OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

usiplogo.gif (1499 bytes)

International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Church Involvement

Opening Page | Glossary | Menu Shortcut Page

Religion is a very strong integrative factor for most people, although it can be divisive as well when different religious groups oppose each other. Nevertheless, churches can be a strong influence in moderating or resolving conflict. They tend to place a high value on human life and peace; many also emphasize the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation of differences.

A few religions--the Quakers and the Mennonites, for example--have a strong tradition of peacebuilding around the globe. But many other churches and religious groups have become involved in peace and justice issues as well. The Moravian Church in Nicaragua, for example, actively pursued peacemaking between the East Coast Miskito Indians and the Sandinista government during the Nicaraguan war. As is evident in the examples below, religious leaders have been active peacemakers and peacebuilders in many other parts of the world as well. Often they are considered more trustworthy than political figures because they do not have a conflict of interest as many political leaders do.  Given the extent of their influence, churches can be a very effective integrative and peacemaking force, when they decide to do so.


Links to Examples of Church Involvement in Peacemaking:

David Brubaker -- Reconciliation in Rwanda: The Art of the Possible
This is an article about peacebuilding efforts of church leaders in Rwanda.
Clem McCarthy -- Conflict Resolution In Northern Ireland: Reconciling Form and Substance
This article describes church leaders acting as mediators in the Irish conflict.
Dennis Sandole and Hugo van der Merwe -- Transactional forgiveness has some success in El Salvador
This is a short story about peacebuilding activities of Salvadorean priests.
Ron Kraybill -- Directors' Circle
The director of the Mennonite Conciliation Service describes how religious people can often make more effective mediators than political figures.
Religion and Reconciliation in Bosnia
This article describes efforts by religious leaders in Bosnia to encourage a dialogue between different ethnic groups.
Thomas Princen --Joseph Elder: Quiet Peacemaking in a Civil War
This is an interview with Quaker mediator Joseph Elder on his peacemaking efforts in Sri Lanka.
Virgil Peterson - The Power of Stories
This is an article about a Rabbi helping people reframe their conflict to make it more manageable, and to put it in the proper perspective.
Donald Bossart - Rhodesia to Zimbabwe: Lessons for Mediators
This article shows how churches can mobilize public opinion to influence the progress of a conflict and its resolution.

Links to Outside Sources of Information

Mennonite Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation:  A Cultural Analysis From the New Zealand Institute for Dispute Resolution Archives

Religious Nationalism and Human Rights - United States Institute of  Peace    
This article discusses the impact of religious nationalism on human rights, stressing the importance of tolerance of differences, rather than the intolerance which is common with religious nationalism.

Swazi Christians hold peace workshops for Hutu and Tutsi refugees

US Institute of Peace--Balkan Religious Leaders Support Minority Rights

The Quaker Peace Education Project 1988-1994 Developing Untried Strategies

Community Relationships--The Churches and Inter
This is a summary of a study done in Northern Ireland by the Center for the Study of Conflict, University of Ulster.

David Little and Paul Mojzes--Religion and the Future of Intercommunal Relations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Former Yugoslavia


Links to Related Approaches:

Identify Integrative Options


Dialogue Projects


Links to Related Problems:

Too many to list.

Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu