The MAS ETH MPP focuses on developing the competency of technical mediation experts: those who work behind the scenes to help parties engaged in violent political conflict reach a peace agreement. The UN has defined mediation as “a process whereby a third party assists two or more parties, with their consent, to prevent, manage or resolve a conflict by helping them to develop mutually acceptable agreements” (UN Guidance for Effective Mediation, 2012). The term “mediator” is used to refer both to politically appointed, high-level envoys – so called “chief mediators” – as well as to mediation experts who work in the chief mediator’s team, or are called in to advise him or her on process design questions. This MAS programme focuses on developing the competency of the latter type of expert. The MAS should attract future mediation experts working in the following four target groups:
- Formal mediation: Mediators who work as part of formal track one mediation teams led by a chief mediator in an ongoing peace process;
- Mediation in conflict contexts: Mediators who work in conflict contexts where there is no formal track one mediator, but where there are still numerous international organisations (IOs), states and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who are working to prepare parties for mediation in peace processes;
- Mediation support: Mediators who work in mediation support units based at foreign ministries, the UN, regional organisations and NGOs.
- Research-practitioners: Mediation research-practitioners who want to deepen the research-practitioner overlap, seeking an academic career in peace and conflict studies, but with a close research-practitioner link to enrich their future career path.