About Us

The Project on Religion and Ethics in the Making of War and Peace is based at the University of Edinburgh, and works with a network of partners across the world, both within academia and from militaries and humanitarian and peace-building organisations.

The Project is based at New College, the home of the University of Edinburgh’s religious studies, theology and ethics programming, and is closely associated with the Just World Institute, housed within the School of Social and Political Science, and with a range of other centres and schools within the University of Edinburgh. The Project relies on this interdisciplinary environment in its aspiration to treat complex and controversial ethical problems, and to provide rigorous studies on the relationships between military, political and religious dimensions of the making of war and peace today and in the past.

Research currently conducted by the Project team focuses on

* the effectiveness of military ethics education, and the relationship between secular and religious standards of ethics invoked in the military and by humanitarian organisations

• the scope for grassroots post-conflict reconciliation processes – using expertise developed in work on Bosnia-Herzegovina, it is now extending its reach to other parts of the Former Yugoslavia and to the Middle East

• public discussion of today’s burning ethical dilemmas – the ethical basis for humanitarian interventions, the breakdown of agreed rules in warfare, the death of civilians as a result of military campaigns, and the difficulty of engendering long-term peace through negotiation

• models for sustained cross-conflict interreligious dialogue about international law and illegitimate warfare, about the scope for common responses and about the role of religious actors in post-conflict periods

• lessons to be learnt from historical wars for today’s armed conflicts, moving beyond the generalizations which often cloud discussion of the involvement of Christians, Muslims and other cultures and ideologies in war and peace-making

The Project works with a range of scholars also associated with the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at New College, concerned with the use and abuse of theology and ethics in armed conflict and in peacebuilding initiatives. Project initiatives underway include collaborative reflections on the invocation of apocalyptic, millenarian and rationalist tropes in justifying armed conflict, and discourses of practicality in Jewish, Christian and Muslim understandings of the nature of contemporary reconciliation processes.

Researchers and practitioners are welcome to join our global Network. and the British International Studies Association Working Group on Religion, Security and International Relations, whose webpages are hosted by the Project here. On this website, you may also find further information about our work on the International Committee of the Red Cross, and on reconciliation in Bosnia-Herzegovina.