CREATING SPACE FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE

The Amsterdam Centre for Religion and Peace & Justice Studies is an academic research centre focusing on issues related to peace and justice at the intersection of religion with interdisciplinary and interreligious approaches. Founded in 2011, it seeks not only to research but also communicate insights by means of education. A prime example is the initiation of the master’s specialisation Peace, Trauma, and Religion. Further examples include publications, conferences, and annual public lectures related to aforementioned themes. In short, the Centre is a platform for exchanging ideas on the topic of peace and justice within the academic community as well as the broader society.

IN SHORT...
OUR MISSION

We are an academic research and education centre focusing on issues of peace and justice at the intersection of religion. Our mission is to bring together perspectives from various disciplines and (religious) outlooks on these matters, to gain insight in them, and to communicate our knowledge to the academic community as well as the broader society.


OUR HISTORY

The Centre was first conceptualised in 2010 as a response to the Mennonite community to develop its identity as one of the Historic Peace Churches. One first step was to establish a chair for Peace-Theology and Ethics at the VU Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam / The Netherlands. The Centre, as an academic and educational institute, should further contribute to that investment.


WHAT WE DO

The means by which we strive to achieve our mission is by organising conferences, summerschools, and public lectures. Gathered insights have been published in books. We initiated a master's specialisation that started in the autumn of 2015, and with these students we will go to Colombia in March 2016 for a seminar on reconciliation theology in the Colombian context.

OUR VALUES

 

  • An inside perspective (identity of a faith community) is essential to establish a meaningful and authentic dialogue between religious actors. An outsider perspective (science) is essential to enlarge the Centre’s circle of researchers, as it allows for critical questions on religious beliefs and behaviour. The Centre embraces both perspectives in order to understand religion’s contribution and potential for peace building as well as its ambivalent dimension in regard to conflict.
  • Some conflicts play out along the lines of religious identities. In most conflicts, religion is a strong orienting factor in people´s judgements and actions. Ignoring that the values hold originate from religious dimensions is ignoring the history of cultures in general.
  • Our understanding of justice extends the boundaries of the individual. The leading questions for a “restorative justice” approach is, how to reintegrate those who threaten the peace of a community and how to heal the harms done to victims in order to liberate and heal them, in order to allow a community of right relations to flourish.
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