RPP Colloquium 2017–18

This monthly public series, convened by Dean David N. Hempton of HDS, brings together a cross-disciplinary RPP Working Group of faculty, experts, graduate students, and alumni from across Harvard University and the local area to explore topics and cases in religions and the practice of peace. A diverse array of scholars, leaders, and religious peacebuilders are invited to present and engage with the RPP Working Group and general audience. A light dinner is served and a brief reception follows the program.

Below are videos of the RPP Colloquium Series from 2017-18, which was themed "Envisioning Sustainable Peace: Leadership, Collaboration, and Creativity for a More Humane and Harmonious World."

The RPP Colloquium was organized in 2017-18 with generous support from The Reverend Karen Vickers Budney, MDiv '91 and Mr. Albert J. Budney, Jr., MBA '74, as well as the Once Here Foundation. 

Join us for upcoming public sessions of the RPP Colloquium. Visit our Upcoming Events page for details and to RSVP.

Moderator Federica D'Alessandra listens to Ben Ferencz, former Nüremberg Trial prosecutorRPP Colloquium: The Role of Ethics, Law, and Policy in Promoting a New International Security Paradigm, a conversation with Ben Ferencz, International Peace Advocate and Former Nüremberg Prosecutor
May 3, 2018

The promotion of more just and peaceful societies is a fundamental goal of the United Nations (UN). In response to the spike in violent conflict worldwide and unparalleled levels of forced displacement, the UN broke new ground in 2016 with two “peacebuilding resolutions,” which set forth a new UN approach to “sustaining peace” that addresses “all stages of conflict” and “all its dimensions.” During this session, we explored what law, policy, and ethics can teach us about “sustaining peace” and how the UN can be assisted in forging a more coherent vision of this new paradigm.

It featured Benjamin B. Ferencz, JD ’43 HLS, recipient of the Harvard Law School Medal of Freedom 2014, and former United States prosecutor at the International Military Tribunal at Nüremberg; respondent Gabriella Blum, LLM ’01, SJD ’03, Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, faculty director of the Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (PILAC), and member of the Program on Negotiation executive board at Harvard Law School; respondent J. Bryan Hehir, Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at Harvard Kennedy School, secretary for social services of the Archdiocese of Boston; and moderator Federica D’Alessandra, LLM, 2013-16 Fellow and 2010-12 Associate at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, 2016-17 Visiting Scholar/Researcher at HLS, 2017-18 Fellow at HDS, and 2016-18 RPP adviser.  

Cosponsored by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.  

Watch video: May 2018 RPP Colloquium with Ben Ferencz on Ethics, Law, and Policy in International Security

Ahead of his visit to HDS, Ben Ferencz prepared a special video message for all members of our human family and especially our youth, in which he reflects on his experience liberating the Nazi concentration camps and prosecuting perpetrators of the Holocaust, his life-long efforts to set up the International Criminal Court and outlaw wars of aggression, and how younger generations can advocate for a more peaceful and sustainable future.

Watch video: People Power for Peace: Words of Wisdom for Humanity's Future from Ben Ferencz

Rev. Dr. Raymond Hammond addresses the crowdRPP Colloquium: Ministry to the Marginal: The Power of Partnerships
March 1, 2018

Violence is not inevitable in stressed and oppressed communities and the building of peace in those communities requires the building of bridges between unlikely collaborators. That's the lesson learned in Boston over three decades of trying to change the trajectory of proven-risk youth and their families.

The session featured Rev. Dr. Ray Hammond, MD ’75, MA ’82, AB ’71, pastor and founder of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, chairman and co-founder of the Ten Point Coalition, and executive committee member of the Black Ministerial Alliance, Boston, and moderator Stephanie Paulsell, PhD, Susan Shallcross Swartz Professor of the Practice of Christian Studies, formerly associate dean for ministry studies and Houghton Professor of the Practice of Ministry Studies at HDS.

Cosponsored by the Office of Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School.

Watch video: March 2018 RPP Colloquium on Ministry to the Marginal

Dr. Erica Chenoweth speaks on nonviolent civil resistanceRPP Colloquium: Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Works: Highlighting the Power of Spiritually-Engaged Communities in Movements for Sustainable Peace
February 8, 2018

This colloquium explored some of the key challenges that nonviolent resistance movements face, including obstacles to building and maintaining movement cohesion, ensuring effective communication, and gaining political leverage; how advocates of principled nonviolence (who promote nonviolence on a moral basis) often clash with advocates of civil resistance (who promote nonviolent action on a strategic or utilitarian basis); the ongoing debate on diversity of tactics; and the ways in which power and privilege undermine solidarity. The colloquium highlighted the power of women in these movements and addressed ways in which spiritually-engaged communities are well-positioned to address many of these key movement challenges.

The session featured Erica Chenoweth, PhD, Professor and associate dean for research, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver and fellow, One Earth Future Foundation, and moderator and respondent Jocelyne Cesari, PhD, Professor and chair of Religion and Politics at the University of Birmingham, U.K., Senior Research Fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center on Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, Professorial Fellow at the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Society at the Australian Catholic University, and Visiting Professor of Religion and Politics at Harvard Divinity School.  

Cosponsored by the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School.

Watch video: February 2018 RPP Colloquium on Nonviolent Civil Resistance

Canon Sarah Snyder, Bishop Anthony Poggo, and Dean David N. Hempton in discussionKeynote Event: RPP Colloquium on The Church as a Reconciling Presence in a World of Conflict: The Role of Religion in International Conflict Transformation
January 25, 2018

Is religion a cause of violent conflict or a catalyst for its transformation? Do faith leaders have a role at the international peacebuilding tables? Current international affairs highlight the power of religious ideologies—and their misappropriation—as a catalyst for social action. They have also prompted unprecedented interest in the role of religious leaders and ideologies to transform conflict and violence.

The keynote session of the fourth annual RPP Colloquium dinner series featured Canon Sarah Snyder, PhD, Archbishop of Canterbury's Director of Reconciliation, and The Right Reverend Anthony Poggo, Advisor for Anglican Communion Affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury and former Diocesan Bishop of Kajo-Keji, South Sudan, who both shared their experience of working in conflict zones and reflected on vital lessons for the contemporary world. It was moderated by David N. Hempton, Dean of the Faculty of Divinity, Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies, John Lord O'Brian Professor of Divinity.

Cosponsored by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. Additional generous support for the 2018 keynote events was provided by the Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities at Harvard University.

Watch video: January 2018 RPP Colloquium on The Church as Reconciling Presence

Dean David N. Hempton addresses the crowd before the sessionRPP Colloquium: The Restorative Justice Approach: Wisdom and Spiritual Resources for Sustainable Peace in Our Communities
October 5, 2017

The first session of the fourth annual RPP Colloquium dinner series explored restorative justice, its spiritual dimensions, and the potential contributions of its approach to advancing sustainable peace in our communities and our world. The session featured presentations by Fania Davis, JD, PhD, Co-Executive Director, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), on “The Spiritual Roots of Restorative Justice: Resources for Cultivating Peace in Our Communities” and sujatha baliga, JD, Director, Restorative Justice Project; Vice President, Impact Justice; Just Beginnings Fellow, who delivered a talk entitled “Have You Been Angry Long Enough? Faith, Forgiveness, and Restorative Justice.” It was moderated by Elizabeth R. Lee-Hood, PhD candidate in Religion, GSAS, MTS ’96 HDS, AB ’90 College, and RPP Research Associate.

Cosponsored by the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School, the Prison Studies Project, and the Transformative Justice Series at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Watch video: October 2017 RPP Colloquium on the Restorative Justice Approach