Graduate Certificate in Atrocity Prevention

One of the first programs of its kind in the world, the Graduate Certificate in Atrocity Prevention gives graduate students and practitioners rigorous and practical skills in preventing atrocities at the local, national, and global levels. These practical skills are supported by a strong academic orientation. The field of atrocity prevention is a new and growing area, and reflects growing international and state resolve to stop atrocity situations before they occur.

The focus of the Graduate Certificate is on the critical importance of strengthening both strategic assessment and prevention as well as developing the capacity of governments, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and civil society organizations to better respond to and avert potential mass atrocity situations. These include the capacity to understand the causes of atrocities and analyse emerging situations; the capacity to do the same for specifically gender based atrocity crimes: the capacity to understand the political and normative context in which atrocities occur and responses are framed; and the capacity to understand response techniques and resources and marshal appropriate responses. Throughout the program, students will be challenged to study and reflect on current issues and threats facing both in the region and globally.

The Certificate is taught by the UQ School of Political Science and International Studies and in particular the staff of the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (APR2P). The APR2P is one of the leading research centres globally on issues related to the responsibility to protect doctrine and the prevention of mass atrocities. The School offers the top-ranked international relations program in Australia (TRIP Survey 2015).


The Graduate Certificate includes four required courses. These will all be offered in intensive mode during the winter (June-July) break, beginning in 2017.

•          POLS 7524 Preventing Sexual and Gender Based Violence

This course examines the global politics of, and practical and ethical challenges to, preventing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) that constitute acts of genocide and mass atrocities. The course will analyse the underlying and immediate causes for the high prevalence of SGBV in mass atrocity situations, and equip students to assess corresponding structural and direct approaches to prevention. Through in-depth historical and contemporary case studies, students will critically evaluate: (1) the evolving politics of preventing sexual and gender-based atrocities; (2) the range of government, humanitarian, health and social service actors involved at the local, national and international levels in prevention efforts; (3) the strategies these various actors adopt; and (4) dilemmas and tensions these actors face in coordinating and delivering effective preventive action.

•          POLS 7530 Introduction to the Responsibility to Protect

This course examines the evolution of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) norm in global politics before and after its adoption in 2005 at the World Summit of Leaders in the United Nations. It will focus on its conceptual and theoretical development since the publication of the R2P report by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in 2001, the challenges it presents to traditional conception of state sovereignty, and the issues and problems that emerged in its implementation or application in responding to four mass atrocity crimes - genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity - in various parts of the world (e.g., Africa, Asia Pacific). It will also cover topics related to R2P and state violence, gender and sexual violence, humanitarian crisis, and policy-relevant mechanisms and approaches to mass atrocity crime prevention

•          POLS 7531 Early Warning and Atrocity Prevention

This course will consider different ways of understanding, identifying and interpreting the underlying causes of genocide and mass atrocities. Students learn about debates about different types of atrocity risks and different ways of assessing and measuring them, before examining alternative approaches to early warning – including quantitative and qualitative assessments.

•          POLS 7532 Practices of Atrocity Prevention

This course takes a practical look at atrocities prevention, examining the various ways in which prevention is practiced in the field by international organizations, states, civil society organizations and individuals. It examines some of the core dilemmas of preventive action as well as the challenge of assessing the effectiveness of different types of preventions, focusing on preventive diplomacy, field operations, humanitarian action, civil society action, economic inducements and other means of prevention.

Students can take the Certificate as a standalone program completed on either a full time or part time basis. Alternatively, students who complete courses in the program can also have the credit from the program count towards a Master in Peace and Conflict Studies, which is also offered by the UQ School of Political Science and International Studies.

The People

Alex Bellamy is Director of the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at The University of Queensland, Australia. He is also Non-Resident Senior Adviser at the International Peace Institute, New York and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. In 2008-9 he served as co-chair of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific Study Group on the Responsibility to Protect and he currently serves as Secretary of the High Level Advisory Panel on the Responsibility to Protect in Southeast Asia, chaired by Dr. Surin Pitsuwan. Dr Bellamy is co-editor of the Global Responsibility to Protect journal. His recent books include Responsibility to Protect: A Defence (Oxford, 2014), Providing Peacekeepers (with Paul D. Williams) (Oxford, 2013) and Massacres and Morality (Oxford, 2012).

Dr Noel M. Morada is former Professor of Political Science at the University of the Philippines Diliman and was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC. In 2005, he was commissioned by the Canadian Embassy in Manila to undertake research on responses to R2P in Southeast Asia from which a R2P Roadmap in the region was published and has served as a guide to the work of the Centre. He has developed a template for R2P plan of action in directing the Philippines programme of the Centre and has conducted lectures and seminars on R2P for government officials, civil society groups, and academia in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. He is an advocate of a bottom-up approach in building awareness and constituency around R2P in the region. Apart from his research and advocacy on R2P, he is also involved in regional security research and dialogue specifically dealing with terrorism, maritime security, and non-traditional security issues in Southeast Asia. He has also done research and publication on ASEAN external relations, the ASEAN Regional Forum and cooperative security in the Asia Pacific, as well as human security and human development in the region.

Dr. Phil Orchard is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland, and the Research Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. His research focuses on international efforts to provide legal and institutional protections to forced migrants and war-affected civilians. He is the author of A Right to Flee: Refugees, States, and the Construction of International Cooperation (Cambridge University Press, 2014), which won the 2016 International Studies Association Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Studies Section Distinguished Book Award, and the forthcoming book Protecting the Internally Displaced: Rhetoric and Reality (Routledge, 2017). He is also the co-editor, with Alexander Betts, of Implementation and World Politics: How International Norms Change Practice (Oxford University Press, 2014). His teaching has won awards and citations at the faculty, university, and national levels.

Dr. Sarah Teitt is Deputy Director and Researcher at the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect in the School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland. In this role, Sarah is responsible for advancing research and building partnerships aimed at the prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities in the Asia Pacific region. Sarah was a founding member of the Centre’s management team in 2008, and from 2009-mid 2012 served as the Centre’s Outreach Director. She has nearly a decade of experience in delivering training and education programs on mass atrocities prevention for government, civil society and academic institutions in the Asia Pacific region, and has designed and facilitated workshops and seminars in Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Mongolia, Japan and China. Sarah has two core research interests. The first focuses on Chinese foreign policy and mass atrocities prevention, and the second on the prevention of widespread and systematic sexual and gender based violence. Sarah spearheads the Centre’s research and engagement in Northeast Asia, and is a researcher in the Centre’s Prevention of Sexual Violence Unit (PSVU). She serves as an academic advisor to the Research Centre of the United Nations and International Organizations at Beijing Foreign Studies University, and is a member of the Australia/New Zealand Women, Peace and Security Academic Collective (WPSAC).