Melissa Nozell is the program officer for religion and inclusive societies at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), where she leads initiatives to research and support the effective engagement of religious actors in conflict prevention and resolution.
Prior to joining USIP in 2014, Nozell lived in Amman, Jordan, where she volunteered to help Syrian refugees through humanitarian aid efforts and mediation with several organizations, including NuDay Syria and Mercy Corps. Nozell has led research on religious trends in the U.S. and Middle East through the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center, where she focused on Arab Christian-Muslim relations and faith-based diplomacy, and the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, where she authored reports for the online edition of On Common Ground: World Religions in America. She also worked as an educator in Abu Dhabi and has additionally lived for work or study in Italy and India.
At USIP Nozell oversees several key program initiatives in research and practice, including on interreligious and intergenerational dialogue, on religion and psychosocial support for displaced survivors of conflict, and on religion in formal peace processes. She also leads program training and resource development through course development with USIP’s Global Campus and in collaboration with U.S. military chaplains. Nozell’s geographic areas of interest and work are broad and cross-contextual, spanning South and Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and Latin America.
Melissa was a 2021-2022 Penn Kemble Forum Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy and served as a KAICIID International Fellow in 2019. She earned a bachelor’s degree in religion and South Asian studies from Colgate University and a master’s in theological studies from Harvard University.