Degree Name

MA in Conflict Transformation

First Advisor

John Ungerleider


In a world rife with conflict and violence, sports are one of the few transcultural activities that maintain a worldwide popularity and naturally bring people together as a team. Because of this inherent interest around the world the past decade has seen a significant escalation of grassroots sports for development and peace (SDP) programs and governmental funding to support them. These programs use sports as a way to empower young people and teach conflict management skills, while simultaneously engaging the community surrounding them. This paper will focus specifically on the following research question to address a challenge that has emerged in the field: How is success defined and measured by international sports and peace programs that empower youth?

First, this paper contextualizes the research question in the relevant fields of SDP, Conflict Transformation, Youth Development, and Monitoring and Evaluation. The benefits of SDP program will be aligned with Critical Youth Empowerment theory as well as conflict management skills valuable to youth. Finally, primary research will be presented including three unstructured interviews with Mercy Corps, The World Affairs Council of Oregon, and Partners of the Americas in order to compare and contrast how each international organization addresses the challenges of measuring success and impact. Conclusions of this research include the value of creative approaches and the need for specific goals and objectives. These conclusions and other information obtained will hopefully add to field literature and contribute various best practices and lessons learned that other organizations and practitioners can benefit from.


Civic and Community Engagement | Peace and Conflict Studies | Politics and Social Change | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sports Studies