Religion and Peacebuilding

Religion is an important component in many conflict zones and a powerful tool for preventing violence. USIP has been a pioneer in religion and peacemaking, seeking new ways to combat violent extremism across all beliefs.

A Different Route to Countering Violent Extremism: What Works?

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 09:30
Tue, 04/14/2015 - 11:30

From Paris to northeastern Nigeria to Burma, violent extremism has emerged as a critical threat to peace and stability. Military and police responses make headlines, but many governments, civil society organizations and individuals also are doing painstaking work to build resilience, support alternative narratives, reduce underlying divisions and ultimately counter the allure of militant groups. State Department Counselor on Counterterrorism and Preventing Violent Extremism, Eric Rosand, joins the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum on Tuesday, April 14, at the U.S. Institute of Peace for a discussion of the results of these efforts, and how to build on effective approaches.

Experts: 

The Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum (CPRF) provides a monthly platform in Washington for highlighting innovative and constructive methods of conflict resolution. Established in 1999, the forum’s goals are to (1) provide information from a wide variety of perspectives; (2) explore possible solutions to complex conflicts; and (3) provide a secure venue for stakeholders from various disciplines to engage in cross-sector and multi-track problem-solving.

Type of Event or Course: 

Religion and Gender in Extremist Violence: A Discussion with Human Rights Defenders

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 13:30
Thu, 02/12/2015 - 15:00

Former President Jimmy Carter calls discrimination and violence against women and girls one of the most serious and pervasive -- yet ignored -- violations of human rights. Escalating violent religious extremism fuels this pattern. On Thursday, Feb. 12, the U.S. Institute of Peace and The Carter Center were pleased to host this event, which addressed ways in which human rights defenders in Libya and Iraq are working to build peace with particular attention to the role of religion and gender. 

carter center logoReligion often is used to justify violence and the unequal status of women. More than ever, these problems are interrelated, and efforts that address them in isolation fail to produce comprehensive, long-term strategies.

Manal Omar, Welcoming Remarks
Acting Vice President, Center for Middle East and Africa, USIP

Karin Ryan, Remarks
Senior Advisor for Human Rights and Project Director, Mobilizing Action for Women and Girls Initiative, The Carter Center

Panel Discussion: 

  • Dr. Alaa Murabit
    Founder, The Voice of Libyan Women
  • Mubin Shaikh
    Counterterrorism, CVE and De-radicalization Expert in Canada
  • Sanam Naraghi Anderlini
    Co-Founder & Executive Director, International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
  • Fatima Kadhim Al-Bahadly
    Director, Al-Firdaws Society, Iraq
  • Susan Hayward, Moderator
    Interim Director, Religion & Peacebuilding Center, USIP

Q&A with audience

Countries: 
Type of Event or Course: 

After Peshawar: Domestic Security in Pakistan

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 14:00
Tue, 01/27/2015 - 15:30

December 16, 2014, may well have been Pakistan’s September 11. Join the U.S. Institute of Peace for a panel discussion assessing Pakistan’s domestic security situation in the wake of the attack on the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar.

In the wake of the brutal attack that day, Pakistani civilian and military policymakers came together to formulate a new National Action Plan, making fresh pledges of concerted action against the full host of militant groups operating within Pakistan.

The new security agenda has led to a controversial amendment of the Pakistani constitution to institute new military-run courts for terrorist suspects. Capital punishment has resumed. New initiatives seek to curtail terrorist financing and media access. And combat actions continue in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Experts: 
Type of Event or Course: 
Countries: 

Sectarian Conflict in Pakistan: Local and Regional Dimensions

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 11:00
Wed, 11/19/2014 - 12:30

The U.S. Institute of Peace hosted a discussion analyzing factors that have contributed to sectarian tension in Pakistan and the surrounding region.

Sectarian divisions are growing in Pakistan. Contemporary public opinion surveys suggest these religious communal identities are hardening and violent militant organizations – drawn primarily but not exclusively from the Sunni Deobandi tradition – are increasingly targeting rival religious minorities, killing thousands across the country in attacks over the past decade.

Type of Event or Course: 
Countries: 

Peacebuilding in Central African Republic: The Views of Top Religious Leaders

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 14:00
Mon, 11/10/2014 - 15:30

Please join us for a discussion with the highest-ranking Muslim, Catholic, and Protestant leaders in CAR, Imam Omar Kabine Layama, Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga and Reverend Nicolas Guérékoyame Gbangou, as they discuss their efforts to foster dialogue and social cohesion across religious dividing lines, and lay out a strategic vision for the future of the country through their Interfaith Peace Platform.

In the Central African Republic, the situation remains precarious as ethno-religious violence continues despite the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers. In this context, religious leaders committed to peacebuilding provide a particularly important perspective.

Type of Event or Course: 

Inside Iran

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 09:30
Thu, 01/09/2014 - 11:00
Subtitle: 
With Robin Wright and David Ignatius

Two long-time Middle East experts have recently returned from Iran. Their discussions with cabinet members, ayatollahs, hardliners, Members of Parliament, economists, opposition figures and ordinary Iranians offer rare insights into Iran’s increasingly vibrant political scene since President Rouhani took office and the implications of the new nuclear agreement. Robin Wright and David Ignatius offer fresh perspectives on what’s next.

Read the event coverage, Wright, Ignatius Analyze Iran Developments

Please join us for a moderated discussion on these and other issues important to Iran, its internal politics, and its relations with the world. Join the conversation on Twitter with #InsideIran.

This event will feature the following speakers:

Type of Event or Course: 
Countries: 

Current Challenges to Christian-Muslim Relations in Egypt

Fri, 06/14/2013 - 10:00
Fri, 06/14/2013 - 12:00

On Friday, June 14, two Egyptian religious leaders, Grand Mufti Mohamed Ali Goma’a and Bishop Mouneer Hanna Anis, discussed the challenges their communities face in the democratic transition of their state.

Experts: 

After decades of authoritarian rule, Egypt’s transition to democracy is tackled incredible challenges including political, social and economic reform, infrastructural development, and the ongoing religious sectarianism.

Type of Event or Course: 
Countries: 

Egyptian President Resigns after Peaceful Protests

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has resigned on Feb. 11 after weeks of peaceful protests. USIP takes a comprehensive look at the situation and its implications.

 

UPDATED: February 15, 2011

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned on Feb. 11 after weeks of peaceful protests. USIP takes a comprehensive look at the situation and its implications.

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 14:35
Type of Article: 
Countries: 

Notes from Sudan

Ahead of the country's critical 2011 referendum on whether the South should secede from Sudan, USIP is dedicated to help resolve internal conflicts and help ensure the country's future stability and security. In "Notes from Sudan," USIP's Jon Temin writes about his recent tour of the country to get an update on the status of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended decades of civil war in Sudan and learn about preparations for the 2011 referendum and the 2010 national elections. 

 

Jonathan Temin

by Jonathan Temin

Fri, 08/21/2009 (All day)
Type of Article: 

Winning the Peace in Iraq is Bigger than Winning the War

The plan for Iraq's future needs to go deeper than defeating the Islamic State.

When Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi sat down with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, the two had plenty to discuss. Unemployment in Iraq has passed the 25 percent mark, nearly doubling from two years prior; already-dire sectarian tensions have recently become starker; and the country is facing a huge budget deficit. Abadi, to put it lightly, has his hands full. Yet despite the myriad pressing issues, one particular problem continues to take center stage: how to defeat the Islamic State (IS).

Manal Omar, Sarhang Hamasaeed
Thu, 04/16/2015 - 18:25
Type of Article: 
Countries: 

Articles & Analysis

By:
USIP Staff

Nigeria’s next government needs to have the political will to act decisively against the Boko Haram extremist group, said Pastor Esther Abimiku Ibanga ahead of the country’s March 28 presidential election. Ibanga, a civil society leader from northern Nigeria’s Plateau state, was recently awarded the prestigious Niwano Peace Prize, which honors significant contributions to inter-religious cooperation, for her efforts to promote...

By:
Cameron Glenn, Garrett Nada and Melissa Nozell

At the recent White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, President Barack Obama urged Muslim leaders to oppose the ideologies of groups like the so-called Islamic State. The same week, Saudi Arabia’s top cleric Sheikh Abdul Aziz al Asheikh declared that “the misuse of the religion by extremists is greatly damaging the image of Islam.” 

By:
Nancy Lindborg

As the United States draws down its troops and contemplates its future role in Afghanistan, this country’s progress and prospects are nowhere clearer than in the electricity of a meeting room filled with enthusiastic Afghan university students.

Videos & Webcasts

Nigeria’s next government needs to have the political will to act decisively against the Boko Haram extremist group, said Pastor Esther Abimiku Ibanga ahead of the country’s March 28 presidential...

From Paris to northeastern Nigeria to Burma, violent extremism has emerged as a critical threat to peace and stability. Military and police responses make headlines, but many governments, civil...

Every day in Burma, monks, doctors, teachers, even a popular reggae singer from Yangon, set examples of unity and cooperation, in contrast to headlines about violence between Buddhists and Muslims...

Our Work In The Field

Learn More

There are currently no upcoming classroom courses.

Online Courses

Peter Weinberger
This course presents a set of "soft skills" for participants who engage with religious peoples for partnerships, programming and project implementation.
It touches on often-contested issues such as gender and women’s voices, religious freedom, discussing personal beliefs in the public sphere, and how to integrate religion and programming.

Publications

By:
Hamid M. Khan
As Afghanistan's nascent democracy works to establish the rule of law across the country, it finds itself contending with the ways that Islamic law converges and diverges from the tribal norms that shape the settling of disputes outside Kabul. Based on surveys conducted in Afghanistan, this report examines the points of tension and agreement between Islamic and customary laws, looking into both of their pasts to suggest a way forward for the Afghan state, particularly in granting greater rights and protections to women.
By:
John Paden
Nigeria—its vast population evenly split between Muslim and Christian—is counting down to another presidential election, scheduled for February 2015. This report raises a number of questions about the relationship of religious identity and internal conflict and the consequences of a polarized election. Do religious symbols exacerbate or mitigate conflict, especially during an electoral season? What are the interfaith efforts to ameliorate or mitigate ethno-religious conflict? What are the consequences of a polarized election?