Religion, Conflict & Peacebuilding


Religion plays a complex role in modern conflicts, serving as both an inspiration for violence and a powerful force for peace. Kroc Institute faculty and fellows have published widely on the roots of religious violence and the potential for religious communities and movements to work for peace.

The study of religion in conflict and peacebuilding has been a major focus of Kroc Institute research since 2000, when Kroc Institute director Scott Appleby invited the first of 16 scholars of religion and peacebuilding to become visiting fellows at the Kroc Institute. Many of these year-long fellowships, which resulted in a substantial body of work, were funded by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation.

Today, about a third of the Kroc Institute’s core faculty members focus most of their research and writing on religion, conflict, and peacebuilding. The work has evolved into 2 distinct strands: Contending Modernities, which examines the interaction of religious and secular actors in the modern world; and Catholic Peacebuilding Network, which seeks to enhance the study and practice of Catholic peacebuilding.

Kroc faculty primarily working in this area include:

Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean, Keough School of Global Affairs; professor of history
Emmanuel Katongole, professor of theology and peace studies
Rashied Omar, research scholar of Islamic studies and peacebuilding
Atalia Omer, professor of religion, conflict, and peace studies
Gerard Powers, director of Catholic peacebuilding studies; coordinator, Catholic Peacebuilding Network
Jason Springs, professor of religion, ethics, and peace studies