Faith-Based NGOs and International Peacebuilding

October 22, 2001
David Smock


  • Faith-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are increasingly active and increasingly effective in international peacebuilding.
  • Faith-based organizations have a special role to play in zones of religious conflict, but their peacebuilding programs do not need to be confined to addressing religious conflict.
  • Although in some cases peacebuilding projects of faith-based organizations resemble very closely peacebuilding by secular NGOs, in most instances the various religious orientations of these faith-based organizations shape the peacebuilding they undertake.
  • The peacebuilding agendas of these organizations are diverse and range from high-level mediation to training and peacebuilding-through-development at grassroots levels.
  • Very often peace can be promoted most efficiently by introducing peacebuilding components into more traditional relief and development activities.


About the Report

The United States Institute of Peace hosted a day-long workshop on June 20, 2001 to enable faith-based NGOs to share their experiences in international peacebuilding. The holding of this workshop reflected both the increasing involvement of international faith-based NGOs in attempting to promote peace in the countries where they operate, as well as the desire of many other faith-based NGOs to engage in peacebuilding projects. The workshop permitted the more experienced NGOs to share their experiences with those NGOs who have less experience in this arena. Representatives from 40 faith-based NGOs attended.

The principal purpose of the Institute's year-old Religion and Peacemaking Initiative is to help U.S. faith-based organizations to become more active and effective as international peacebuilders. This workshop thus served the initiative's central purpose.

This report has been prepared by David Smock, director of the Religion and Peacemaking Program.

The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Institute of Peace, which does not advocate specific policies.

October 22, 2001
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