International Peacemaking Program
Hartford Seminary Peacemaking Fellows
Plowshares Peacemaking Fellows
With long-established expertise in interfaith dialogue, Islamic studies, and Christian-Muslim relations, Hartford Seminary is at the forefront of training leaders for peacemaking between religions, especially where there is conflict and the potential for tension and violence.
The groundbreaking International Peacemaking Program was initiated in 2004, and has since brought more than 34 young leaders from countries where there is interreligious conflict for a year of study and peacemaking practice. Graduates of the IPP have returned home and are making a real difference in places like Nigeria, Indonesia, Iraq, Pakistan, the Philippines, Iran and India. Through grants from private foundations, communities of faith, and individuals committed to peace, the Seminary offers a limited number of annual IPP scholarships to Christian, Muslims and Jews, which attract qualified, committed candidates from around the world.
In 2014, recognizing both the growing religious diversity and potential for conflict within the United States, and the need for Christian leadership in interfaith engagement in American cities, the Seminary launched, with the generous support of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, an opportunity for American students to participate in the IPP. Hartford Seminary Peacemaking Fellows are seminary students, denominational leaders, and NGO employees with a commitment to peaceful religious coexistence in the American context. In 2015, the Seminary received scholarship funding from the Plowshares Institute, which for more than 30 years has cultivated global peacemaking through mediation, conflict resolution training and travel seminars. Plowshares Peacemaking Fellows participate in the International Peacemaking Program and are selected from candidates who embody the values of Plowshares, including a deep commitment to apply their new skills and insights to their country or region upon their return. Candidates from South Africa, China and northern India, areas of particular interest to Plowshares, are especially encouraged to apply.
Please note: the International Peacemaking Program, Hartford Seminary Peacemaking Fellows and Plowshares Peacemaking Fellows scholarship applications are distinct, and funded from different sources. All peacemaking program scholarships require academic admission to the Graduate Certificate program for scholarship consideration. Ms. Tina Demo, Director of Recruitment and Admission (firstname.lastname@example.org), should be consulted first in regard to completion of the academic application to the Graduate Certificate program. For more information about the scholarship application process, contact Coordinator Phoebe Milliken at email@example.com or 860-509-9552.
The application deadline for all peacemaking programs is March 15.
Participants in the International Peacemaking Program, along with Hartford Seminary Peacemaking Fellows and Plowshares Peacemaking Fellows, spend an academic year studying interfaith dialogue, conflict transformation, and leadership skills. They live in intentionally interfaith housing on campus, spend time in local faith communities, and receive training in public speaking and engagement.
Upon completion of the required 18-credits (6 full courses), all scholarship recipients receive a Graduate Certificate in either Interfaith Dialogue or Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations. Fellows additionally conceive and implement a leadership project as part of their program requirements. These peacemaking programs are designed to be completed within one academic year of full-time study, and it is expected that upon completion, participants return home to put new skills and knowledge into practice. The Seminary continues to provide support to and promotion of graduates’ peacemaking efforts after the experience concludes.
Hartford Seminary’s peacemaking scholarships include tuition, books, travel and housing.
The following is a sampling of courses students might take during their year at the Seminary:
- Dialogue in a World of Difference
- Building Abrahamic Partnerships
- Religion, Conflict and Peacemaking
- Comparative Religious Ethics
- Global Ethics
- Introduction to World Religions
- Religion and Modernity: Christianity and Islam
- Interfaith Leadership Seminar
The International Peacemaking Program has been Hartford Seminary’s flagship scholarship program for nearly a decade. Students and community activists from countries where there is interreligious tension or conflict are invited to apply for one of a limited number of annual IPP scholarships. Participation in the program assumes a commitment to return home and put newly acquired skills to use. As described on the “Peacemaking Scholarship Programs” page, consideration for an International Peacemaking Program scholarship takes place only after academic admission to the Graduate Certificate program is granted. With academic admission in place, candidates must complete the IPP Scholarship Application.
The impact of the IPP experience is best related by those who have participated and then returned home to work for peace. Here is the story of one recent graduate:
As sectarian violence and the destructive influence of ISIS forces swirl around him, International Peacemaking Program graduate Haidar Reda Muhammad pushes forward with his work promoting interreligious understanding.
A native of Bagdhad and a Shi’a Muslim, Haidar came to Hartford Seminary in 2011 to participate in the International Peacemaking Program. After completing his year of study here, Haidar returned home and established a non-profit organization called Ur for Interfaith Dialogue and Peacemaking, the mission of which, he explains, “is to build respectful relationships among diverse individuals and communities and to forge common ground that promotes social justice, peace and freedom among the people.” Ur refers to the ancient city-state in Mesopotamia, now Iraq, the traditional birthplace of Abraham, which remains sacred to many religions, especially the Abrahamic faiths. As a symbol of common ground, Haidar aspires to create that same sense of sacred respect embodied in the city of Ur.
Through guided visits to religious communities, Haidar introduces young people to the variety of religious traditions active in Iraq, confident that awareness of such diversity is the foundation for respectful coexistence. His nonprofit recently organized a party for schoolchildren under the theme, “Our Children, Our Future.” Mostly refugees from Mosul and local orphans, the children played games, did art projects, and received school bags filled with essentials they so need. In addition, Haidar delivers presentations and lectures on non-violence, religious understanding, minorities’ rights, and his own experiences growing up and now working in the midst of violence and tension in Baghdad. His work on the religious diversity in Iraq drew the attention of the TEDxBaghdad team, who recognized the value of Haidar’s approach to raising interfaith awareness, and recently invited him to give TED talk in Baghdad on his efforts (video available at http://tedxbaghdad.com/)
The effectiveness of Hartford Seminary’s International Peacemaking Program in equipping leaders with skills to curb violence in regions of the world where there is religious conflict is well-established. Religious diversity in the United States is increasing, and while not typically marked by violence, lack of awareness and understanding leads to the kind of suspicion and mistrust from which conflict can grow.
Hartford Seminary’s Hartford Institute for Religion Research, with other partners, published the results of an extensive survey of U.S. mosques in 2011, and the data indicates the Muslim population in America is now about 7 million, about the same as the American Jewish population. While there are regional concentrations of Muslims in, for example, Michigan, California, and metropolitan New York, the study also revealed Muslims moving into suburban and rural communities. No matter where, though, Christian leaders today must have the capacity to engage Jews and Muslims—and their own communities—not only as an area of voluntary interest, but as an essential skill for ministry and leadership.
With visionary and generous funding from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Hartford Seminary is able to bring the skill-building strength of the International Peacemaking Program to a select cohort of American Christian leaders, Hartford Seminary Peacemaking Fellows. These fellows follow a course of study with the IPP cohort, including immersion in local faith communities, participation the wider interfaith dialogue network, and training for public speaking and presentation.
American Christians with demonstrated experience in and potential for interfaith dialogue and leadership are invited to apply for one of two annual Hartford Seminary Peacemaking Fellowship scholarships. Participation in the program assumes a commitment to return home and put newly acquired skills to use. As described on the “Peacemaking Scholarship Programs” page, consideration for this scholarship takes place only after academic admission to the Graduate Certificate program is granted. With academic admission in place, candidates must complete the IPP Scholarship Application.
For three decades, the Plowshares Institute has cultivated global peace through mediation, case-based conflict transformation training, and intensive international travel seminars. In late 2014, co-founders Robert and Alice Evans and the Plowshares Board of directors decided to culminate the organization’s work through a set of special grants to selected international partners to empower and sustain their peace education initiatives. The Plowshares Peacemaking Fellows program at Hartford Seminary is the product of one of these grants, enabling promising young peacemakers from countries where Plowshares has been at work to participate in the Seminary’s International Peacemaking Program.
Plowshares Institute has an international reputation as a leader in transformative education. Over the course of its existence, the organization has served as consultants for national and international peace commissions, parliaments and community organizations on five continents; partnered with social justice and peace organizations internationally to train religious, community and government leaders in creative conflict intervention, mediation skills and to build networks of local trainers; and developed global understanding focused on north-south relationships through transformative travel seminars.
Plowshares was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by members of the South African parliament for conflict transformation training programs in the 1990s and empowering leaders to work together. Plowshares Institute has conducted similar training in more than 30 countries, including a three-year program with urban leaders in ten cities in the United States. Their most recent focus has been on China, northeast India and South Africa. Throughout its history, Plowshares made valuable and sustainable impact by leveraging its expertise in innovative mediation methodologies, especially the use of local case studies, its extensive international experience, and mutually beneficial partnerships with change agents around the world.
International students with demonstrated experience in and potential for interfaith dialogue and leadership are invited to apply for one of two annual Plowshares Peacemaking Fellowship scholarships. Participation in the program assumes a commitment to return home and put newly acquired skills to use. As described on the “Peacemaking Scholarship Programs” page, consideration for this scholarship takes place ONLY after academic admission to the Graduate Certificate program is granted. With academic admission in place, candidates must complete the IPP Scholarship Application.