Nurturing Peace in Contexts of Global Violence
New York, NY
Religious leaders throughout the world in every faith tradition are challenged today to be active agents of peace. How can schools of theological education and faith-based grass roots organizations that are training religious leaders be more effective in teaching the ways of peace? How can we all advance peacemaking more effectively within our various communities of faith?
This conference will explore these questions as we seek to work together to teach and learn about peacemaking both locally and globally. Bringing together theological educators and others engaged in religious leadership training, we plan to explore existing programs, develop a fuller analysis of what peace means in our diverse religious and cultural our contexts, and plan together for more effective ways of teaching peacemaking.
Each track will start with concrete case studies where peacemaking is taking place; move through reflection and analysis that includes identifying relevant resources; and propose concrete steps for peacemaking at both the curricular level of religious leadership training, and for action.
Participants will be asked to register in advance for a particular conference track, and will be encouraged during the conference to stay within that track. Conference tracks will run simultaneously through the Thursday/Friday portion of the conference.
1. Peacemaking in response to violence against women and children.
Violence against women and children is pervasive throughout our world. This track will explore ways in which alternatives to violence against women and children are being forged within religious communities, protesting injustice, nurturing peace, and empowering women and children. What elements make for building an empowering curriculum of peace in these contexts? Workshops include panel discussions on intimate partner violence, the role of men in ending violence against women and children and faith communities responding to violence against women and children.
Conveners: Nela Navarro (Rutgers), Shaykh TA Bashir (House of Peace) and Sally MacNichol (Connect)
2. Peacemaking in contexts of violence against marginalized communities
Civil rights and human rights remain high on the agenda of peacemaking in the 21st century. Racism continues to be pervasive throughout societies across the globe, while violence against immigrants or guest workers, against people on the basis of sexual orientations, and against people of minority religious status is equally pervasive. Religious leaders must become more effective peacemakers, offering hospitality to strangers and building bridges of reconciliation among peoples of all races, ethnicities, and orientations.
Guest speaker Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr., long time civil rights activist, organizer, and authority on nonviolent social change, co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and core leader of the civil rights movement in Nashville, TN and Selma, AL, leads four workshops in building bridges of reconciliation between peoples of all races, ethnicities and orientations toward effective peacemaking.
Conveners: Philip Lynn (Network for Human Understanding) and Bernard LaFayette Jr. (Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, Candler School of Theology)
3. Peacemaking and religions of the world.
Most major religions disavow violence and teach their adherents pathways toward peace. Yet religion is often implicated in conflicts around the world. This track will explore this paradox within the context of six world religions – Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, African Indigenous Religion, Jainism and Christianity. Rabbi Jo David, Imam Ibrahim Sayar, Ven. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki, Dr. Moses Biney. Mr. Bawa Jain and Sister Camille D’Arienzo will present how different world religions effectively address forms of violence and how religious practitioners and institutions can together forge religious pathways of peace more effectively in a multi-faith world.
Conveners: Moses Biney (NYTS) and TK Nakagaki (Buddhist Council / Interfaith Center)
4. Peacemaking in the face of state sanctioned-violence.
This track will explore various peacemaking relationships and contemporary movements for social transformation. Workshops include a presentation on an emerging world movement called “Restorative Justice”, whose practitioners see just response to crime as centered on healing rather than punishment; a presentation by The World Faiths Development Dialogue, housed at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, on their extensive “mapping” of faith-inspired peace-building and development work and how faith- inspired actors are transforming the social, political, and developmental landscape in Cambodia; the award winning “Beyond Genocide” Visual Art Exhibition – a series of contemporary illuminations exploring the history and legacy of genocide around the world.
Conveners: Stephen Eric Bronner (Rutgers University, U.S. Academics for Peace), Dale Irvin (New York Theological Seminary, US Academics for Peace)
5. Eco-peace: peacemaking for the economy and the ecology.
The economic justice and ecology movements are both fundamentally peace movements seeking to transform beyond the systemic relations of violence against others in the market-place, and violence against the earth itself. This track will explore how religious leaders can become more astute at addressing both of these global crises in our era.
Dr. James Bernard Quilligan, a leader in the field of international development since 1975 will share his vision for the “Great Adjustment” a new economic system which embodies and supports a sustainable human presence on the planet. The workshops will cover theologies, strategies and methods for mobilizing faith communities for religiously based environmental leadership. In addition Dr. Chung Hyun Kyung of Union Theological Seminary and Rev. Fletcher Harper of GreenFaith will lead discussions on eco-feminist theology, the greening of worship, religious education, sustainable facility management, environmental justice advocacy and more.
Conveners: Hyun Kyung Chung (Union Seminary) and Fletcher Harper (Green Faith)
Wednesday, May 22
1:00 – 6pm Excursions to peace-making programs in NY area.
Participants will leave from The Interchurch Center (TIC) at 1 pm for various sites throughout the NYC region to visit selected programs and sites engaged in peacemaking and then return to The Riverside Church, Assembly Hall for a light supper, opening ritual and plenary address.
Museum of Tolerance – A human rights laboratory and educational center dedicated to challenging visitors to understand the Holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts and confront all forms of prejudice and discrimination in our world today
Connect – A leading, non-profit training, educational and advocacy organization dedicated to the prevention and elimination of interpersonal violence in New York City.
United Nations – Office of The Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (SRSG) which serves as the United Nation’s spokesperson and political advocate on conflict-related sexual violence and is the chair of the network UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict.