Panel and Discussion: Pluralism and the Practice of Peacebuilding

Thursday, September 22nd from 3:15-4:45 pm
Sperry Room, Andover Hall, Harvard Divinity School, 42 Francis Ave.
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Preeta Bansal:
Preeta Bansal is a leader whose career has been at the intersection of law, public policy, government, academia, and global business. She is President of Social Emergence Corporation, a not-for-profit corporation focused on empowering human networks at the base of global socio-economic pyramid. She is also a Lecturer at the MIT Media Lab and a Senior Advisor at MIT’s Laboratory for Social Machines. Previously, Ms. Bansal has served as a global general counsel for HSBC Holdings plc in London; general counsel and senior policy advisor in the Obama White House (Office of Management and Budget); partner and practice chair of leading international law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in New York City; Solicitor General of the State of New York; and Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal government human rights commission focused on religious freedom and interfaith cooperation. She is currently a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which is focused on addressing poverty and inequality. Ms. Bansal is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard-Radcliffe College and a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (1990-1991). She is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Chatham House. She has served on numerous nonprofit boards including as a commissioner on New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s bipartisan Election Modernization Task Force, as an Advisory Committee member of the Clinton Global Initiative, and as a Board Member of the International Center for Research on Women.

Patrice Brodeur: Dr. Patrice Brodeur is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair on Islam, Pluralism, and Globalization at the University of Montréal. He has studied interreligious conflict and dialogue, particularly in the context of Israeli-Palestinian relations, and is a long-time affiliate with the Pluralism Project and senior advisor to the KAICIID Dialogue Centre. Brodeur also works on integrating education about religion, ethics, and culture into secondary school curricula in Quebec. He has co-edited Pluralist Paradigm: Democracy and Religion in the 21st Century, Building the Interfaith Youth Movement: Beyond Dialogue to Action, and Religion as a Conversation Starter: Interreligious Dialogue for Peacebuilding in the Balkans, 1990-2008. In addition, Dr. Brodeur’s work has also included conducting workshops on multiple identities and power dynamics from an inter-worldview perspective in over fifty countries on all continents. In 2010, he received the “Interfaith Visionary” Award from the Temple of Understanding. Brodeur earned a BA and MA from McGill University and an MA and PhD from Harvard University.

Kathryn Lohre: Kathryn Mary Lohre is the executive for ecumenical and inter-religious relations in the office of the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She is the editor of the book, For Such a Time as This: Young Adults on the Future of the Church (Judson Press, 2013) and consulting editor of the book, Engaging Others, Knowing Ourselves: A Lutheran Calling in a Multi-Religious World (Lutheran University Press, 2016). From 2012-2013 she served a two-year term as president of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, as the first Lutheran and the youngest woman. From 2003-2011, she served as assistant director of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University. Kathryn earned her BA in psychology, religion, and women’s studies from St. Olaf College in 1999 and her Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School in 2003. In May 2011, the Graduate Theological Foundation conferred an honorary Doctor of Divinity to Kathryn, “in recognition of her election as president-elect of the National Council of Churches and also in recognition of her contributions to women’s interfaith issues and pluralism,” Kathryn is married to the Rev. Tim Seitz and they have four children.

Melissa Nozell: Melissa Nozell is a program specialist for Religion and Peacebuilding 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 Divinity School.

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