Pepperdine's Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution formalized a partnership with the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD) on Nov. 5 when representatives from both groups sat down to sign a Memorandum of Understanding.
President and founder of ICRD, Dr. Douglas Johnston, met with School of Law dean Ken Starr, and Tim Pownall, director of the Straus Institute's PACIS project, and agreed to work together in one of the first partnerships of its kind. The ICRD organization, which has more than 10 years of experience on the ground in the Middle East, committed to supporting the PACIS project as they venture into Kashmir, the Middle East, and Israel/Palestine.
The PACIS project (pacis means peace in Latin) comprises Pownall and adjunct professors Brian Cox and Michael Zacharia. The project seeks to intervene in conflicted sites, train indigenous religious and political leaderships in faith-based reconciliation, and prepare the next generation of faith-based diplomats.
ICRD serves as a bridge between religion and politics. They deploy inter-religious action teams to trouble spots and train religious leaders and laity in the tasks of peacemaking. The organization has been commended by then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell; Senator John Danforth, then U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.; Robert McFarlane, former U.S. National Security Advisor; and many others.
Pownall looks forward to the partnership. "The marriage between ICRD and the PACIS project is a wonderfully complementary alliance," he says.
To learn more about the PACIS project, visit the Straus Institute Web site.