USIP's Current Projects on Religion, Conflict, and Education
Curricular Material for Madrassas
In Indonesia, USIP is working with local Islamic scholars and clergy to develop curricular materials that provide contemporary interpretations of Islamic texts on peace, violence, interfaith relations, human rights, the status of women, and the environment. Materials developed in Aceh have been piloted and embraced by local ulama. The materials are currently being translated into English and Arabic for dissemination to other countries.
In Pakistan USIP is working with ulama and madrassa administrators in Pakistan to prepare teaching modules for madrassas on subjects relating to peace, tolerance, and pluralism.
Teaching about the Relgious Other
Designed to build upon USIP's work related to education in zones of conflict and the role of religion as a source of conflict and peace, the Religion and Peacemaking program hosted a two-day consultation on teaching about the religious "other" in schools, universities, and seminaries internationally.
The focus was the three Abrahamic faiths and gave particular attention to countries where there is conflict between two or more of the Abrahamic faiths. This project is built in part on an earlier project with the Chicago Theological Seminary to develop teaching materials for Christian seminary students on Islam and Judaism.
In September 2005 the Relgion and Peacemaking program co-sponsored a historic conference with the Arab Group for Muslim-Christian Dialogue which brought together 45 Arab Christian and Muslim scholars, academics, and religious leaders to discuss the USIP Special report Teaching About the Religious Other, a USIP Special Report by David Smock. Representing eight different countries, the four day conference developed educational strategies to overcome religious stereotypes and misunderstandings.
Participants in the conference highlighted the need to re-humanize each other in their respective textbooks and to build upon the common values, histories, cultures, and ethical teachings in their religious traditions.