Can religions promote peacebuilding? Current debates focus almost exclusively on the role of religions in escalating and legitimizing violence. So why do religions regard themselves as peaceful entities whereas reality frequently displays a different picture? Which conditions form the basis for religious communities to act as peace promoters and to support peaceful conflict resolution?
The International Symposium “Religions and World Peace: Religious Communities and Their Potential for Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution” aims at clarifying these central questions. The Symposium, organized by the German Foundation for Peace Research, the Academic Council of the Osnabrueck Peace Forum and the Research Network for Religion and Conflict will take place in Osnabrueck, City of Peace, from October 20th to October 23rd, 2010. By focusing on the peace-promoting and peacebuilding potential of religions in conflicts and conflict resolution, the Symposium addresses a topic with great potential for innovation within academic research, politics and the public debate.
Through lectures and discussions, renowned scholars and moderators are expected to inspire their colleagues and the interested public to further reflect on this significant issue. Prof. Dr. Hans Kueng, founder and president of the World Ethics Foundation, will inaugurate the Symposium with a lecture on “A joint vision for world peace? Religions as a driving force for a culture of peace”. Internationally well-known experts like Mark Juergensmeyer, Scott Appleby and others will deal with the varying concepts of peace and the corresponding self-conception of the five world religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The speakers will further elaborate on the question how religions can contribute to carry out conflicts non-violently and to bring forward sustainable peace processes. On the basis of the latest research results published in sociology, politics, and theology, interdisciplinary researchers like David Little and Daniel Philpott will provide new insights concerning the thematic triangle of religion, conflict and peace. Furthermore, the Symposium emphasizes the practical dimension of religious peacebuilding in different conflict regions in the world which is underlined by related field reports of relevant actors like Mohammed Abu-Nimer or Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela.
The symposium, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, can be expected to create new impulses for the debates evolving around topics such as integration, violence prevention, inter-cultural and inter-religious understanding, conflict resolution and sustainable peacebuilding.