approach, students will learn to analyse the intersections between women as an identity group, culture, security, nationality and peace in periods before, during and after war. The use of case-studies in this course will provide a context specific analysis of the various dynamics of gendered warfare. Further, the political, social, cultural and legal measures initiated to mitigate the negative impacts of war on women and to promote a more prominent role for women as decision-makers will be examined.

Fall 2013 - MIIS

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IPOL 8588 - Water and Conflict      

Human beings cannot survive without water. Water is a basic need. Scarcity or depletion of water resources, as is the case on our planet today, means there is almost certainly a situation of ‘the haves vs. the have-nots’. Those who exercise their power to control resources use a variety of tools to ensure their access to water and often do so at the cost of depriving others of their basic need and human right. Conflict invariably follows. And while a natural conclusion is that these conflicts will invariably turn violent, the fact is that we have not really had water wars. Why?

In this course, students will explore a variety of social issues that are intertwined in conflicts over water. Through case studies, students will further their understanding of water conflicts and the reason behind how and why potential water wars are transformed through various dispute resolution and conflict management processes.

Spring 2012 - MIIS

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IPOL 8596 - Conflict,Biz& EthicalDecMaking      

Conflict interveners, NGOs, and other development agencies, usually work in areas of grey. Similarly, business managers encountering conflicts in a variety of contexts must make nuanced judgments. Identifying ‘right’ from ‘wrong’ and ‘good’ from ‘bad’ in practice presents huge dilemmas. Practitioners operating in conflicts, regardless of the sector they work in, are challenged especially as the impact of their actions can escalate conflicts within and outside the organization. Interveners in conflicts have to consider the impact of their actions on the parties in the conflict but also reassess their own agenda, values, morals and beliefs. Through a study of applied ethics, identifying situations that pose ethical dilemmas and evaluating actions in practice becomes the norm for practitioners. This course will encourage students to develop a greater understanding of their skills and agendas in conflict situations, and will provide tools for future conflict interveners and business managers to take ‘ethical’ decisions in challenging situations.

Fall 2010 - MIIS

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IPOL 8612 - Sem:Chlng Peacebld: Nepal      

Spring 2012 - MIIS

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IPOL 8671 - Sem:ParadigmShft:Sec/Dev/HRgts      

In his seminal book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn introduced the concept of looking at the history of science through the psychological and sociological interactions of a community of people who exist in a ‘paradigm’. Extending his ideas from the physical to the social sciences, as many have done, this course will examine the paradigmatic shifts in security, development and human rights over the years. This course will emphasise on various aspects of the shifts in these three ideological concepts in practice. The goal of the course is to use Kuhn’s notions of paradigms and paradigm shifts to understand the need for change in our approach towards global issues and challenges.

Students will learn to question the nature and content of paradigm shifts in security, development and human rights through case studies.

Spring 2011 - MIIS, Spring 2012 - MIIS

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IPOL 8682 - Sem:NonStateArmedGroups&ConRes      

There is growing acceptance to the argument that alienation of non-state armed groups does not bring an end to violence. A question being increasingly asked by third party interveners, policy makers/ analysts and scholars is: ‘how to effectively engage with such groups?’ ‘Understanding’ groups is the first step when attempting to intervene in the conflict. In order to do, one must examine the leadership of the group. This is central to any political analysis. The leader and the nature of leadership creates and to a large extent influences every other aspect of the group such as ideology, goals, leadership, structure, culture and commitment. Every student will examine the nature of leadership in one non-state armed group and comment on the implications for those choosing to engage with that particular group. Specifically, the students will research on: (1) Profile and Personality of the Leader/s; Origins of Leadership (2) Type of Leadership (3) Source of Power (4) Maintaining Authority and Control/Ensuring Follower Compliance and Commitment (5) Dealing with threats, change and Crisis Management (6) Negotiating with Leadership/Group - Implications for Practitioners, Policy Makers and Scholars.

Fall 2010 - MIIS, Fall 2011 - MIIS, Fall 2012 - MIIS

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IPSG 8511 / IPOL 8511 - Intro to Conflict Resolution      

This course is an introduction to the field of conflict resolution and is intended to provide a solid foundation for further inquiry and application. The course is deliberately very broad and it so designed to facilitate students to pick and choose specific topics they would like to study in-depth in future. This course is both theory and skills based. Theories useful for understanding the root causes, dynamics and the resolution of the conflict (primarily inter-state conflict) will be examined. In the latter half of the course, students will focus on developing skills (primarily negotiation, mediation and facilitation) as third party interveners. Students will be encouraged to find their style of intervention, analyze complex conflict situations, develop intervention strategies and suggest methods and processes for implementing agreements reached.

Fall 2010 - MIIS, Fall 2011 - MIIS, Fall 2012 - MIIS, Fall 2013 - MIIS, Fall 2014 - MIIS

More Information »

IPSG 8545 / IPOL 8545 - Culture and Conflict      

Cultures are dynamic and evolving, yet at the same time deeply rooted in the past. More than language, food, clothing and customs, culture also encompasses race, ethnicity, gender and nationality shared between different groups within a particular culture. Consequently, culture and conflict are inextricably linked. We use our cultural lenses to understand, define and analyse the conflicts around us. In the field, culture is often described as the vehicle on which conflict rides rather than the source of conflict. This course will help students to become more aware of the cultural lenses one wears in conflict. Students will learn to perform in depth examinations of aspects of culture through interactions and information gathering from individuals and groups who come from cultures dissimilar to their own.

Spring 2011 - MIIS, Spring 2013 - MIIS

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IPSG 8578 / IPOL 8578 - Women & War      

War is increasingly recognized as a gendered phenomenon. In today’s global context the need to study the impact of war on women as separate from men is very pertinent. This is because the changing nature of warfare has created many new roles and therefore new experiences for women in war. This course primarily focuses on the experiences of women, as combatants, victims and peacebuilders, in situations of violent conflict. Through an inter-disciplinary approach, students will learn to analyse the intersections between women as an identity group, culture, security, nationality and peace in periods before, during and after war. The use of case-studies in this course will provide a context specific analysis of the various dynamics of gendered warfare. Further, the political, social, cultural and legal measures initiated to mitigate the negative impacts of war on women and to promote a more prominent role for women as decision-makers will be examined.

Fall 2011 - MIIS, Fall 2012 - MIIS, Fall 2013 - MIIS

More Information »

IPSG 8588 - Water and Conflict      

Human beings cannot survive without water. Water is a basic need. Scarcity or depletion of water resources, as is the case on our planet today, means there is almost certainly a situation of ‘the haves vs. the have-nots’. Those who exercise their power to control resources use a variety of tools to ensure their access to water and often do so at the cost of depriving others of their basic need and human right. Conflict invariably follows. And while a natural conclusion is that these conflicts will invariably turn violent, the fact is that we have not really had water wars. Why?

In this course, students will explore a variety of social issues that are intertwined in conflicts over water. Through case studies, students will further their understanding of water conflicts and the reason behind how and why potential water wars are transformed through various dispute resolution and conflict management processes.

Fall 2014 - MIIS

More Information »

IPSG 8610 - Fieldwork and Reporting      

Today, students of almost every social science discipline (conflict studies, development, security studies, and related disciplines), engage in research that involves gathering information from primary sources. Primary data is what transforms research from an abstract state to a more ‘real’ relevant body of knowledge. For the research-cum-practice student seeking to get their hands dirty - to experience first hand the realities that inform theories and concepts - the need to prepare for fieldwork has become a must. How does one conduct oneself when on the ground? How does one represent themselves to people who in effect are sources of data? How does one handle the information gathered and present it to their broader academic and professional community? What role does one’s personality, culture, ethics, values play in data gathering and reporting? What does one do in highly emotional and sensitive contexts? How does one observe, analyze and understand the physical, society and cultural aspects of the context in which data is being collected? And most importantly, how does one maneuver the context to achieve the goals of fieldwork without compromising on core pre-determined personal ethics and values.

This course will engage students in a discussion on responsible data gathering. It will highlight the importance of a self-reflective approach in fieldwork where one is prepared to test hypothesis, challenge oneself in the face of new information including being proved wrong. It will also seek to explore how one reconciles personal values, ethics and emotions with fieldwork goals. Students will work through scenarios and have an opportunity to experiment in data gathering and reporting in simulated settings.

This course may be a pre-requisite for J-Term immersive learning courses led by this instructor.

Fall 2014 - MIIS

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IPSG 8632 - Sem: Integrated HSD      

Students ideally only take this course in their fourth semester of the Human Security and Development Track. Students spending their fourth semester doing IPSS, DPMI or the equivalent, can take this course in their third semester.
In this course students will map, review and connect the major theories they have studied. They will explore how the theories emerge and develop from the intersection of research and practice. At the same time, they will learn to understand the mutually reinforcing relationships between theory, research and practice. Through mapping and review of their own research and practice experiences, students will then develop their own theories of practice. By the end of the course, they will be able to present a portfolio of their informed approach to some of the global challenges, which they hope to tackle as they step into the ‘real’ world.

Spring 2013 - MIIS

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IPSG 8679 / IPOL 8679 - Sem:Cnflct&Peacebldg Dvded Soc      

his seminar is intended to be a follow-up to the ‘Introduction to Conflict Resolution course’. The course will look in-depth into characteristics of deep-rooted conflict; examine the theories and frameworks that underlie different peace-building strategies and through a study of four cases (Tentatively Plan: South Africa, Cyprus, Sri Lanka, Guatemala) understand the complexity and challenges involved in implementing peace-building strategies. For the seminar paper, students will research and present an analysis of the opportunities and challenges to peace building in the context of one conflict torn society (a case selected by the student for study).

Spring 2011 - MIIS, Spring 2012 - MIIS, Spring 2013 - MIIS

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