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.

Learn more about USIP's Religion and Peacebuilding center.

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.

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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.

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Inside Iran

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 09:30
Thu, 01/09/2014 - 11:00
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.

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:

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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.


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.

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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
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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)
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“Refusing to be Enemies” at Israel’s Hand in Hand Schools

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 13:00
Thu, 12/18/2014 - 14:30
A Model of Jewish and Arab Coexistence in the Face of Conflict

On December 18, USIP hosted members of the Hand in Hand school community to discuss their experiences in the wake of the recent attack on their school in Jerusalem. Panelists discussed the Hand in Hand model of coexistence within the broader field of peacebuilding, as well as the waves of diverse support and interest they’ve seen in the wake of the attack.

Hand in Hand schools are the only public schools in Israel where Jews and Arabs take classes together and learn both Hebrew and Arabic in an integrated, multicultural setting. On the evening of November 29, 2014, the flagship K-12 campus -- the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Bilingual School in Jerusalem -- was attacked by arsonists who set fire to two first-grade classrooms and graffitied hateful statements against Arabs and against the very principle of co-existence on the school walls. In the wake of the tragedy, various Israeli communi

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Pakistan’s Resurgent Sectarian War

The violence across the Middle East has energized sectarian militant networks on both sides of the conflict in Pakistan. This report gives an overview of the history of conflict between Sunni Deobandi and Shia militant and political organizations in Pakistan and offers warnings about further radicalization there and its effects on the politics of the state.


  • Sectarian violence between Sunni Deobandi and Shia Muslims in Pakistan has escalated in recent years. Most of this violence is perpetrated by local networks, but the sectarian phenomenon also has important ties to regional security dynamics and transnational terrorist networks.
Arif Rafiq
Wed, 11/05/2014 - 12:18

Religious Leaders Countering Extremist Violence: How Policy Changes Can Help

Constructive actions such as these underpin a set of recommendations developed by more than a dozen religious leaders, scholars and other activists and presented recently to U.S. and United Nations policymakers. Among the suggestions was to increase assistance to constructive faith-based organizations, taking care to support their work without endangering their lives and legitimacy, so they can be in an even stronger position to prevent and counter radicalization.

Articles & Analysis

November 20, 2014
The archbishop, along with Imam Omar Kabine Layama and Reverend Nicolas Guérékoyama outlined their interfaith initiative to foster dialogue and social cohesion across religious lines, and their vision for peace, during a discussion Nov. 10.

Our Work In The Field

Learn More

Classroom Courses

Hamid Khan
January 26, 2015
Acquire a firm grounding in the principles, concepts, and terminology of Islamic law as well as an introduction to its history and its role in the contemporary era, including Islamic constitutionalism, criminal law, and human rights law.

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.


Muslims in general and Muslim leaders particularly have often been severely criticized for not more energetically condemning the violent acts of Muslim extremists. The uninformed often assume that extremists represent Islam’s mainstream.
Ethan Beuno de Mesquita
This report was commissioned by USIP's Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention. Consistent with the center’s commitment to conflict prevention, this report aims to inform the center’s ongoing work to expand the understanding of the determinants of terrorism and its support base.