Religion, Politics, and Violence

With continuing and rising conflicts around the world that, at least on the surface, seem to have a religious element, questions about the relationship between religion and conflict emerge. Does religion provoke and sanction violence and conflict, or is religion sometimes blamed when the reality is that political failings lie behind the prevalence and exacerbation of violent conflict?

This event explored where the worlds of religion, politics, and violence intersect and sought to discern the exact nature of the relationship between these three hugely significant features of human existence–particularly in today’s world, but also with an eye to the lessons of history. Participants reflected on the ethical, historical, philosophical, and theological components of this issue, and discussion also focused on religion as a valuable resource for understanding and overcoming conflict and violence.


​3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. | Seminar Led by Debora Tonelli

4:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. | Coffee Break

4:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. | Keynote: Is Religion Dangerous?

  • Keith Ward, Oxford University and Heythrop College, London 
  • With introduction by Gerard Mannion, Georgetown University

4:45 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. | Presentations: Religion, Politics, and Violence

  • Debora Tonelli, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Trento, Italy, "Researching Religion and Violence"
  • Drew Christiansen, Georgetown University, "Nuclear Abolition: Negotiating a Legally Binding Ban on Nuclear Weapons"
  • Irene Jillson, Georgetown University, "Youth and Peacebuilding in the MENA Region"
  • Leo Lefebure, Georgetown University, "Theology, Empire, Race"

6:00 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. | Response to Keynote and Presentations

  • Peter Phan, Georgetown University

6:15 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. | Reception

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