Religious challenges in civil society peacebuilding

By Simon Barrow
October 20, 2012

'Peace Building, Peace Keeping and Conflict Resolution: The Civil Society Contribution' is the overall theme for an international symposium to launch the Edinburgh Peace Initiative.

It runs from 20-22 October, and on the Monday I will be facilitating a PeaceLab on the relationship between religious commitments and notions of civil society and common good in a public sphere involving both 'religious' and 'secular' populations. This is part of a strand on 'Challenges for Civil Society Peace-Building: Religion in Secular and Religious Conflicts'.

The symposium is organised by the EPI and the University of Edinburgh’s Relwar Project, with the involvement of other civil society organisations - including the Centre for Theology and Public Issues, also at Edinburgh University, with which I have recently become involved. Ekklesia is of course very pleased to be associated with this programme.

The overall headline objectives are:

* Bringing the experience of Scotland’s peace-builders together to create innovative peace-building for the future – in particular fostering understanding and cooperation between practitioners, academics, NGOs, community bodies, educational initiatives and political parties

* Developing traction for the work of specialist and public organisations dedicated to building the conditions for peace at home and across the globe – helping EPI contributors to identify concrete objectives and partnerships

* Building understanding of how individuals and civil society groups are involved in peace-building processes, and how they can increase their impact on peace-building work – the focus here is on the very challenging processes essential to addressing social and political conflicts

* Creating vehicles for networking, innovation and engagement in concrete commitments

The Edinburgh Peace Initiative promotes Edinburgh as a City of Peace and endorses activities that foster peacebuilding within and between individuals, families, communities and states, bringing together those individuals, and civic society organisations that advocate peace-making in all its forms, for the good of humanity.


(c) Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia, and has had a long-standing interest and involvement in peacemaking and peacebuilding. He is a co-founder of the Centre for Living Christianity (CLiC), based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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