• Faith-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are increasingly active and increasingly effective in international peacebuilding.
  • Faith-based organizations have a special role to play in zones of religious conflict, but their peacebuilding programs do not need to be confined to addressing religious conflict.
  • Although in some cases peacebuilding projects of faith-based organizations resemble very closely peacebuilding by secular NGOs, in most instances the various religious orientations of these faith-based organizations shape the peacebuilding they undertake.
  • The peacebuilding agendas of these organizations are diverse and range from high-level mediation to training and peacebuilding-through-development at grassroots levels.
  • Very often peace can be promoted most efficiently by introducing peacebuilding components into more traditional relief and development activities.


About the Report

The United States Institute of Peace hosted a day-long workshop on June 20, 2001 to enable faith-based NGOs to share their experiences in international peacebuilding. The holding of this workshop reflected both the increasing involvement of international faith-based NGOs in attempting to promote peace in the countries where they operate, as well as the desire of many other faith-based NGOs to engage in peacebuilding projects. The workshop permitted the more experienced NGOs to share their experiences with those NGOs who have less experience in this arena. Representatives from 40 faith-based NGOs attended.

The principal purpose of the Institute's year-old Religion and Peacemaking Initiative is to help U.S. faith-based organizations to become more active and effective as international peacebuilders. This workshop thus served the initiative's central purpose.

This report has been prepared by David Smock, director of the Religion and Peacemaking Program.

The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Institute of Peace, which does not advocate specific policies.

Related Publications

Afghan Women Defy Taliban in a City on the Edge

Afghan Women Defy Taliban in a City on the Edge

Monday, February 20, 2017

By: James Rupert

Kunduz once bustled as the cotton-mill capital of northeast Afghanistan. Amid Afghanistan’s 39-year-old war, it is now half-empty, fearful and bullet-pocked—a target in the Taliban’s fight to capture a major city. Remarkably, Kunduz also is a stronghold of Afghanistan’s women’s movement, including a handful of women-run radio stations. So when Taliban fighters briefly seized Kunduz in 2015 and attacked it again last year, they tried each time to kill Sediqa Sherzai, a journalist and mother who runs Radio Roshani.

Violent Extremism; Gender; Religion; Non-Violent Movements

How to Foster Peace in Iraq After ISIS

How to Foster Peace in Iraq After ISIS

Monday, February 13, 2017

By: Fred Strasser

When Iraqi tribal leaders were forced to flee the city of Hawija in northern Iraq as the Islamic State seized the area in 2014, they weren’t much concerned with advancing the rule of law. But last year, as ISIS’s grip weakened and the possibility of returning to Hawija grew nearer, the leaders faced the prospect of an aftermath stained by revenge killings of collaborators and demand for “blood money” in compensation. Such tribal justice could set off new rounds of violence and instability.

Violent Extremism; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Peace Processes; Religion

Cooling Iraq’s Conflict With Community Dialogue

Cooling Iraq’s Conflict With Community Dialogue

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The violence of extremists—and the chaos they spawn—takes place in towns, villages, streets and homes, not along some far-off front line. That’s where extremist groups seek recruits and where residents they victimize plot revenge, said the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Sarhang Hamasaeed in a Ted Talk-style presentation during the Jan. 10 “Passing the Baton” conference. While national and international efforts to bring peace to such areas can help, dialogue and mediation at the community level has...

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Violent Extremism; Religion; Fragility and Resilience; Democracy & Governance

View All Publications