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Our approach


ICRD's mission is to Bridge Religious Considerations with Global Peacebuilding Policy and Practice


ICRD envisions A World in which Religious and Spiritual Values Advance Peace and Reconciliation

Beyond Traditional Diplomacy

Religious convictions are a principal source of values for nearly 85% of the global community. As such, these convictions can be a significant factor in promoting divisiveness and enmity—or in building the trust needed to overcome violent conflict. Because the influence of religious, ethnic and tribal identities is frequently stronger than that of governments, the challenge of addressing conflict and violent religious extremism (VRE) often exceeds the reach of traditional diplomatic or military intervention. ICRD confronts this reality by employing a unique range of capabilities that effectively engage the belief systems and core values found at the heart of identity–based conflicts. In this effort, ICRD maximizes programmatic impact by integrating its community-based approach with other peacebuilding efforts, particularly those of governments.


How do we strengthen the role of women of faith in peacebuilding?


How do we facilitate constructive dialogue and promote reconciliation between adversaries?


How do we build the capacity of faith actors to resolve conflicts and mitigate violent extremism?


How do we inform public policy about important issues of religion and conflict?


How do we enhance themes of tolerance in religious education?


How do we build resilient networks across religious traditions and civil society?

UN-ECOSOC Consultative Status

ICRD holds official consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

Organizational Report


Very often, women possess unique experiences and capacities that enable them to play a critical role in peacebuilding. Unfortunately, this role has gone unrealized in many conflict spaces as a result of institutional and cultural marginalization. ICRD is dedicated to supporting female leadership, particularly in societies where the challenges faced by women and girls are the most severe.

ICRD works to empower women peacebuilders to recognize and bring to bear their particular abilities and insights. In some contexts, this means leveraging their credibility as professionals, parents, educators, or non-combatants. In others, it means working alongside women leaders to influence social spaces that are only accessible to women. Though in many traditional contexts women of faith are excluded from serving in formal religious positions, they nonetheless play a critical, informal role in shaping the attitudes of the community.

Across all of these efforts, ICRD remains acutely sensitive to the fact that constructive collaboration across gender divides is a key element in strengthening the role of women as leaders

Across all of these efforts, ICRD remains acutely sensitive to the fact that constructive collaboration across gender divides is a key element in strengthening the role of women as leadersAcross all of these efforts, ICRD remains acutely sensitive to the fact that constructive collaboration across gender divides is a key element in strengthening the role of women as leaders


Religious faith and spirituality can be powerful forces in helping people to transcend ego, greed, pain, hatred and other drivers of conflict. ICRD works with a wide diversity of faith actors and communities to identify and access those values within their own tradition that support forgiveness, empathy, and respect for the other.

ICRD facilitates difficult discussions between divided or adversarial communities by grounding its engagement in commonly-held values. This shared foundation in transcendent values can enable individuals to confront and overcome otherwise insurmountable barriers to reconciliation, such as historical grievances, mutual fear, or resource shortages.

This approach is not solely intended for conflicts across religions. ICRD’s model of reconciliation allows conflict-affected communities to address deeply-held hostilities that are wholly unrelated to religious identity. To ensure that this model can extend beyond the immediate beneficiaries, ICRD equips local peacebuilders with the skills and knowledge necessary to bring reconciliation efforts to scale.


ICRD provides expert guidance and training to faith actors, and the civil society organizations that work with them, on how to more effectively identify and analyze the local causes of conflict and extremist violence. ICRD then works with these actors to integrate conflict resolution techniques from the international field of practice with traditional methods from their respective context.

The drivers of violent extremism and other conflicts are deeply dependent upon local conditions. ICRD utilizes a participant-driven approach that allows beneficiaries to adapt the training content according to their own cultural, historical, and spiritual frames of reference. In this way, ICRD builds on the existing capacity of religious actors to serve as peacebuilders in their community.

With support and mentorship from ICRD, these peacebuilders are mobilized in their respective communities to lead new grassroots initiatives and serve as agents of change. By empowering individuals and organizations that are committed to peace, ICRD leaves behind improved local capacity to respond to existing and unforeseen social conflicts.


Far too often, in the realm of international policy, religion is either overlooked or treated merely as a source of conflict and division. ICRD works to change this narrative by demonstrating and articulating the positive role that religion and religious actors can play in building peace.

ICRD has developed collaborative relationships with the U.S. State Department, the United Nations, and various national and international civil society networks to promote a more nuanced and constructive understanding of the potential role of religion in mitigating conflict.

To better inform policy-makers, ICRD produces action-oriented research and analysis on sensitive issues that serves as the basis for behind-the-scenes engagements with key national stakeholders both within the U.S. and abroad.


Education plays a critical and formative role in shaping youth attitudes toward identity differences and the use of violence. To ensure that education fosters tolerance, rather than hatred, ICRD has facilitated efforts to train religious educators, develop new teaching materials, implement critical thinking pedagogy, and petition for the removal of inflammatory content.

ICRD works to transform educational spaces that promote discriminatory beliefs by cultivating a shared interest in implementing reforms. To better prepare students to seek gainful employment or engage with a pluralist global community, educators must teach students to think critically, seek alternatives to violence, and co-exist with people that hold different or opposing religious views. ICRD frames all of its engagement with religious educators in terms that are respectful of local cultural and religious heritage. In this way, ICRD supports and enhances organic change from within the educational environment.


Promoting sustained collaborative partnerships between otherwise disparate stakeholders is key to countering extremism and breaking cycles of violence. This means that members of different religions and sects must not only work together to achieve peace, they must also work with educators, local government officials, business leaders, legal and academic experts, and activists as one community.

ICRD facilitates the development of engaged networks of peacebuilders by using shared values to bridge different faith traditions, civil society sectors, and marginalized and majority communities. Through these networks, peacebuilders collaborate to address issues of mutual concern and, in the process, build relationships that will provide additional capacity and support to face the challenges of the future.