War and the Environment 2024

The course price is on a sliding scale from $25 to $100 or more if you can afford it.

There will be a limit of 150 tickets sold for this course. The cost of the course is the same for someone completing all, some, or none of the assignments. Registrations are not refundable.

Video About the Course

Focus of the Course

“Climate change is the defining issue of our time and now is the defining moment to do something about it.” (António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations).

As the world races to prevent climate collapse, the global community is searching for new ways to better address the unprecedented environmental challenges we face today. While debates on the causes and solutions to climate change continue, it is crucial to take a closer look at the elephant in the room: an elephant called war.

War is peace and development in reverse. It is at the core of many of the world’s most pressing challenges, including geopolitical conflicts, refugee crises, humanitarian emergencies, economic debt, and environmental collapse, playing a key role in impeding global collaboration on these issues and contributing significantly to the risk of new wars and nuclear apocalypse. Given this, it is surprising that a ‘missing piece’ in many pro-environment and peacebuilding endeavors today is the lack of spaces where people can meet and engage in reflection and dialogue about the role and impact of war.

By understanding the costs of war to our species, the planet, and the economy, those involved in both the climate change and peace movements can work together more effectively to advance their common goals of protecting the planet and ensuring a safer world for everyone. This online course is designed to enable this collaborative learning to take place and will provide insights into what we need to know and do in order to avoid two existential threats: war and environmental catastrophe.

Who is the course for?

The course is for anyone interested in issues related to peace, war, security, climate change, and related topics. Participants come from diverse backgrounds including education, activism, academia, civil society, government, the private sector, and the general public. Whether you are new to these topics or aspire to enhance your capacity, you’ll come away with resources, tools, and knowledge to advance your work.

What will you get out of this course?

By the end of the course, you can expect to:

  • Recognize more clearly that we cannot effectively deal with the climate change crisis without looking at the role and impacts of war and militarism.
  • Identify challenges and opportunities for the climate change and peace movements.
  • Deepen understanding of the complex interconnections between war, militarism, climate change, colonialism, imperialism, and related matters.
  • Learn new or develop knowledge, insights, and perspectives.
  • Delve into broader anti-war, peace, and security issues.
  • Learn from, dialogue with, and strategize for change with like-minded peers and experts.
  • Build meaningful connections and establish international links.
  • Become part of a vibrant and growing global community.
  • Access hundreds of curated resources, tools, and information to support your work.

Course Syllabus

The course has two main components: a six-week online learning program and three interactive live sessions interspersed throughout, exploring the following topics:

  • Module 1: Where wars happen and why.
  • Module 2: What wars do to the earth.
  • Module 3: What imperial militaries do to the earth back home.
  • Module 4: What nuclear weapons have done and could do to people and the planet.
  • Module 5: How this horror is hidden and maintained.
  • Module 6: What can be done.

This course is 100% online and interactions are not live or scheduled, so you can take part whenever works for you.
Weekly content includes a mix of text, images, video, and audio. Instructors and students utilize online discussion forums to go over each week’s content, as well as to provide feedback on optional assignment submissions.  The three 1.5 hour optional Zoom calls are designed to facilitate a more interactive and real-time learning experience:

  • Zoom Call #1: Introductions
    Tuesday, March 12, 2024 • 9:00 AM • Eastern Daylight Time (US & Canada) (GMT-04:00)
  • Zoom Call #2: Reflections on the course thus far
    Wednesday, March 27,  2024 • 11:00 AM • Eastern Daylight Time (US & Canada) (GMT-04:00)
  • Zoom Call #3: Course Reflections. What next?
    Thursday, April 11, 2024 • 1:00 PM • Eastern Daylight Time (US & Canada) (GMT-04:00)

Time commitment/expectations:
How much time you spend and how deeply you engage is up to you. At a minimum, you can expect to spend between 1-2 hours a week if you only review the weekly content (text and videos). We hope, however, you’ll want to engage in the online dialogue with peers and experts. This is where the real richness of the learning occurs, where we have the opportunity to explore new ideas, strategies, and visions for building a more peaceful world. Depending on your level of engagement with the online discussion you can expect to add another 1-3 hours a week. Finally, all participants are encouraged to complete optional assignments (required to earn a certificate). This is an opportunity to deepen and apply the ideas explored each week to practical possibilities. Expect another 2 hours a week if you pursue these options.

What students have to say about past versions of the course

Meet your hosts/facilitators

Module 1: Where wars happen and why, March 4-10, 2024
Facilitator: Dr. Phill Gittins (England)

Phill Gittins, PhD, is World BEYOND War’s Education Director. Phill has over 20 years of leadership, programming, and analysis experience in the areas of peace, education, psychology, youth, and community development. 

He has lived, worked, and travelled in over 55 countries across 6 continents; taught in schools, colleges, and universities around the world; and trained thousands on peace and social change-related issues. 

Other experience includes work in youth offending prisons; developing, launching, and overseeing a wide range of large and small-scale programmes and projects; as well as consultancy assignments for public, private, and non-profit organisations. 

Phill has received multiple awards for his work, including a Rotary Peace Fellowship, KAICIID Fellowship, and Kathryn Davis Fellow for Peace. He is also a Positive Peace Activator and Global Peace Index Ambassador for the Institute for Economics and Peace. 

He earned his PhD in International Conflict Analysis, MA in Education, and BA in Youth and Community Studies. He also holds postgraduate qualifications in Peace and Conflict Studies, Education and Training, and Teaching in Higher Education, and is a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist as well as a certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and project manager. Phill can be reached at phill@worldbeyondwar.org


Module 2: What wars do to the earth. March 11-17, 2024
Facilitator: Candy Diez (The Philippines)

Candy Cañezo Diez is a human rights and peace advocate with 20 years of experience in advocacy – campaigning, research, and

She led different social innovation programs and co-designed different strategic responses of civil society in Asia on human rights, democracy, and development-related issues. She co-designed human rights and peace training programs, learning activities using design and systems thinking and has supported various civil society groups through organizing design labs, among others.

Candy completed her Diploma in Social Innovation and Master of Arts in International Peace Studies at the University for Peace in Costa Rica and Master of Arts in Political Science major in Global Politics at the Ateneo de Manila University. She also served as a faculty consultant for Lyceum of the Philippines University.

As a Positive Peace Activator of Rotary International and as one of the Institute for Economics and Peace Ambassador, she provided learning programs to community-based youth leaders on Positive Peace, and its intersections with Environment and Climate Justice, and Gender. 

At present, she supports security, wellbeing & resilience of women and nonbinary human rights defenders with Urgent Action Fund for Women’s
Human Rights – Asia and Pacific. 

Module 3: What imperial militaries do to the earth back home. March 18-24, 2024
Facilitator: Dr. Ignatius Onyekwere (Nigeria)

Dr. Ignatius Emeka Onyekwere holds a Ph.D. in Peace Studies, a Master of Arts degree in Conflict Resolution, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Research Methods for Social Sciences, all from the University of Bradford, United Kingdom. With over 23 years of experience, he excels at leading cross-functional project teams and possesses adaptive managerial skills, specializing in peacebuilding, human security analysis, conflict early warning and response systems, community development, security sector reform/governance, safeguarding/ conflict sensitivity programming.

His extensive career includes notable positions with comparable UN organizations such as the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), ECOWAS, and USAID. Dr. Onyekwere served as a Senior Consultant at the Fund for Peace for the United States Institute for Peace (USIP)-funded Multilateralism Project 2023 and completed a consultancy assignment with the Africa Development Bank on the Rwanda Vulnerability and Resilience Assessment.

Currently, he is a Senior Consultant at Fragile and Conflict-Affected States (FCS)-Impact based in the Netherlands, managing and providing technical advisory on counterterrorism, peacebuilding, and conflict sensitivity programming. Previously, he held the role of Conflict Sensitivity Advisor at the Global Affairs Canada-Field Support Services Project in Nigeria.

Dr. Onyekwere’s expertise extends to early warning and response systems, as demonstrated by his role as the Early Warning Advisor at Fund for Peace for the USAID-West Africa Reacting to Early Warning and Response Data (USAID-REWARD) project support to ECOWAS. In this capacity, he successfully managed a US$20,499,613 five-year programming and operational management initiative, contributing to the broader Early Warning and Early Response Partnership (EWARP) of the United States Government.

Finally, he is a Rotarian and Member of Rotary Foundation’s Cadre of Technical Advisors, Dr. Onyekwere is also a Rotary Peace Fellow Alumnus, a Rotary-IEP- Positive Peace Activator, and an Institute of Economics & Peace Ambassador (IEP-Ambassador).


Module 4: What nuclear weapons have done and could do to people and the planet. March 25-31, 2024
Facilitator: Dr. Ivan Velasquez (Bolivia)

Dr. Ivan Velasquez Castellanos Ph.D. is an economist. He obtained his Ph.D. in economics at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, in Germany. He obtained his Postdoctorate in development economics at the Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin) in the framework of the Postgraduate Program in Sustainable Development and Social Inequalities in the Andean Region, Institute of Latin American Studies of the FU Berlin (trAndeS), and made a postdoctoral visit to the Pontifical Catholic University of Lima (PUCP).

He was a senior researcher at “The Bonn International Graduate School for Development Research” (BIGS-DR), Zentrum für Entwicklunsforschung (ZEF) in the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilheim Universität of Bonn.

He is a member of the Academic of Sciences of Santa Cruz and the Research Institute of the Bolivian Catholic University (UCB-IISEC). His research focus on development issues and has several articles on peace and conflict.

He is currently a professor of Development Theory and Latin American economic history at the Mayor of San Andres University (UMSA).


Module 5: How this horror is hidden and maintained. April 1-7, 2024
Facilitator: Dianarose Njui (Kenya)

Dianarose Njui is dedicated to addressing the cycle of poverty and inequality by championing  quality education, gender parity, climate awareness, good health, and well-being. 

She is a compassionate, driven professional and leader who finds joy in helping individuals construct stable, secure, and contented lives through the sharing of knowledge, mentorship, and expertise. Her commitment lies in effecting tangible and positive changes for children and youths residing in marginalized areas, including urban slums and arid and semiarid regions. 

With a Bachelor of Arts in Education and ongoing pursuit of a Masters in Educational Psychology, she also holds five supplementary certifications in gender equality, child safeguarding, and system leadership. With over 17 years of experience in the education and nonprofit sectors, she has served as a teacher in three international schools across Kenya and Uganda for 9 years and has dedicated over 7 years to supporting, leading, and managing nonprofit initiatives targeting low-income communities. 

Presently, she is engaged in mentoring 13 female youths aged between 18 and 33 years who are in incarceration. 

Among the highlights of her career are the moments where she empowered over 1,584 teachers and education professionals to develop their leadership skills through professional development, support services, and capacity building. This endeavor resulted in significant enhancements in the academic achievements, outcomes, and learning trajectories of over 139,000 learners/students in Kenya.


Module 6: What can be done. April 8-14, 2024
Facilitator: Kathy Kelly (USA)

Kathy Kelly has been President of the Board of World BEYOND War since March 2022, prior to which time she served as a member of the Advisory Board. She is based in the United States, but is often elsewhere. Kathy is WBW’s second Board President, taking over for Leah Bolger

Kathy’s efforts to end wars have led her to living in war zones and prisons over the past 35 years. In 2009 and 2010, Kathy was part of two Voices for Creative Nonviolence delegations which visited Pakistan to learn more about the consequences of U.S. drone attacks. 

From 2010 – 2019, the group organized dozens of delegations to visit Afghanistan, where they continued learning about casualties of U.S. drone attacks. Voices also helped organize protests at U.S. military bases operating weaponized drone attacks. She is now a co-coordinator of the Ban Killer Drones campaign.

Accessing the course

Prior to the start date, you will be sent instructions on how to access the course.

Earn a certificate. To earn a certificate, participants must complete optional weekly written assignments. Instructors will review the assignment and provide feedback. Submissions and feedback can be shared with everyone taking the course or kept private between a student and the instructor, at the student’s choice. Submissions must be completed by the conclusion of the course.

The cost of the course is the same for someone completing all, some, or none of the assignments.

Questions? Contact: Phill Gittins at education@worldbeyondwar.org

To register by check:

1. Email Phill Gittins and tell him.
2. Make the check out to World BEYOND War and send it to World BEYOND War 513 E Main St #1484 Charlottesville VA 22902 USA.

Registrations are not refundable.

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