Balkans: Environmental Peacebuilding & Sustainability: Peace Parks in the Balkans
This 7 credit field course (in Washington DC and the Balkans) affiliated with the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs will provide students with a unique, experiential learning opportunity in one of the last bio-diversity hotspots in Europe, a place where the legacy of the conflict of the 1990s is being overcome with entrepreneurship, ecotourism and environmental peacebuilding. Starting with three days in Washington DC, students will gain a foundational understanding of how environmental security thinking led to a focus on environmental peacebuilding.
Students will meet with some of our nation’s foremost scholars and policy analysts on environmental peacebuilding, sustainability and transboundary protected areas management including officials at the National Park Service Office of International Affairs, US Agency for International Development, Conservation International , the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and others. We will visit one of the Balkans Embassies and hear a presentation from the Ambassador about regional environmental cooperation and the value of international educational exchange.
- Community driven sustainable development
- Cross border environmental conservation
- Natural resource management
- Enjoy day hikes on parts of the award-winning "Peaks of the Balkans Trail," which showcases the border region's stunning natural beauty.
- Enjoy the phenomenal hospitality of the local people in all three countries through home stays and learn from the people who work in environmental peacebuilding every day.
- Climb cross border trails that were previously used by Roman soldiers and Kosovar refugees.
- Experience the unique "higher mountain culture" and its traditional organic farming and cuisine, music and dance, traditional clothing, centuries old architecture and rugged way of life.
Students will see firsthand how the environment is harnessed as a tool to stimulate cross border cooperation between communities and countries; and how entrepreneurship and ecotourism are providing an alternative model for sustainable development and real world livelihood creation. The field-based experiences are accompanied by faculty and guest lectures, the international policy environment in Washington, D.C. and with park officials, community leaders, and experts in Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro.
The study abroad program will be led by Geoff Dabelko. He joins Todd Walters, founder and executive director of International Peace Park Expeditions, who has led student experiential learning study abroad programs in the Balkans and Central America with a focus on transboundary conservation and peacebuilding.
Links to an article on the front page of the Travel section of the New York Times highlights part of the route we will follow, The Peaks of the Balkans Trail, which won the World Tourism and Travel Council’s Award for Top Sustainable Destination in 2013. National Geographic posted photos and a write-up of our 2011 Expedition on their website.
Summer 2019 : May 19 – June 10, 2019
This program will not run in Summer 2020. Tentatively running next in 2021.
Application Deadline February 15, 2019
Eligibility and selection process
This program is open to all OHIO undergraduate and graduate students from all majors in good judicial standing. The minimum GPA is 2.5 for undergraduates and 3.0 for graduate students.
This multi-dimensional study abroad program is designed for advanced undergraduates and graduate students interested in environmental studies, sustainability, geography, community development, natural resource management, ecotourism, European history, and peace and conflict studies.
Students who will be on probation at any point during the program for a conduct offense that took place less than a calendar year from the program start date may not study abroad. Click here to read the entire conduct policy.
This program accepts applications from non-Ohio University students.
Applicants must be matriculated OHIO students. Non-OHIO applicants must have successfully completed high school or its equivalent.
Students on this program will be housed in various accommodations throughout the program duration such as homestays (breakfast & dinner included), hotels (breakfast included), and cabins.
Courses and credits
Students will enroll in 7 credit hours during this program.
- ES 4900 Special Topics: Environment, Peacebuilding & Security (3 credits)
- ES 4910 Special Topics: Environmental Studies Leadership Experience (3 credits)
- ES 4930 Independent Study in Environmental Studies (1 credit)
- ES 5900 Special Topics: Environment, Peacebuilding & Security (3 credits)
- ES 6910 Environmental Studies Internship (3 credits)
- ES 6930 Independent Study in Environmental Studies (1 credit)
Non-resident surcharge waived for this program.
Additional Information on the Balkans
To learn more about this study abroad destination, please visit the CIA World Factbook.
Health and safety
Ohio University Office of Global Opportunities suggests you follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control for healthy travel to your destinations:
Please familiarize yourself with the recommendations and requirements on the websites above prior to applying to a program.
Refer to the Department of State site for information related to safety and security at these destinations.
Also refer to International SOS for information related to safety and security at this destination. To log in to the International SOS website, please use the OHIO membership IS: 11BCAS000010.
Requesting accessibility accommodations
If you plan to participate in an Ohio University-sponsored study abroad program and wish to request accommodation, you should contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services to schedule an appointment to complete an Global Opportunities Disability Accommodation Request Form. We recommend you do this as early as possible to allow sufficient time to determine what accommodations may be made for this program.
Entry and exit requirements
U.S. citizens are required to have a valid U.S. passport when traveling outside of the United States.
If you plan to study or travel abroad in the next year, apply for your passport now.
Some countries also require a visa to legally enter and reside in the country. Please read the entry and exit requirements for Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania.
US citizens do not need a visa to enter these countries for the length of this program. However, you may need to show sufficient funds to support yourself while in-country. Note that entry/exit requirements may vary if you plan to stay in the country longer than the program dates or travel to other countries during or after the program. Please familiarize yourself with these recommendations and requirements prior to applying to a program.
Information on visa can be found on the OGO's website.
Information for NON-US citizens can be found here.
For more information on this program contact:
Global Programs Coordinator | Office of Global Opportunities