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Meet the people

Conflict Resolution and Governance

Academic staff

The Master Conflict Resolution and Governance is organised by the Graduate School of Social Sciences of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam.

The academic staff of this programme is actively involved in research at UvA's Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR).

Dr. David Laws

Dr. David Laws is the Programme Director of the Master's programme in Conflict Resolution and Governance.

David Laws is a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. His research focuses on the relationship between negotiation and conflict resolution, public administration, and democratic governance

Before coming to Amsterdam, he worked at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Sloan School of Management at MIT and with the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

He has worked as a consultant for the New York Stock Exchange, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Air National Guard, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Dutch Ministry of VROM.

dhr. dr. D.W. (David) Laws

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Transnational Configurations, Conflict and Governance

Dr. Anja van Heelsum

Dr. Anja van Heelsum is originally a social psychologist and worked for many years on migration related issues, including: migrants aspirations, the refugee “crisis”, refugee reception, local policies on immigrants, ethnicity, stereotyping, political participation of immigrants, migrant organisations, and Islam.

mw. dr. A.J. (Anja) van Heelsum

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Challenges to Democratic Representation

Dr. Martijn Dekker

Dr. Martijn Dekker is a political anthropologist, specialised in human security from below: how people confronted with armed conflict try to improve their own security. His research interests include self-organised security initiatives in war situations, humanitarian interventions, the (re-)emergence of social boundaries in times of conflict, 'securitisation', and the dynamics between community based forms of security and the (official) state security apparatus.

dhr. dr. M. (Martijn) Dekker

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Pol: Docenten Politicologie

Dr. Polly Pallister-Wilkins

Dr. Polly Pallister-Wilkins specialises in the intersection of humanitarian intervention and border control and am currently researching what she calls 'humanitarian borderwork' in Europe that builds on previous research into humanitarianism, border policing and the political sociologies of walls, fences and security barriers. Her work therefore broadly sits in the borderland between International Relations, Critical Security Studies and Political Geography with a regional expertise focused on the Mediterranean, specifically Greece, and the Middle East.

mw. dr. P.E. (Polly) Pallister-Wilkins

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Transnational Configurations, Conflict and Governance

Dr. Floris Vermeulen

Dr. Floris Vermeulen is originally a historian who moved to Political Science. The topics of his research are: civic and political participation of immigrants, local integration policies, non-profit organisations, local policies targeting violent extremism and the governance of religious diversity.

dhr. dr. F.F. (Floris) Vermeulen

Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen

Programmagroep: Challenges to Democratic Representation


Tobias de Graaf

This master gives you broadly applicable knowledge on conflict and ways to resolve conflict

With a mixed group of Dutch and international students from all over the world, you start out the year by broadly reviewing what conflict actually means, after which you get many chances to explore the subject in practical ways. For instance, there is a workshop in which you assess the dynamics of negotiation and mediation, you need to interview and write a profile about someone who works with conflict.

  • Read more from Tobias de Graaf

    In the end, that variety is what I liked about the master the most: civil war is seen as a conflict, whereas also a business negotiation is approached as such. Ultimately, the master gives you broadly applicable knowledge on conflict and ways to resolve conflict, while also providing you with a feel for the strategies actors employ. Furthermore, in the second semester you are encouraged to research a subject in your own field of interest. For example, I wrote my thesis on the activism of the Argentine government in the media realm and now I’m about to start an internship at the Dutch embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Study associations

To meet fellow students and take part in social and study-related activities, you can become a member of a study association, join events organised by MasCot or visit the UvA's Sports Centre or CREA.


GSSS MasCot is a student-based organisation that is actively engaged in internationalisation within the UvA. The organisation was founded in 2014 upon initiative from the BOS (Board of Studies) students of the UvA Graduate School of Social Sciences. MasCot operates independently for, and within the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Today, MasCot is more active than ever.

The GSSS aims for an international and diverse student population. Beyond offering Master students good education and future career prospects, international students at the GSSS need to feel welcome, and establish social networks to feel related here at the UvA. It is with this goal in mind, that MasCot bridges the gap between international and Dutch students, by organising social, educational and career events for all Master Students at the GSSS.

Each discipline within the Graduate School of Social Sciences has its own student association. These associations organise social and study related events and often play an important role in department and faculty committees.

Anthropology - Kwakiutl

Geography and Planning - Sarphati

Political Science - Machiavelli

Sociology - Sociologisch EpiCentrum

Sport, culture and other student organisations

If you would like to go to a sports & fitness centre before or after class, you can visit the University Sports Centre (USC). Or would you rather take up a creative course in photography or theatre for example? Then visit CREA, the cultural organisation of the UvA.

For other options to meet fellow students, check the list with student organisations.



Other international student organisations at UvA