Seminar organised at PRIO 19 May 2012

Watch a video of the seminar here (YouTube)

Many organizations and governments perceive religious leaders as potent key actors for peace. But is it really that simple? What do we need to consider when assessing the potential contribution of religious leaders to diminish conflict in various settings?

The Religion Research Group at PRIO arranged a seminar on 19 April exploring how we can go beyond 'nice words' about religion and peace, and discussing possibilities and limitations to how religious leaders may contribute to peace.

Key topics of discussion were:

  • What concrete contributions can religious leaders have to peace?
  • How does context matter for such contribution?
  • Do religious leaders commonly spoil peace processes? Do we have any assumption of why and when this happens?
  • Does the inter-faith perspective, often included in peace projects involving religious leaders, have any bearing on their contribution to peace?
  • And, taking into account the above questions, what do donors engaging in work related to religious leaders in peace building need to be aware of?

The panel included people with broad knowledge and experience of this topic:

Susan Hayward, researcher from United States Institute of Peace was the keynote speaker.

Responses were given by Ingrid Vik(The Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights), Iselin Frydenlund (Norwegian Research Council and formerly PRIO researcher) and Shoaib Sultan (The Norwegian Centre Against Rascism). Moderator was Tale Steen-Johnsen (PRIO/University of Agder).