Mission and Urgency

Mission

The Religions and the Practice of Peace (RPP) Initiative at Harvard Divinity School, founded by Dean David N. Hempton in 2014, serves as a hub at Harvard University to advance cross-disciplinary engagement, scholarship, and practice to explore

  • How individuals and communities around the world, past and present, have drawn on religious, spiritual, and cultural resources to cultivate positive relationships, well-being, justice, and peace across differences
  • How such efforts can inform the contemporary theory and practice of conflict transformation, peacebuilding, and leadership
  • How spiritual and human values, positive engagement across religions and cultures, and nonviolent approaches can help humanity solve shared problems and create sustainable peace for all.

RPP aims to leverage Harvard University’s unparalleled cross-disciplinary expertise, diverse community, and global reach to foster sustainable peace in our world.

Urgency

RPP acts in light of the recognition that

  • The urgent challenges facing our diverse human community in the twenty-first century demand an unprecedented degree of mutual understanding and cooperation
  • For the majority of humanity, religion is and will remain a vital and integral aspect of life
  • Religious communities and traditions have for millennia played powerful yet complex roles in inspiring, informing, and sustaining efforts to reduce destructive conflict and cultivate humane, equitable, and harmonious relationships
  • Enhancing understanding and awareness of these contributions is crucial for our shared future  
  • Despite growing scholarship and practice in this area over the past two decades, much greater action is needed
  • Our historical moment calls for energetic commitment to this effort by institutions of intellectual leadership and religious communities worldwide.