USIP has developed a series of Action Guides focused on religion and conflict analysis, mediation, reconciliation and gender-inclusive religious peacebuilding in collaboration with the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers and the Salam Institute for Peace and Justice. These Action Guides provide a practical overview of the religious peacebuilding field and 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.

Action Guides

Religion and Mediation Action Guide cover

Religion and Mediation Action Guide

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. 

Religion in Conflict and Peacebuilding cover

Religion in Conflict and Peacebuilding 

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. 

Related Course

Discussion surrounding the film “Gender Equality in Islam”

Introduction to Religion and Peacebuilding

(Online Self-Paced Course)

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.

Featured Publications

classroom

Religious Landscape Mapping in Conflict-Affected States

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 book cover

Women, Religion and Peacebuilding

Illuminating the Unseen

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.

Latest Publications

Beijing’s Strategy for Asserting Its “Party Rule by Law” Abroad

Beijing’s Strategy for Asserting Its “Party Rule by Law” Abroad

Thursday, September 29, 2022

By: Jordan Link;  Nina Palmer;  Laura Edwards

Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party has taken steps to assert more influence over the international legal system and to shape the global legal environment to better serve its political and economic objectives. This report examines the potential ramifications of China’s assertive use of new legal tools for US interests and international stability, and discusses several options that the United States and its partners can pursue to bolster the rules-based order that underpins global stability and cooperation.

Type: Special Report

Justice, Security & Rule of Law

Want more accountability for the Taliban? Give more money for human rights monitoring.

Want more accountability for the Taliban? Give more money for human rights monitoring.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

By: Belquis Ahmadi;  Scott Worden

Ahead of the U.N. General Assembly last week, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Afghanistan Richard Bennett released his first report grading the Taliban’s treatment of Afghans’ rights. It was an F. In the past year, the Taliban have engaged in a full-scale assault on Afghan’s human rights, denying women access to public life, dismantling human rights institutions, corrupting independent judicial processes, and engaging in extralegal measures to maintain control or to exact revenge for opposition to their rule. That is one of the main reasons — along with their continued support of al-Qaida and a refusal to form a more inclusive government — that Afghanistan has no representation at the U.N.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Human RightsJustice, Security & Rule of Law

Pakistan Presses U.S. to Lead Global Response to Climate Disasters

Pakistan Presses U.S. to Lead Global Response to Climate Disasters

Thursday, September 29, 2022

By: James Rupert

Pakistan’s unprecedented flood disaster is a wakeup call for governments and international institutions on the need to build a worldwide response to the disproportionate burden of climate change on nations of the Global South — a challenge that Pakistan’s foreign minister underscored to U.S. officials and foreign policy analysts Wednesday at USIP. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari urged policymakers to lead an international effort to use the Pakistan crisis as a catalyst for a more effective international effort to help the countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Environment

Education in North Korea: Playing the Long Game

Education in North Korea: Playing the Long Game

Thursday, September 29, 2022

By: Ian Bennett;  Jamin Jamieson

For the last 30 years, U.S.-North Korea engagement has been erratic. Despite moderate success during the 1990s, the inconsistent nature of official engagement with North Korea over the last two decades has hindered sustained progress in improving bilateral relations and the welfare of North Korean civil society. More recently, the compounding effects of diplomatic and economic isolation caused by the U.S.-led global pressure campaign, an escalating array of multilateral and unilateral sanctions, the COVID pandemic and North Korea’s self-imposed border shutdowns have exacerbated the environment for economic and business engagement. At the people-to-people level, the barriers to engagement have even begun eroding relationships and local know how for many U.S.-based organizations.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Education & Training

A Look at the Laws of War — and How Russia is Violating Them

A Look at the Laws of War — and How Russia is Violating Them

Thursday, September 29, 2022

By: Lise Morjé Howard, Ph.D.

In recent weeks, Ukraine’s swift counteroffensive has led to the discovery of yet more heinous acts committed by Russian forces against Ukrainian military personnel and civilians. These add to a growing list of atrocities discovered in towns like Bucha and Irpin. Indeed, as the war has ground on, we have heard a lot about Russia committing crimes of aggression and crimes against humanity, possibly even genocide. The types of crimes are numerous and somewhat confusing. It’s worth taking a moment to sort out the differences between the basic categories of crimes, to better understand what’s happening in Ukraine, and to contemplate what these crimes may mean for the future of world peace.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Justice, Security & Rule of Law

View All Publications