Last week in Myanmar, ethnic and religious clashes between majority-group Rakhine Buddhists and minority-group Rohingya Muslims left at least a dozen dead and thousands displaced.
Posts Tagged ‘conflict’
In May of 2010, I sat down for a conversation with the legendary human rights advocate Sidney Jones of the International Crisis Group. Jones and I had just come out of an intense two day workshop at the SSRC on religion, peacebuilding, and development in Mindanao, organized in conjunction with the SSRC’s project on religion and international affairs. Participants in the workshop included scholars and peacebuilders from the United States, Mindanao, Japan, and Indonesia.
This summer in Kenya I was able to observe one such community health asset mapping project in the informal settlement of Mukuru, in Nairobi. The work of Emory’s Interfaith Health Program (IHP) in Mukuru has led to a greater understanding of the informal networks that exist in a community that is often marked by its invisibility—both on physical maps (until this project, Mukuru was not visible on maps of Nairobi) and to international and state-level actors (where much of the actual religious and health-related work happening in Mukuru was not recognized or acknowledged). Mapping, in the sense of identifying the myriad ways people understand and seek out healing and literally mapping these places (using GPS handhelds) provides a counter to the ways that real people can become marginal in international and national scholarly and practical debates around health, development, and human rights.
After spending two years earning her master’s degree at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies—and having previously been a visiting fellow at the Institute—Myla Leguro recently returned to her native Mindanao, a violence-ridden island in the southern Philippines. There, for more than two decades, she has been working for Catholic Relief Services to forge peaceful relationships between rival indigenous, Muslim, and Christian groups, as well as the government in Manila. For Leguro, practice comes before theory, and the local precedes the national and the global. When she thinks about religion, too, practical, context-specific steps toward getting different communities talking with each other trump concerns about abstract doctrines or clashing civilizations.
As director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Mark Juergensmeyer brings the sociology of religion to bear on the analysis of violent conflict in the contemporary world. His recent books include Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State and Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence, both published by University of California Press, and he is currently working on God and War, based on his 2006 Stafford Little Lectures at Princeton University. Together with the SSRC’s Craig Calhoun and Jonathan VanAntwerpen, he is a co-editor of the forthcoming volume Rethinking Secularism. We spoke at his home office at UCSB, perched atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The United States Institute of Peace, the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and the World Faiths Development Dialogue have recently initiated a concerted exploration of “the intersection of women, religion, conflict, and peace.” Led by Katherine Marshall (Berkley Center and WFDD) and Susan Hayward (USIP), the project seeks to foster greater attention to women’s roles in conflict situations and peacebuilding efforts.
On April 12, the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life at Columbia University will host a conversation and book signing with Nicholas D. Kristof, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and columnist for the New York Times.