Workshop: From Talk to Action – Advancing Understanding and Practice on Religion, Gender and Youth Inclusion in Peace and Security

Evolving from global consultations and requests, this workshop will engage participants in global conflict analysis and trajectories discussions; the exploration of the intersection between religion, gender and youth inclusion; the sharing of key case studies; evolving more innovative practices; and, advancing possible collaborative peace actions. The workshop is part of the Alliance for Peacebuilding Conference.

When: October 13th at 3:15 pm
FHI 360 1825 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington DC

For more information on the Conference, see:
To view the program, have a look at: Alliance for Peacebuilding Conference Program 2017 (PDF)

Workshop facilitators:

Dr. Asna Husin,  Senior Researcher – Nonviolence International; Associate Professor, Ar-Raniry State Islamic University, Banda Aceh, Indonesia
Dr. Asna Husin teaches Philosophy of Education and Islamic Civilization at the Ar-Raniry State Islamic University Darussalam in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. She currently serves a senior researcher at Nonviolent International in Washington D.C. working on Cultural Resources for Islamic Peace Building. Asna gained a Master’s Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University (1992) and her Doctorate in Religious Studies from Columbia University (1998). Dr. Husin was an Associate Fellow at the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University (1998), while teaching Islamic Civilization as an Adjunct Professor at State University of New York, Old Westbury. Dr. Husin participates in academic conferences worldwide on Islamic peace, human rights and gender equity, Ulama institutions, and civilizational heritage.

Cassandra Lawrence, Public Theology Fellow at the Institute for Community Engagement; MDiv Student, Wesley Theological Seminary (2020)
Cassandra Lawrence is a Public Theology Fellow at the Institute for Community Engagement and an MDiv student class of 2020 at Wesley Theological Seminary. She currently works at the intersection of religion and diplomacy as a consultant, a mediator, teaches negotiation, is an interfaith organizer in Washington, D.C. and works with a team at Foundry UMC on Racial Justice. She has a BA in Religious Studies from the University of British Columbia and masters in comparative ethnic conflict from Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, concentrating on Islamic nonviolence in Palestine.

Edla Puoskari, Program Manager, Network for Religious and Tradiational Peacemakers
Edla Puoskari works as the Progamme Manager at the UN-Initiated Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, and is based in Helsinki, Finland. Her work is focused on supporting collaborations between 50 Network members. She also leads the development of the Tradition and Faith-orientated Insider Mediator platform together with Berghof Foundation and is passionate about inclusive process design. Prior to her current work, she worked as a Special Advisor on Human Rights at the Permanent Delegation of Finland to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and at the OSCE Secretariat. Ms. Puoskari holds a Master in Social Sciences with specialization in International Human Rights Law (Åbo Akademi) and a Bachelor of Economics with a focus on Peace and Conflict Studies (Aberystwyth University).

Jennifer Freeman, Associate Director, Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice
Jennifer Freeman is the Associate Director of the Joan B. KrocInstitute for Peace and Justice (IPJ), in charge of PeaceMakers Programs. To date, her work has involved supporting human rights and peacebuilding programs in nearly a dozen countries. From 2010-2017, Freeman led the institute’s Women, Peace and Security programming, including directing the award-winning Women PeaceMakers Program. She is a recognized expert in gender and peacebuilding, and has developed programs on gendered approaches to violent extremism, and leadership development that facilitates co-learning between peace leaders and private sector leaders. She designed and teaches a graduate and undergraduate course on War, Gender and Peacebuilding, together with the Women PeaceMakers in residence each fall. Freeman holds a BA in political science from the University of Victoria, and an MA (summa cum laude) in peace and conflict studies from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, where she studied on a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship. She is currently pursuing her doctorate, where her research interests includechallenges to women’s peace leadership in post-conflict transitions, and gendered analyses of challenges to more effective insider-outsider collaboration in peacebuilding.

Martine Miller, Director Asia (regional), Inclusive Peace (global) and Libya (lead), Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers
Martine Miller is a mediator and conflict transformation specialist with over 18 years of engaged experience—with communities, government and UN agencies, regional bodies (i.e. EU, AU, ASEAN), and a range of inter/national non-governmental organizations coupled with academic institutions. Her work has engaged her directly in fluid war to post-war reconstruction and development contexts across over 75 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, West to East Europe and North and South America. While engaged directly conducting/advising on conflict assessments, facilitating dialogues, designing, implementing and monitoring peace mediation, building processes to the evolution of networks and communities of practices across these fluid contexts, she works to consistently engage and build the capacity of youth civil society to ensure all processes include these vital stakeholders and evolve from specific local to national and regional contexts.  Ms. Miller derives her formal education linking practical mediation and conflict transformation knowledge and skills from a Masters in International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, a Masters in Politics Post-war Reconstruction and Development, a dual Bachelors in Political Science and International Development, coupled with a range of specialized Certifications in Asian and African Studies, Mediation / Negotiation in War Contexts, Conflict Transformation, etc., as well as engagement in Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation and the International Committee for the Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC).  At current, Ms. Miller is a Director Asia (regional) and Gender (global) for the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers. She also assists as a senior lecturer and advisor for Certificate students at the Peace and Conflict Studies Center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

 Melissa Nozell, Senior Program Specialist – Religions and Inclusive Societies – United States Institute of Peace
Melissa Nozell is a senior program specialist for religion and inclusive societies at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Prior to joining USIP in August 2014, Melissa spent seven months in Amman, Jordan, volunteering with several organizations, including NuDay Syria and Mercy Corps, to help Syrian refugees through humanitarian aid efforts and mediation. She has experience conducting research on religious trends in the U.S. and Middle East through the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center, where she focused on Arab Christian-Muslim relations and faith-based diplomacy, and the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, where she updated and composed reports for the online edition of On Common Ground: World Religions in America. She also worked as an educator in Abu Dhabi. Her interest areas include the implications of religious identity in pluralistic societies, and the ways in which religion can be used as a tool through which to teach human rights in conflict-prevention and reconciliatory capacities, particularly in the Middle East. Melissa holds a bachelor’s degree in Religion and Asian Studies from Colgate University, and a master of theological studies from Harvard University.

Myla Leguro, Interreligious Peacebuilding Program Director, Catholic Relief Services
Myla Leguro is Interreligious Peacebuilding Program Director at Catholic Relief Services.  This global project supports interreligious dialogue and action initiatives in Mindanao, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt and some countries in West Africa. Myla is a trained peacebuilding and development practitioner with 27 years experience in Mindanao, Philippines.  Myla’s engagement in peacebuilding involved supporting local groups and organizations in peace education, interreligious dialogue, grassroots peacebuilding, conflict resolution, peace governance and civil society peace advocacy. She completed her Masters in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame, Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies (USA) in 2010. Myla holds the distinction as being one of the 1,000 women collectively nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.

Sheherazade Jafari, PhD, Director, Point of View International Retreat and Research Center School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR), George Mason University
Jafari, PhD, is a practitioner and scholar of conflict resolution and international relations, with particular expertise in gender, religion, and human rights in peacebuilding and development. She is Director of the Point of View International Retreat and Research Center at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR), where she works with partners within the international peacebuilding community, students, and faculty to develop programming that facilitates conflict resolution and reconciliation processes, trains a new generation of students and practitioners, and advances research to support the development of theory and practice in the field. Dr. Jafari has worked in the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia with both large and small civil society organizations, and is an educator and experienced facilitator of group dialogues, workshops, and trainings, including in taking a more inclusive approach within conflict resolution processes.  Her research has examined how women’s rights activists in Muslim-majority societies are engaging religion and working across religious-secular divides in response to rising politicized religion and extremism. Dr. Jafari’s previous experiences also include overseeing a high-level interfaith youth summit with USIP and the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and leading the Religion and Conflict Resolution Program at the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, where she worked with religious peacemakers from armed conflict zones around the world.  She received her PhD in International Relations from American University, MA in International Affairs from The George Washington University, and BA in Sociology and Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.