Religions and the Human Spirit

Star of David, Congregation Shearith Israel, Atlanta

Coptic Cross, Cairo Mosque, Cairo Buddha, Carlos Museum, Atlanta Durga, Carlos Museum, Atlanta


Contemplative Studies

Religion, Society
& the Arts


Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding
Additional Information about the Initiative

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Click here for the RCP brochure.


The ethnic and religious violence that characterizes much of contemporary life calls for creative scholarship and teaching that are intellectually rigorous, interdisciplinary and engaged. These approaches must take seriously their obligation to be useful and accessible to individuals working to overcome violence and to reconstruct divided and broken socieites. The initiative in Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding is a focused effort by Emory University to produce such scholarship. Given the multi-faceted nature of this work, the initiative undertakes numerous activities and presents various programs designed to explore and illuminate understandings of and approaches to the issues of religiously motivated violence and religions' roles in overcoming that violence and its consequences.

From Jim Wagner, President of Emory University --
"The Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding initiative adds depth to an important emerging scholarly field, providing the opportunity for students of religion at all levels to use their analytical skills in learning and teaching about religion, as well as its interface with the prevention of violence. This teaching takes place not only in the classroom, but also in wider society where interreligious literacy plays an increasingly vital role in global well-being."

From Earl Lewis, Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs --
"Our university faculty possesses a number of strengths in the field of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding -- from research in the area of religion and violence, to a longstanding history of civil rights work in the Atlanta community. We are proud to be able to offer this unique educational opportunity to pass on this knowledge and experience to our students."

  Pictured above: Jim Wagner, Emory University President
and Bisera Turkovic, Bosnian Ambassador
Photograph courtesy of Myron McGhee


Education is critical to transforming relations between the world's religions. To take one example: in a recent poll, nearly half of Americans said they had a negative view of Islam, while at the same time, 60% admitted having scarcely any knowledge of it.

Public education is a key component of the program. In addition to providing speakers and information for print and broadcast media, the Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding initiative works to produce publicly accessible scholarship and to provide curricula on world religions for primary and secondary schools.

Click here to view a list of available speakers.

Doctoral Concentration

Emory advances learning and engagement by supporting the most distinguished teaching, research and writing on religion, conflict and peacebuilding. The university's doctoral minor track in Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding provides distinctive experience for students, educating them to be scholars and practitioners, academic and civic leaders. The concentration's combination of superior academic teaching, research and direct practical experience provides its graduates with the skills and knowledge to make major contributions to society, by addressing a wide range of problems in a rapidly changing world.

Click on links below for more information about the doctoral concentration:
* Description
* Courses
* Practicum

From Jeremy Lowe, Graduate Student --
"For students seeking to engage the deepening import of religious scholarship for peacebuilding, Emory's Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding concentration offers membership into a community of diverse yet like-devoted mentors, teachers and fellows. In conversations with these persons, I find my interests expanded and myself pressed towards actions that matter. They also provide me with the global resources to take these actions."

From Jonathan Loar, Graduate Student --
"My concentration in Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding brings a new set of questions to my research in Hinduism and South Asia. Issues of difference, boundaries and the limits of toleration invite comparison between Shirdi Sai Baba's nineteenth-century message of nonsectarian, syncretic devotionalism and how this message is interpreted and practiced in present-day India. Such an approach adds nuance to research and broadens conversations across fields of study."


The initiative holds regular international summits on Religious Conflict and Peacebuilding. These events are designed to collect, benchmark and publicize the valuable lessons learned through the global network. Emphasizing the work of NGO's in their peacebuilding practices, these summits also provide an invaluable opportunity for religious leaders around the world to come together in a safe space for disciplined reflection, to address the issues that divide them and to develop peaceful solutions.

The first summit held October 21, 2007 began with an address by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and responses from world religious leaders including Rabbi David Rosen, Sister Joan Chittister and Professor Rajmohan Gandhi. The second international summit is currently planned for Fall 2010; details of the second summit will be available in the future on this website.

Click here for more information regarding the 2007 Summit,
including videos and photos.



Because of their varying societal roles, universities, religious entitites and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) too often operate independently, failing to build upon the distinctive knowledge and activities each has to offer. Emory's initiative strives to work across these differences, creating networks for the sharing of knowledge and the coordination and implementation of conflict resolution and peacebuilding strategies.

Through exchanges with NGOs, faculty, fellows and students acquire valuable on-the-ground experience. Leaders and officers in humanitarian organizations come to Emory to reflect, research, teach and write about their experiences and develop a central databank on best practices in peacebuilding.

and the World

Atlanta is an ideal site to develop a "glocal" scope for the new initatives: global and local in its perspective. Atlanta is recognized as the cradle of the Civil Rights movement and the base of two of America's most internationally admired citizens and Nobel Peace Prize Winners, Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Jimmy Carter.

Click here to view a list of proposed projects.



The initiative in Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding sponsors public lectures featuring distinguished scholar-practioners who have made significant contributions worldwide in the field. As an institution deeply concerned with the growing challenges related to religious conflict and violence, Emory is proud to invite these experts to share their insights with the Emory and Atlanta community, and to explore and foster new possibilities for sustained peacebuilding.

The 2006-2007 lecture series included: Cynthia Mahmood, Mohammed Abu-Nimer, John Paul Lederach and Marc Gopin.
Click here to view that year's calendar and video archives.

Click here to view current year calendar.

Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322