RPP Colloquium 2015–16

Launched by Dean David N. Hempton in 2014, this monthly public series convenes a cross-disciplinary RPP Working Group of faculty, experts, graduate students, and alumni from across Harvard’s Schools 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.

Below are videos of the RPP Colloquium sessions that have already passed.

The RPP Colloquium was hosted in 2016 with generous support from the El-Hibri Foundation and The Reverend Karen Vickers Budney, MDiv '91, and Mr. Albert J. Budney, Jr., MBA '74, and in 2015 and 2016 with generous support from the Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities at Harvard University.

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

Susan Hayward speaks on Women and Peacebuilding

RPP Colloquium: Women Religious Leaders in the Struggle for Peace

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rev. Susan Hayward, Director, Religion and Inclusive Societies, U.S. Institute of Peace; HDS ’07 graduate; co-editor, Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen (USIP Press, 2015).

Rev. Susan Hayward directs USIP’s religious peacebuilding program, which seeks to recognize religious dynamics in violent conflict and develop strategies for engaging religious actors and factors to transform drivers of violence and build sustainable peace. Hayward discusses the new volume that she has co-edited, Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen (USIP Press, September 2015), offering reflections on the opportunities and challenges women religious leaders across faiths and regions face as they navigate complex conflicts and power dynamics in institutions to accomplish their goals. 

Moderated by Ann D. Braude, Senior Lecturer on American Religious History and Director of the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School.

Co-sponsored by the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School.

Watch video: September 2015 Colloquium on Women Religious Leaders

Nathan Funk discusses with RPP Working Group student before his presentation.RPP Colloquium: Making Peace with Islam: Islamic Approaches to Peacemaking

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dr. Nathan C. Funk is Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada. He is the co-author of Islam and Peacemaking in the Middle East, and Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam: Precept and Practice.

Examining Islamic peace teachings and paradigms within a larger comparative context, Dr. Funk explores both the distinctiveness of Islamic approaches to peacemaking and ways in which Islamic experiences of conflict and peace mirror those of other communities.  Particular attention is given to keynote themes emphasized by Muslim peacebuilders, and to examples of various ways in which Islamic precepts have been applied to support restorative justice, nonviolent social justice advocacy, and interfaith understanding.

Moderated by Ali S. Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University.

Launch of a new lecture series on Islam and the Practice of Peace sponsored by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University and the RPP Initiative.

Watch video: October 2015 Colloquium on Islamic Peacemaking

Daniel Shapiro discusses the emotional factors of conflict.RPP Colloquium: Bridging the Religious Divide: Transforming Conflict When Emotions and Religion are at Play

Thursday, November 19, 2015 

Dr. Daniel L. Shapiro, founder and director, Harvard International Negotiation Program; associate professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital; affiliate faculty, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School.

Dr. Shapiro discusses hidden emotional factors that fuel conflict and presents an innovative model for using emotions constructively to promote conflict transformation.  He discusses how this model has been utilized in high-stakes conflicts, and offers insights into how it can be drawn upon to overcome conflict when religious identities are at stake. 

Respondent: Rev. Dr. Septemmy E. Lakawa, Jakarta Theological Seminary, Indonesia; Research Associate and Visiting Assistant Professor of Women's Studies and Theology, Women’s Studies in Religion Program, HDS.

Rev. Dr. Lakawa responds in light of her research on “The Landscape of Trauma and the Aesthetic of Interreligious Peace: an Indonesian Case of Christian-Muslim Relations.”

Moderated by Jeffrey R. Seul, Lecturer on the Practice of Peace at Harvard Divinity School, Chairman of the Peace Appeal Foundation, and partner in the law firm of Holland & Knight.

Co-sponsored by the Harvard International Negotiation Program and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

Pastor James and Imam Ashafa share their peacebuilding experience in Nigeria.RPP Colloquium: The Pastor and the Imam from Nigeria: Interfaith Strategy for Peacebuilding: Prospects and Challenges

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Pastor Dr. James Movel Wuye and Imam Dr. Muhammad Nurayn Ashafa, Co-Executive Directors, Interfaith Mediation Centre, Kaduna, Nigeria.

Formerly rival youth militia leaders engaged in violent clashes between Christians and Muslims, the Pastor and Imam were inspired by the teachings of their respective faith traditions to pursue the path of peace.  They share their two-decade journey from vengeance to forgiveness and from enmity to friendship, through which they moved beyond tolerance to pragmatic conflict transformation and mitigation. They discuss their faith-based psycho-social counseling among victims of the insurgency in Northern Nigeria and their work to bridge gaps caused by unhealed collective memories of past perceived injustices through North-South dialogue among ethno-religious and socio-political groups focusing on women, youth, and adults in target communities. They provide insights into the prospects and challenges of interreligious peacebuilding in the face of insurgency and violent extremism and offer strategy recommendations.

Moderated by Diana L. Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies; Fredrick Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; member of the Faculty of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School; and Director of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance at UMass Boston and the The Pluralism Project at Harvard University.  With generous support from the Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities at Harvard University.

Watch video: December 2015 Colloquium on The Pastor and the Imam

Scott Appleby responses to a question and answer session with moderator Dean David Hempton.RPP Colloquium: Integral Human Development and the Moral Imagination: Implications for Religion, Development, and Peacebuilding

Thursday, January 28, 2016

R. Scott Appleby, PhD, professor of history and Marilyn Keough Dean of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs, is author or editor of more than 15 books, including The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence, and Reconciliation; The Fundamentalism Project; Peacebuilding: Catholic Theology, Ethics, and Praxis; and, most recently, The Oxford Handbook of Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding.

Integral Human Development (IHD), a concept articulated in Roman Catholic social teaching and resonant in other religious and secular traditions, levels a serious critique at narrowly technical and secular global efforts to build peace, eradicate poverty and provide basic human needs such as health care and education to underdeveloped societies. Reading IHD through the lens of Lederach’s rendering of the moral imagination allows us to envision and elaborate a sustainable partnership between professional development actors, peacebuilders, and religious communities. This talk unpacks and defends this argument.

The event is moderated by HDS Dean David N. Hempton, Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies and John Lord O'Brian Professor of Divinity.

With generous support from the El-Hibri Foundation.

Recommended Readings

  • R. Scott Appleby, “The New Name for Peace? Religion and Development as Partners in Strategic Peacebuilding.” In The Oxford Handbook of Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding, edited by Atalia Omer, R. Scott Appleby, and David Little, 183-211. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • John Paul Lederach, The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace, New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Watch video: January 2016 Colloquium on Moral Imagination

Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi and Dr. Julie Nelson engage on the topic of climate change.RPP Colloquium: Buddhist Responses to Climate Change
Thursday, February 18, 2016

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi is chair of Buddhist Global Relief, and president of the Buddhist Association of the United States (BAUS). Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi will present "The Four Noble Truths of the Climate Crisis." The four noble truths are the template the Buddha used to diagnose the problem of human suffering. With suitable adjustments, this same formula can be employed as a lens through which to examine the contemporary climate crisis. In this presentation, scholar-monk Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi will use the four truths to explore the deep origins of the crisis and describe an "eightfold path" as a solution to avoid impending calamity.

Dr. Julie A. Nelson is Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Boston; a Senior Research Fellow with the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University; and a Dharma teacher in the Boundless Way Zen school. Dr. Nelson will present "Beyond ‘Small is Beautiful': Buddhism and the Economics of Climate Change." An active member of feminist, ecological, and social economics networks, Dr. Nelson is the author of Economics for Humans, as well as many other books and articles. Her work has been published in journals ranging from the American Economic Review and Econometrica to Ecological Economics, Ethics & the Environment, and the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. She lives in a cooperative household in Arlington.

Climate change is a stark reminder of our thoroughgoing interconnectedness. We all bear the risks and burdens of maltreatment of the global ecosystem that sustains and depends upon us. None of us can reduce these risks and burdens alone. Buddhist leaders from many traditions have issued an urgent call for a collective response, "The Time to Act is Now: A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change." This session will explore Buddhist resources that can help us to care for the earth and all of its inhabitants, and how these resources can be brought to bear in the most effective ways.

The event will be moderated by Charles Hallisey, Yehan Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist Literatures.

Co-sponsored by the Buddhist Ministry Initiative at Harvard Divinity School. With generous support from the El-Hibri Foundation.

Recommended Readings

Short List

  • "The Time to Act is Now: A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change." In Ecological Buddhism, online. Pan-Buddhist declaration composed by Zen teacher David Tetsuun Loy PhD, Theravadin teacher Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi and Buddhist scientist John Stanley PhD, emerging from the contributions of over 20 Buddhist teachers of all traditions to the book, A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency.
  • Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, “Climate Change as a Moral Call to Social Transformation,” Op-Ed, Truthout, October 5, 2014.
  • Julie A. Nelson, "Really Radical Economics," blog post, Economics for Equity and the Environment, online, November 17, 2013.

Further Reading

  • Pope Francis. Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality: On Care for Our Common Home. Brooklyn NY: Melville House publishing, 2015.
  •  John Stanley, David R. Loy, and Gyurme Dorje, Eds. A Buddhist Response to the Climate Change Emergency. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2009.
  • Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, "Feeling the Touch of the Goad: A Sense of Urgency as a Spur to Climate Action," Op-Ed, Truthout, October 5, 2014.
  • Julie A. Nelson, “The Relational Firm: A Buddhist and Feminist Analysis.” In Ethical Principles and Economic Transformation - A Buddhist Approach. Edited by Laszlo Zsolnai. Dordrecht: Springer, 2011, 21-33.

Watch video: February 2016 Colloquium on Buddhism and Climate Change

Dr. Rev. David Hooker speaks with panel moderator Dr. Catherine Brekus.

RPP Colloquium: Transforming Racialized Divides in the US: Insights from the African-European American Experience
Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dr. Leah Gunning Francis is Associate Dean of Contextual Education and Assistant Professor of Christian Education at Eden Theological Seminary, and is author of Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community. She will present on "A Boy, A Wrestler and the Racialized Imaginiation: (En)Countering Narrative in Ferguson and Beyond." In her timely book Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community, Dr. Leah Gunning Francis interviewed a few dozen clergy and young activists who responded to the Ferguson uprising. She uses their stories to construct a narrative grounded in the imago dei, and unearths critical insights for living into a future filled with hope.

Rev. Dr. David Anderson Hooker is a member of Staff Collective, JustPeace, The United Methodist Church’s Center for Conflict Transformation, a minister for Local and Global Missions, First Congregational Church (UCC) in Atlanta, Georgia, and co-author of Transforming Historical Harms and the forthcoming Little Book of Transformative Community Conferencing. He will present on "Transforming Historical Harms: Performing Historical and Spiritual Narratives to Transform Race, Privilege, Fear, and Faith." Considering contemporary racialized conflicts in the US, referencing efforts in Mississippi, Greensboro, North Carolina following its Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and dialogue among descendants of former enslavers and enslaved, Hooker will consider the impact of multi-generational trauma on the performance of identity and the use of spiritual narratives as hindrance or help in pursuit of transformation and reconciliation.

The event will be moderated by Catherine Brekus, Charles Warren Professor of the History of Religion in America.

Co-sponsored by the Racial Justice and Healing Initiative at Harvard Divinity School. With generous support from the El-Hibri Foundation.

Recommended Readings

Short List

  • Leah Gunning Francis. “Jesus is in the Streets.” In Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community, Chapter 4. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2015.
  • David Anderson Hooker and Amy Pottery Czajkowski. Transforming Historical Harms. Coming to the Table, Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, Eastern Mennonite University, 2013. Give special attention to “Glossary,” 14-16. 

Further Reading

  • Leah Gunning Francis. Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2015.
  • David Anderson Hooker. The Little Book of Transformative Community Conferencing. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. Forthcoming, July 2016.
  • Gerald Monk and John Winslade, When Stories Clash: Addressing Conflict with Narrative Mediation (Focus Book). Chagrin Falls, OH: Taos Institute Publications, 2012.

Watch video: March 2016 Colloquium on Transforming Radicalized Divides

Dr. Marc Gopin speaks about his peacebuilding experience at the RPP Colloquium.RPP Colloquium: Humanitarianism, Religion, and Peace Practice

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Dr. Marc Gopin, Director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (CRDC), the James H. Laue Professor at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, will present “The Ethical and Spiritual Foundations of Judaic Conflict Resolution Practice and Peacebuilding: A Thirty Year Journey.” 

Successful long-term peacebuilding is founded on how we discipline ourselves to think, feel and act—as individuals, as communities, and as civilizations. Unbounded empathy, for example, is essential to the reasoning necessary to create universal moral intuitions and ethical/political rules. Women and men are essential to this process as equals; this creates the most peace. Judaism has a reservoir of ancient wisdom sayings and rules that sometimes generate this vital evolution of peace practice.

Dr. Elizabeth H. Prodromou, Visiting Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, will present  “Orthodox Christianity, Humanitarianism, and Peacebuilding: Crisis, Sustainability, Human Security."

Orthodox Christian thought and practices are providing critical, innovative, and continuous resources for some of the world's most urgent humanitarian and peacebuilding needs, whether generated by conflict-related crises or by sustainable development challenges. This talk introduces the lived theology of Orthodox Christianity as it relates to the field of humanitarianism and, more broadly, to ideas about humanitarianism as they relate to peace. A stylized sampling of cases will be drawn from the Byzantine period, the pre-nation-state period, and this contemporary (neo-post) Westphalian era, with suggestive conclusions about how Orthodox Christian experiences with humanitarianism can help to enrich current social science and practitioner approaches to human security as intrinsic to peace.

This event will be moderated by Visiting Professor of Religion and Politics Jocelyne Cesari, director of The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies' Islam in the West program.

With generous support from the El-Hibri Foundation.

Recommended Readings

Short List

  • Marc Gopin. "New Paradigms of Religion and Conflict Resolution: A Case Study of Judaism." In Between Eden and Armageddon: The Future of World Religions, Violence, and Peacemaking. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, 167-195.
  • Andrea Paras and Janice Gross Stein. Chapter 9: "Bridging the Sacred and the Profane in Humanitarian Life." In Sacred Aid: Faith and Humanitarianism, edited by Michael Barnett and Janice Gross Stein, 211-240. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Further Reading from Dr. Gopin:

  • Marc Gopin. Bridges Across an Impossible Divide: The Inner Lives of Arab and Jewish Peacemakers. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Marc Gopin. Holy War, Holy Peace: How Religion Can Bring Peace to the Middle East. Auckland; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Marc Gopin. To Make the Earth Whole: The Art of Citizen Diplomacy in an Age of Religious Militancy. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009.

Further Reading from Dr. Prodromou:

  • Susan Holman. Introduction: "Placing the Poor," and Chapter 1: "Leitourgia and the Poor in the Early Christian World." In The Hungry Are Dying: Beggars and Bishops in Roman Cappadocia, by Susan Holman, 3-30, 31-63. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Kyrou, Alexandros. "Ethnicity as Humanitarianism: The Greek American Relief Campaign for Occupied Greece, 1941-1944." In New Directions in Greek American Studies, edited by Dan Georgakas and Charles C. Moskos, 111-128. New York: Pella Publishing, 1991.
  • International Orthodox Christian Charities.  
  • Michael Barnett and Thomas G. Weiss. Chapter 6: "Humanitarianism's Past and Possible Futures: Ten Guiding Questions." In Humanitarianism Contested: Where Angels Fear to Tread, by Michael Barnett and Thomas G. Weiss, 105-127. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, England; New York: Routledge, 2011.
  • James K. Wellman, Jr. and Clark Lombardi. Chapter 1: "Religion and Human Security: An Understudied Relationship." In Religion and Human Security: A Global Perspective, edited by James K. Wellman, Jr. and Clark Lombardi, 1-17. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Watch video: April 2016 Colloquium on Humanitarianism

Professor Diane Moore and CEO of Tanenbaum Joyce Dubensky take questions from the audience.RPP Colloquium: The Evolving Field of Religious Peacebuilding: Tanenbaum's Peacemakers in Action, Volume II

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hind Kabawat, director of Interfaith Peacebuilding, George Mason University’s Center for World Religions Diplomacy & Conflict Resolution, and Tanenbaum Peacemaker in Action.

Tanenbaum CEO Joyce Dubensky and Tanenbaum’s Syrian Peacemaker Hind Kabawat discuss Tanenbaum’s groundbreaking new book Peacemakers in Action: Profiles in Religious Peacebuilding Volume II. As a religiously-motivated peacemaker working in Syria and surrounding areas, Kabawat shares insights on the challenges and opportunities in religious peacebuilding. Dubensky explores the evolving field of religious peacebuilding and the individuals who make it their profession—including Tanenbaum Peacemakers, who so often work in violent conflicts and now collaborate through their Peacemakers Network for in-country interventions.

The event will be moderated by HDS Senior Lecturer on Religious Studies and Education Diane L. Moore, director of the Religious Literacy Project.

Co-sponsored by the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School. With generous support from the El-Hibri Foundation.

Recommended Readings

Short List

  1. Hind Kabawat, Lingering Questions Surround Geneva III, article, The Huffington Post, online, Feb 12, 2016.
  2. Hind Kabawat, Riyadh Conference: What Makes It Different?, article, The Huffington Post, online, December 16, 2015.

Further Reading

  • Tanenbaum, "Underground Woman: Sakena Yacoobi and the Afghan Institute of Learning, Afghanistan." In Peacemakers in Action: Profiles in Religion and Conflict Resolution. Edited by David Little. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007, 382-401.
  • David Little, "Religion, Violent Conflict, and Peacemaking." In Peacemakers in Action: Profiles in Religion and Conflict Resolution. Edited by David Little. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007, 429-448.
  • Tanenbaum's Combating Extremism resource that features Hind Kabawat:
  1. Testimony at U.S. House Committee Hearing on the Islamic State and Religious Minorities: a resource sheet about Hind Kabawat
  2. Hind Kabawat’s Full Testimony at the U.S. House Committee Hearing on the Islamic State and Religious Minorities

Watch video: May 2016 Colloquium on Religious Peacebuilding