Emory Report
January 22, 2007
Volume 59, Number 16

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January 22 , 2007
Lecturers advise Emory's religion, conflict and peacebuilding efforts

by kim urquhart

Humanity at the Crossroads,” the inaugural lecture series of Emory’s initiative in Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding, features a distinguished lineup of scholar-practitioners, all of whom has made significant worldwide contributions in their fields. Their expert advice, gathered at consultation sessions that accompany each lecture, will help guide Emory as it embarks on a new phase of scholarship, research and outreach.

“In this series, we’re focusing on the pragmatics of peacebuilding in situations of religion and conflict — the challenges on the ground where theory translates into practice,” said Laurie Patton, Winship Distinguished Research Professor of Religion. “Once we know how successful peacebuilding happens in everyday situations, we can create better theory around it.”

At 4 p.m. today, lecturer Mohammed Abu-Nimer, an expert on conflict resolution and dialogue for peace, will examine how interfaith dialogue is being used in the Middle East to bridge the gap between U.S. and Muslim communities. Abu-Nimer, associate professor at American University’s School of International Service in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, director of the Peacebuilding and Development Institute, and director of the Salam Institute for Peace and Justice, will be available for consultation on Tuesday, Jan. 23 from 10 a.m. to noon at Callaway S423.

The consultation sessions are a chance to ask questions and hear in an informal setting the speaker’s philosophy and approach to religion, conflict and peacebuilding from their personal and institutional experience, explained Tom Flores, a post-doctoral fellow in the Graduate Division of Religion.

Plans are in place, for example, to build a Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding Center with the aim of creating a cohesive, intellectual unit where Emory’s strengths can connect with the larger discourse in religion and conflict.

“The speakers’ pragmatic and programmatic insights are of particular value to us as we think about how best to serve Emory in creating a program that is not only doable, but highlights our unique strengths, and complements other programs throughout the country and world,” Flores said.

Edward Queen, director of the Ethics Center’s D. Abbott Turner Program in Ethics and Servant Leadership, attended the most recent consultation with speaker Cynthia Mahmood, a social anthropologist whose research focuses on war and peace, conflict resolution and the cultural contexts of violence. He found the consultation to be “particularly engaging” as Mahmood drew on her experiences at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and elsewhere to provide informed suggestions and identify key challenge and strength areas for Emory.

The consultations and lecture series, which this year continue through April, are free and open to the public.
“As an institution deeply concerned with the growing challenges related to religious conflict and violence, Emory is proud to host these scholars as the first phase of marshalling its resources for exploring and fostering new possibilities for sustained peace building,” Patton said.

“Humanity at the Crossroads” lecture series
Monday, Jan. 22, 4 – 6 p.m., Jones Room, Woodruff Library
Mohammed Abu-Nimer, associate professor, School of International Service in International Peace and Conflict Resolution; Director of Peacebuilding and Development Institute, American University. Consultation: Tuesday, Jan. 23, 10 a.m.- Noon, Callaway S423

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 4 – 6 p.m., Jones Room, Woodruff Library
John Paul Lederach, professor of international peacebuilding, University of Notre Dame; Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Consultation: TBA

Wednesday, March 21, 5 – 7 p.m., Location TBA
Marc Gopin, James H. Laue Professor of World Religions; director, Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution; Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University. Consultation: Thursday, March 22, 10 a.m. - Noon

Wednesday, April 11, Noon – 2 p.m., Location TBA
David Jenkins, director of Faith and the City Program; lecturer in Church and Community; co-director of Contextual Education, Emory University.

For more information, visit www.gdr.emory.edu/ircp.htm.