Kroc faculty participate in peace-building conference

Author: Dennis Brown and Julie Titone


Five University of Notre Dame faculty members participated in the Second International Conference on Catholic Peacebuilding, held inDavaoCity,Mindanao,Philippines.

Conducted from July 11 to 15, the conference brought together 75 Catholic peace-builders from 21 countries who hoped to draw insights from the churchs experience of building peace inMindanao.

The selection ofMindanaofor this conference is a tribute to the efforts of the Catholic, Muslim and indigenous communities to find peaceful solutions to the violence that has caused so much suffering,said Archbishop Fernando Capalla, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Davao.We are deeply grateful for the continued support from so many who share our joys and concerns about peace.

The conference was sponsored by the Catholic Peacebuilding Network (CPN), which is composed of practitioners, academics, clergy and laity. It has been spearheaded by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Notre Dames Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.AmongMindanaoconference participants were Kroc Institute faculty members Scott Appleby, Gerard Powers, Martha Merritt, Daniel Philpott, and John PaulLederach. Also present were three Notre Dame peace studies graduate students who are serving as interns with CRS inSoutheast Asia.

“The conference confirmed the value of connecting Catholic peace-builders from different countries, as well as the value of connecting peace-builders with scholars from the Kroc Institute and others specializing in religion and peace,” said Powers, who chairs the CPN steering committee.

Through its meetings, research, Web site and listserv, the CPN aims to deepen bonds of solidarity among Catholic peace-builders, share and analyze best practices, expand the peace-building capacity of the Church in areas of conflict, and encourage the further development of a theology of a just peace.

Other organizations actively involved in CRN are Maryknoll, the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Center for International Social Development at the Catholic University of America, the SantEgidio Community in the United States, and Pax Christi International.

I am terribly impressed with the maturity of the dialogue process and the spirit of collaboration we found inMindanao,said Bishop John Cummins, liaison to the Federation of Asian BishopsConferences for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.After returning from two days of visits to local communities, he noted,I am convinced that the impressive peace-building work of the Catholic community hereprovides a firm foundation for addressing the remaining obstacles to peace inMindanao.

Adele Sowinska of Catholic Relief Services Sudan added,The experience of Mindanao will greatly assist us in designing programs which more effectively address the challenges we face in the post-conflict period inSudan.

The program for theMindanaoconference and the list of participants is available on the Catholic Peacebuilding Network Web site: .

_ Contact: Gerard Powers, Kroc Institute, 574-631-3765 or _

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