This Action Guide will help you more effectively organize, facilitate, or support mediation where religion is relevant to the participants, the process, or the issues. It provides guidance on how faith-based mediators, texts, principles, values, symbols, or rituals can be useful when religious issues and identities are important to the parties to a conflict.
The guide examines a wide range of ways religion can contribute to peacebuilding, whether practiced by religious or secular actors, even when the conflict has no religious dimensions.
With 84 percent of people worldwide identifying with a faith tradition, religion influences local, national, and international peace and conflict. Across the globe, violent conflict often is couched in religious terms and religious discrimination is on the rise. At the same time, people of faith and religious organizations frequently are on the frontlines of peace efforts, assisting communities affected by violence. Although religious considerations have been marginal to peace efforts historically, governments and peacebuilding organizations increasingly recognize the importance of religion.
USIP’s Religion & Peacebuilding Action Guides offer a toolkit of resources, lessons, best practices, and case studies around specific themes and topics, addressing diverse contexts intended to foster a practical framework for understanding and application. They offer recommendations to inform practitioners, policymakers, and scholars on how to integrate religious considerations into current or potential field programming carefully, thoughtfully, and effectively to prevent and resolve violent conflict. Current and forthcoming Action Guides include “Religion in Conflict and Peacebuilding Analysis Guide,” “Religion and Mediation,” “Religion and Reconciliation,” and “Religion and Gender.”
The “Religion in Conflict and Peacebuilding Analysis Guide” is available in full and in summary. This analysis guide will help policymakers and practitioners to understand the religious dimensions of conflict and take them into consideration in peacebuilding. The guide does not assume that religion will always be part of a solution, but rather it provides tools with which to assess if and how religion can play a role in wider peacebuilding efforts.
Provides an overview of the religious peacebuilding field, the role religion plays in driving both conflict and peace, examples of how religious actors and institutions have contributed to the prevention and resolution of conflict and considerations for how best to engage the religious sector in peacebuilding.
Diplomats and peace practitioners often cite lack of familiarity with the religious landscape as a barrier to their engagement of religious actors. In 2013, USIP launched an initiative to address this need by developing a methodology for systematically mapping and assessing the religious sector’s influence on conflict and peace dynamics in discrete conflict settings. These mappings, which have been done or are underway in Libya, South Sudan, Iraq and Burma, help illuminate recommendations for effective partnerships within the religious sector for peacebuilding.
Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen examines the obstacles and opportunities that women religious peacebuilders face as they navigate both the complex conflicts they are seeking to resolve and the power dynamics in the institutions they must deal with in order to accomplish their goals.