Religion and Peacebuilding: Reflections on Current Challenges and Future Prospects, by Mohammed Abu-Nimer

Despite the great deal of achievements seen in the field over the last two decades—which has been well documented by leading institutions like the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Religion and Peacebuilding Center, the University of Notre Dame Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, and others—there are short comings and limitations that ought to be addressed. However, it should be emphasized that identifying these limitations or gaps is not a critique of USIP or the World Parliament of Religions, or Al-Azhar dialogue initiative, etc. These limitations exist across the board and are not associated with one specific organization, country or program.

This article focuses on some of the possible areas that the field of religious peacebuilding has yet to successfully address or explore, both in terms of research and practice. Specifically, four questions were identified in order to focus the discussion: 1) What are the main issues that the field has not examined in its practice and research? 2) What are some of the major future possible directions? 3) What are the cutting edge initiatives that are emerging, i.e. the “frontier work”? 4) How can the field of religion and peacebuilding be better integrated with other sectors in the larger field of peace and conflict resolution (PCR)? What follows is a discussion that speaks to these questions by identifying key issues and gaps within religion and peacebuilding.

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