Peter Mandaville is a senior advisor for USIP’s religion and inclusive societies team. 

He brings 25 years of academic, think tank and government experience focusing on the intersection of religion, international affairs and the Muslim-majority world. At USIP, he leads an initiative focused on the security and peacebuilding implications of religion in the external relations of great powers — with a particular focus on the Western Balkans, Ukraine, China and India.

From 2011-2012, Mandaville was a member of the U.S. State Department’s policy planning staff, where he was involved in shaping the U.S. response to the Arab Spring. From 2015-2016, he served as a senior advisor in the Office of the Secretary of State, where he helped set up the new Office of Religion and Global Affairs. Previous affiliations have included the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Pew Research Center.

Mandaville is the author of the books “Islam & Politics” and “Transnational Muslim Politics: Reimagining the Umma,” in addition to several co-edited books, numerous journal articles, book chapters, op-eds and commentary pieces in outlets such as Foreign Affairs, the International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, The Atlantic Online and Foreign Policy.

He has testified multiple times before Congress on topics such as political Islam, U.S. counterterrorism policy and human rights in the Middle East. His previous research has been supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Science Research Council, the British Council and the Henry Luce Foundation.

In addition to his role at USIP, Mandaville is also a professor of international affairs in the Schar School of Policy and Government and the director of the AbuSulayman Center for Global Islamic Studies, both at George Mason University. He is also a senior research fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.
 

Publications By Peter

Common Ground on International Religious Freedom Enhances U.S. National Security

Common Ground on International Religious Freedom Enhances U.S. National Security

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

By: Peter Mandaville, Ph.D.;  Knox Thames

Religious freedom, like other human rights, is strongly correlated with political stability — and repression of religion or belief can serve as a major driver of conflict and violence. Around the world today, we see discrimination against or targeting of religious minorities associated with rising social tensions, intercommunal strife, violence and even mass atrocities. Muslims in India, Rohingya in Myanmar, Uyghurs in China, Yazidis in Iraq, and Christians in Pakistan: all are subject to forms of violence that have corollary effects on broader prospects for peace and stability in their respective contexts.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Religion

Maintaining International Religious Freedom as a Central Tenet of U.S. National Security

Maintaining International Religious Freedom as a Central Tenet of U.S. National Security

Monday, October 17, 2022

By: Knox Thames;  Peter Mandaville, Ph.D.

In 2021–22, USIP’s Religion and Inclusive Societies Program convened a bipartisan working group of advocates, academics, and former government officials to discuss how the United States can advance global peace and stability by embracing international religious freedom as a major pillar of its diplomatic engagement. This report, written by the working group’s co-chairs, examines the history of the US commitment to international religious freedom and the challenges to ensuring that it remains a central tenet of US foreign policy and national security.

Type: Special Report

Religion

A Ripe Moment for Building Peace by Promoting International Religious Freedom

A Ripe Moment for Building Peace by Promoting International Religious Freedom

Monday, June 27, 2022

By: Peter Mandaville, Ph.D.;  Knox Thames

In late June and early July, two global convenings will highlight challenges to international religious freedom and the search for solutions: the IRF Summit for nongovernmental organizations and the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief. These timely gatherings will bring together government representatives, activists and faith leaders from different religious, regional and political backgrounds to discuss a common goal of ending persecution. Two keys for their success will be creating diverse coalitions to advance international religious freedom (IRF) in a nonpartisan manner and linking the issue to broader concerns about peace and stability. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human RightsReligion

The Role of Religion in Russia’s War on Ukraine

The Role of Religion in Russia’s War on Ukraine

Thursday, March 17, 2022

By: Aidan Houston;  Peter Mandaville, Ph.D.

On March 6, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill stood to deliver the sermon that traditionally ushers in the beginning of the Orthodox Lent. However, the most notable theme of his sermon had little to do with the annual period of Christian fasting. Instead, the patriarch chose to address a subject at the forefront of everyone’s minds: the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & PreventionReligion

How Putin Turned Religion’s ‘Sharp Power’ Against Ukraine

How Putin Turned Religion’s ‘Sharp Power’ Against Ukraine

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

By: Peter Mandaville, Ph.D.

Long before Russia positioned military forces along Ukraine’s border or menaced its neighbor with cyber-attacks and economic pressure, Moscow deployed another, under-appreciated weapon increasingly used by rising global powers: the transformation of religious soft power into what is known among some scholars of authoritarianism as “sharp power.” 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

ReligionConflict Analysis & Prevention

View All