Given religion’s influence on conflict dynamics around the world, it is critical that practitioners and policymakers understand and partner with religious leaders and people of faith to build peace. For more than 25 years, the U.S. Institute of Peace has worked on the role of religion in violence and peace, advancing cutting-edge research and policy, and developing effective strategies to engage religious actors, institutions and ideas across traditions in support of peace. From enhancing the peacemaking capacities of individuals and faith-based organizations to fostering meaningful dialogue within and across faiths, USIP works with local partners to promote inclusive religious peacebuilding. Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on Religious Engagement in Peacebuilding.

 

Featured Publications

Combatting Religious Discrimination in India and Beyond

Combatting Religious Discrimination in India and Beyond

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

By: Jason Klocek

Last month, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom listed India as a “country of particular concern” for the first time since 2004. The decision reflects increased religious hostility and sectarian conflict in India, which have been stoked further by the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed last December. In the five months since, the CAA’s use of religious identity as a criteria for citizenship has sparked widespread opposition and protest both within India and abroad. But while controversial, it is far from an isolated policy. It connects to a steady increase in religious discrimination and violence within India, throughout South Asia, and across the globe—raising important questions for policymakers and activists alike.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Religion

Susan Hayward on Religion and Coronavirus

Susan Hayward on Religion and Coronavirus

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

By: Susan Hayward

While USIP’s Susan Hayward acknowledges that religion has, at times, hampered public health, she notes religion has also been invoked “in ways that have brought meaning, that have mobilized people to respond to the needs of the vulnerable.”

Type: Podcast

Religion

Engaging the Post-ISIS Iraqi Religious Landscape for Peace and Reconciliation (Arabic)

Engaging the Post-ISIS Iraqi Religious Landscape for Peace and Reconciliation (Arabic)

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

By: Ann Wainscott

Religious actors in Iraq wield considerable influence, and Iraqis perceive them as playing an important role in moving the country toward peace. This report analyzes the influence of Iraq’s religious actors—who has it, why they have it, and how they exercise it—to illuminate their crucial role in supporting peace and reconciliation efforts and to help policymakers and practitioners understand how to engage them in efforts to advance peace.

Type: Peaceworks

Reconciliation; Religion

View All

Current Projects

Closing the Gap: Analyzing the Link Between Religious Freedom, Peace, and Development

Closing the Gap: Analyzing the Link Between Religious Freedom, Peace, and Development

Government restrictions on religion have risen steadily in recent years, raising questions about both their causes and consequences. In partnership with USAID’s Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, USIP launched the Closing the Gap initiative earlier this year to more carefully examine these trends. The project, which will take place over the course of 2020, will explore the relationship between freedom of religion, peace, and development through statistical analysis and case studies. The findings will inform a more nuanced, strategic, and impactful policy and practice of advancing religious freedom.

Democracy & Governance; Human Rights; Religion

Office of Strategic Stability and Security

Office of Strategic Stability and Security

The U.S. Institute of Peace’s Office of Strategic Stability and Security was established in 2020 to provide research and analysis on the growing impact of global powers on peace and stability. Housing USIP’s Russia program, and with plans to work closely with the Institute’s China program, the office convenes experts and local actors to develop an understanding of how the reemergence of major power competition is shaping the prospects for peace—with a special focus on Ukraine.

Global Policy; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Peace Processes; Reconciliation; Religion

Stabilization and Resilience in Iraq’s Minority Communities

Stabilization and Resilience in Iraq’s Minority Communities

For almost a decade, the U.S. Institute of Peace and its Iraqi partners have supported ethnic and religious minority communities in Iraq as part of the Institute’s broader mission of helping the country strengthen communal and institutional resilience. Employing innovative approaches to peacebuilding, USIP seeks to empower minority groups including Christians, Faily Kurds, Kakayees, Sabean-Mandaeans, Shabaks, and Eyzidis (Yazidis) to solve inter-communal disputes, and to advocate at all levels of government for their rights, access to services, and security.

Reconciliation; Religion

View All