Lisa Schirch joins Kroc Institute as Starmann Chair in Peace Studies

Author: Hannah Heinzekehr

Lisa Schirch, a prominent peace studies scholar and practitioner, has joined the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies as the Richard G. Starmann, Sr. Professor of the Practice in Peace Studies, a role effective July 1, 2022. Schirch is currently on campus as the Richard G. Starmann Sr. Visiting Professorship Chair in Peace Studies during the 2021-22 academic year. 

“Lisa brings to our community exceptional wealth as a scholar, practitioner and teacher,” said Asher Kaufman, John M. Regan, Jr. Director of the Kroc Institute. “She is a scholar-practitioner who is immersed in the canon and tradition of our field and at the same time engaged in ground-breaking research and policy work that pushes the envelope of peace studies in innovative and much-needed directions.”

In addition to presenting several lectures and teaching peace studies classes on the University of Notre Dame campus this year, Schirch has focused on writing a book on digital peacebuilding and peacetech; continuing her work on peace process design in Afghanistan; and researching the links between technology, polarization, migration, climate, peace processes and violent extremism. 

Schirch is well-known across peace studies academic circles. She is the author of 11 books and numerous peer-reviewed chapters and journal articles, and taught for 25 years at Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. 

She also has experience working alongside local partners as part of peacebuilding efforts in locations including Fiji, Afghanistan, and the United States. She has also written extensively about peacebuilding responses to violent extremism, and has provided training on this topic to the U.S. military and NATO. 

“I’m honored and thrilled to be joining the extraordinary community at the Kroc Institute and the broader Keough School of Global Affairs that centers local peacebuilding, social justice, and human dignity,” said Schirch. “I’m excited to work with students and colleagues to find creative ways of responding in these challenging times.”

Schirch holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (now the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution). In addition to her role at the Kroc Institute, Schirch is also a Senior Research Fellow for the Toda Peace Institute, where she directs the Social Media, Technology, and Peacebuilding program. 

Schirch will give a public lecture entitled “Mapping Technologies for Peace and Conflict: From the Weaponization of Social Media to Digital Peacebuilding and Peacetech,” on Tuesday, February 1, at 4:00 p.m. The lecture will take place in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies Auditorium on the Notre Dame campus. 

The Starmann Professorship was previously held by Peter Wallensteen, now Professor Emeritus.