The Center for Sustainable Development and International Peace at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies conducted a project from 2007-2010 on the theme of religion, conflict, and peacemaking in deeply divided societies, supported by the Henry Luce Foundation’s Initiative on Religion in International Affairs. The project unfolded in a research track, a policy dialogue track, and a curriculum development track.
1. The Research
The project involves a research track that yielded the edited volume Between Terror and Tolerance: Religious Leaders and Conflict Management in Deeply Divided Societies (Timothy D. Sisk, ed.; Forthcoming, Georgetown University Press, 2011).
The book presents the research and findings of an international team of scholars regarding religious leaders’ roles in the thematic and case-study chapters. The volume explores how religious leaders in divided societies interpret the relationships among religious doctrines and human rights (to include group or minority rights); defining exclusive and inclusive national identities; articulate the connections among religion, state control, and state policy; rhetorically justifying and/or mobilizing for war or in undermining pursuit of violence by political elites; and religious leaders’ participation in peace processes.
The research features case studies from several major conflict-affected countries, including Iraq, Israel and Palestine, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Tajikistan. The concluding chapter presents the integrated findings of the research and draws the implications for policies and programs of the United Nations and international non-governmental organizations in seeking to promote and enhance the capacity of religious leaders to promote tolerance and coexistence.
2. The Policy Consultations
Related to this research is a second track of policy consultations on the ways in which the findings of the research connects with the work of the United Nations in its engagement in conflict prevention, peacemaking, and post-conflict peacebuilding. Symposia on the project were held in New York as dialogues organized to bridge research and policy in November 2008 and December 2010.
3. The Curriculum Materials
A third track of the project focuses on education in religion and international affairs and the development of new upper-division undergraduate and graduate-level course materials. This work features six new course modules for under development by the Josef Korbel School Center in collaboration with the Conflict Resolution Institute at the University of Denver and the Iliff School of Theology. The curriculum unit themes are:
- Religion and Economic Development
- Religion and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding
- Religion, Conflict, and Peace Processes
- Religion, Environment, and Sustainability
- Religion, the State and Governance in the 21st Century
- Religious Traditions and Contemporary Human Rights
A more detailed Table of Contents regarding these materials is also available.