This set of links represents a sampling of religious and inter-religious communities that have taken peace activism as one of their missions. The links include both interfaith peace organizations and peace organizations based in a particular tradition. Our inclusion of a link does not necessarily indicate our support of the views expressed. The initial version of this research report appeared in 2006, was updated in 2008, and again in 2013.
If you have suggestions for organizations to be added to this list, please e-mail the name of the organization and its website to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Fellowship of Reconciliation (1915) – Nyack, NY
FOR is committed to “affirming its diversity of religious traditions as it seeks the resolution of conflict by the united efforts of people of many faiths.” FOR began in support of conscientious objectors during World War I and today organizes grassroots civic action through over 100 local chapters and affiliates across the country. Through the decades, major campaigns have responded to the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, Cold War nuclear testing, U.S. involvement in Vietnam, violence in post-Soviet Eastern Europe, and American military operations in the Middle East. FOR-USA is a branch of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, which oversees affiliates in more than 50 countries.
Hope for Peace and Justice (2004) – Dallas, TX
Hope for Peace and Justice (H4PJ) fosters religious diversity and dialogue as it works to build a network of “progressive people of faith.” Founded by Cathedral of Hope, a congregation of the United Church of Christ, H4PJ seeks to connect and support activists by creating a “cultural orientation/bias toward peace” through programs like Art for Peace and Justice, and training faith communities in nonviolent conflict resolution.
Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (2001) – Los Angeles, CA
ICUJP was founded after September 11, 2001 to promote peaceful resolutions to conflict from a “faith perspective.” In addition to weekly dialogue sessions featuring ACLU workers, nonviolent activists, and faith leaders, ICUJP hosts larger ‘interfaith gatherings’ for leaders city-wide.
Interfaith Paths to Peace (1996) – Louisville, KY
IPP offers programs for the local community such as weekly meditation, interfaith prayer services, lectures, and concerts, as well as engaging in international advocacy and exchange campaigns such as the 2011 “Peace Postcards” project. In 2013, IPP was a partnering sponsor of the Dalai Lama’s visit to Louisville.
Institute for Peace and Justice (1970) – St. Louis, MO
Founded by St. Louis University faculty in response to the Vietnam War, IPJ offers educational resources and programming to promote peaceful alternatives to violence in the U.S. and abroad. Since the publication of Jim and Kathy McGinnis’ Educating for Peace and Justice, A Manual For Teachers (1973), IPJ has developed publications, kits, and other media to aid teachers, parents, and religious leaders in raising nonviolent children. Although resources are generally not tradition-specific, the organization partnered with Pax Christi in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001 to publish “The Things that Make for Peace, a version of the manual for Christian schools and churches.
International Committee for the Peace Council (1995)
The Peace Council is a collection of religious leaders who promote interreligious collaboration to create peace through advocacy, diplomacy, and humanitarian initiatives. Seeking to counter perceptions of faith as violent and divisive, the Council provides “an example of religious leaders working effectively together to relieve suffering and make the world whole.” Today, the Council is made up of twenty-two members, including His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice (2003) www.multifaithpeace.org/index.php
MVPJ organizes public advocacy and civil action campaigns, as well as lectures and events focused on civil liberties and anti-war efforts. In recent years, ending torture has been a central feature of its agenda. (Please note: website may contain outdated information.)
The Peace Abbey (1988) – Sherborn, MA
The Peace Abbey was founded by activist Lewis Randa (who also founded of the nearby Life Experiences School) to create “innovative models for society that empower individuals on the paths of nonviolence, peacemaking, and cruelty-free living.” The Abbey hosted dialogue between leaders such as Mother Teresa, Howard Zinn, Maya Angelou, Muhammad Ali, and Thich Nhat Han and was home to the Pacifist Living History Museum and Pacifist Memorial. While the Peace Abbey closed its doors in 2012, archival materials and artwork are available at the UMass Boston library and the Pacifist Memorial remains open to the public in Sherborn.
Religions for Peace USA (1970s) – New York City, NY
Religions for Peace USA seeks to “gather representatives from the religious communities in the U.S.; promote multireligious cooperation for peace and justice; build on the spiritual, human, and institutional resources of its communities; enhance mutual understanding; and act for the common good.” RFP-USA began as an office of the World Conference of Religions for Peace in the early 1970s and became an independent organization in 2000 with headquarters at the Church Center for the United Nations.
An organizational profile of Religions for Peace USA is available on the Pluralism Project’s website.
Religions for Peace (1970)
Founded in 1970, Religions for Peace seeks to “enable [faith] communities to unleash their enormous potential for common action.” Today, the organization creates multi-religious partnerships dedicated to transforming violent conflict, promoting just and harmonious societies, advancing human development, and protecting the Earth in various regions around the world. Efforts include organizing an international network of religious women’s organizations and establishing the Hope for African Children Initiative, a program to assist the millions of children affected by Africa’s AIDS pandemic.
Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center (1980s) – Honolulu, HI
Based in Honolulu, PJRC began in the 1980s as a project of the Hawaiian Council of Churches to address Indigenous and Native Hawaiian sovereignty and governance, responsible tourism, environmental justice, and conflict resolution. After 9/11, PJRC members helped in the development of the U.N. Decade of Peace and Nonviolence. Today, the organization conducts direct-action organizing, community education and advocacy from its three Hawaiian “peace centers” in Chinatown, Waianae, and Manoa.
Veterans of Hope (1997) – Denver, CO
Veterans of Hope was founded by Vincent and Rosemarie Freeney Harding, longtime “spiritual activists,” to “document and share the transformative histories of ‘long distance runners’ for peace and justice.” The Veterans of Hope Project shares these stories publicly through interviews, curriculum, workshops, trainings, and public symposiums. In 2003, Veterans of Hope launched a youth leadership program called Ambassadors of Hope to “bring young people in touch with social justice histories, organizing strategies, creative and artistic resources, and traditions of culture and spirituality from which they can draw inspiration and strength for the ongoing work of making American democracy more vital, more inclusive and more responsive to the needs and visions of ordinary citizens.”
Interfaith Peace-Builders – Washington, D.C.
Interfaith Peace-Builders attempts to build a “network of informed and active individuals who understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the United States’ political, military, and economic role in it.” The Delegation Program organizes delegations to Israel/Palestine to witness the lived realities and voices of Israelis and Palestinians in the region. Upon return, participants are supported in local activism based on their experiences through the Education and Advocacy Program.
Stony Point Center – Rockland, NY
Stony Point Center is a conference and community center in Rockland County, NY that offers spiritual retreats as well as workshops on community building and food justice. It is home to the Community of Living Traditions, “a multifaith community dedicated to the practice and study of hospitality, nonviolence and justice.” Residents of the Community of Living Traditions are supported by three organizations: the Muslim Peace Fellowship, the Luke 6 Project (Christian), and Shomer Shalom (Jewish).
Creating a Culture of Peace (2006) – Robbinsdale, MN
CCP is a nationwide program that designs and implements innovative training in spiritually-grounded active nonviolence, analysis of social change and community-building, skills for peacemaking, and resources on nonviolence education. Workshops are offered across the country and groups can also request individually designed trainings. CCP has worked with organizations such as the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the Methodist Federation for Social Action, Veterans for Peace, the Texas Conference of Churches, and the Baltimore Presbytery.
National Religious Campaign Against Torture (2006) – Washington, D.C. www.nrcat.org/
NRCAT launched during a conference of American faith leaders convened by Dr. George Hunsinger, professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, in response to evidence of torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Afghanistan. NRCAT works to end all U.S.-sponsored torture of foreign detainees, the use of torture in American prisons, all American support for torture in other nations, and the “bigotry and hatred that promotes…torture against religiously, ethnically, and other targeted groups.” The organization’s membership includes 314 religious entities and congregations from the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Bahá’í and Buddhist traditions.
Coalition of Women for Peace (2000) – Tel Aviv, Israel http://www.coalitionofwomen.org/?lang=en
CWP was founded a month after the outbreak of the Second Palestinian Intifada. The feminist group advocates for an end to occupation of Palestinian territory and a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. From its headquarters in Tel Aviv, CWP oversees ongoing international campaigns and research on the occupation.
Archived Interfaith Peace Organizations
Global Peace Works www.globalpeaceworks.org
Interfaith Center for Peace www.interfaithcenterforpeace.org/ (Website no longer available)
Interfaith Voices for Peace and Justice www.interspirit.net/ifv.cfm (Login required)
Inter Religious Federation for World Peace www.irfwp.org
Partners for Peace http://interfaithpartnersforpeace.org/
Buddhist Peace Fellowship (1978) – Berkeley, CA
Buddhist Peace Fellowship was founded to “serve as a catalyst for socially engaged Buddhism.” BPF offers programs, publications and practice groups that link “Buddhist teachings of wisdom and compassion with progressive social change.” Recent initiatives include “The System Stinks: Buddhism from Personal to Political and Planetary,” a series of online themed dialogues, and Turning Wheel Media, an online community and resource center for Buddhist activists.
Soka Gakkai International, USA (1960) – Santa Monica, CA
A chapter of Soka Gakkai International, SGI-USA is a “Buddhist association for peace, culture and education” founded on the teachings of Nichiren Buddhism, “which places the highest emphasis on the sanctity of life.” Though predominantly a support network for practitioners, SGI-USA operates Culture of Peace Resource Centers in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Santa Monica, Chicago, and Honolulu which conduct annual lecture series, exhibitions, and other events promoting peace. After the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, the organization also launched Victory Over Violence, a campaign to counter escalating youth-related violence.
The Ikeda Center for Peace Learning and Dialogue (1993) – Cambridge, MA
Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda founded the Ikeda Center (formerly Boston Research Center for the 21st Century) to “engage diverse scholars, activists, and social innovators in the search for the ideas and solutions that will assist in the peaceful evolution of humanity.” Programs include public forums and scholarly seminars, such as the annual Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue. The Center also publishes books on education and similar issues, and in 2009 launched its own publishing arm, Dialogue Path Press.
International Network of Engaged Buddhists (1989)
The International Network of Engaged Buddhists was founded at a conference in Thailand by Sulak Sivaraksa. Today, the network connects Buddhist and non-Buddhist peace activists in over 20 countries (including the United States), and has “become the leading voice in articulating Socially Engaged Buddhism in the world, while integrating the practice of Buddhism with social action for a healthy, just, and peaceful world.” Activities include international forums, cross-cultural and interreligious dialogue summits, public lectures and cultural events, as well as a magazine titled Seeds of Peace.
Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women, USA (2010) – Sierra Madre, CA
Sakyadhita (“Daughters of the Buddha”) is an international alliance of Buddhist women peacemakers founded in Bodhgaya, India in 1987. The organization works to build a community of empowered female scholars, teachers, and social activists, as well as to improve the living conditions of women worldwide. Sakyadhita USA (SUSA) was established in 2010.
Zen Peacemakers (1996)
Zen Peacemakers is a community for socially engaged Buddhists. Its founder, Bernie Glassman is an American Zen roshi, author, and social activist. The organization grew out of Glassman’s well-known Greyston Foundation in Yonkers, NY, which extended Zen principles to fields such as social services and business. Zen Peacemakers emphasizes alleviating poverty and eliminating war. The organization has led thousands of participants on “street retreats,” during which participants bear witness to the experience homelessness. It also organizes trips to global conflict regions or sites of past atrocities such as Auschwitz Concentration Camp.
Islamic Human Rights Commission (1997) – London, UK
The Islamic Human Rights Commission advocates “for justice for all peoples regardless of their racial, confessional or political background.” In 2007, IHRC gained status with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The organization focuses on detailing human rights abuses on a country by country basis, campaigning to raise awareness of violence against Muslims, and counseling individual Muslim victims of hate crimes and discrimination.
Salam Institute for Peace and Justice (2004) – Washington, D.C. www.salaminstitute.org
The Salam Institute was founded by Dr. Mohammed Abu-Nimer to foster “research, dialogue, tolerance and understanding between peoples of deeply divided societies, particularly between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.” Projects have included studies on conflict resolution techniques in Muslim societies, peacebuilding training sessions offered in the United States and abroad, and exchange programs for scholars and imams. To date, the Salam Institute has worked in the West Bank and Gaza, Turkey, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Egypt, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, the Balkans, and the United States.
Muslim Peace Fellowship (1994)
Muslim Peace Fellowship was formed to promote the theory and practice of Islamic nonviolence. MPF’s mission understands “unarmed struggle in pursuit of wise, just, and compassionate social transformation to be the original and enduring genius of the Prophetic jihad.” Through conferences and publications, MPF brings together Muslims to combat violence, injustice, and religious conflict.
Archived Muslim Peace Organizations
Muslim Voices for Peace: Building Bridges through Dialogue (2008)
Jewish Peace Fellowship (1941) – Nyack, NY
The Jewish Peace Fellowship was founded in 1941 to support conscientious objectors and educate the public about Jewish theological bases for nonviolence. Today, the organization strives to be “a Jewish voice in the peace community and a peace voice in the Jewish community.” Through pamphlets, books, and other materials, JPF articulates a vision of conflict resolution grounded in sources within the Torah, the Talmud, and contemporary Jewish theologians.
The Jewish Peace Lobby (1989)
JPL is “an American Jewish organization which seeks to promote a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” The organization was founded by the University of Maryland’s Dr. Jerome Segal to advocate that: Israel negotiate with the PLO; the conflict be resolved through the two-state solution; Jerusalem be shared by the two states; Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories be brought to a halt; the United States be deeply engaged and in a balanced manner, including formulating a plan to halt the conflict.
Jewish Voice for Peace (1996) – New York, NY; Oakland, CA
JVP is “a diverse and democratic community of activists inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, and human rights.” The organization works specifically to “support the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination” by advocating for a fair United States foreign policy in the Middle East, an end to Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees, and an end to violence against civilians on all sides. Current initiatives include a rabbinical council and campus divestment campaigns.
The Shalom Center (1983) – Philadelphia, PA
The Shalom Center works to integrate nonviolent social activism and Jewish spiritual commitment. Through liturgical and holiday celebrations, publications, and Torah commentary, the group hopes to shape “a transformed and transformative Judaism that can help create a world of peace, justice, healing for the earth, and respect for the interconnectedness of all life.”
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights (2002) – New York, NY
T’ruah brings together rabbis from all streams of Judaism to advocate for human rights in the Middle East and North America. Founded in 2002 as Rabbis for Human Rights—North America, the group mobilizes rabbis and Jewish communities as advocates for justice, trains rabbis and rabbinical students as human rights leaders and promotes rabbis and cantors as moral voices on global issues.
Shomer Shalom (roughly “keeping the peace” in Hebrew) is a network of workers for peace rooted in the Jewish tradition. Individually, “members of Shomer Shalom are committed to living a nonviolent Jewish life and are encouraged to participate in nonviolence organizations as Jews and to participate in Jewish organizations as practitioners of nonviolence.” Shomer Shalom occasionally offers programming such as retreats or other group events.
American Friends Service Committee – Philadelphia, PA
AFSC “is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action.” Founded during World War I by Quakers “who aimed to serve both humanity and country while being faithful to their commitment to nonviolence,” the organization received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947. Today, AFSC runs a number of programs, including initiatives to reduce violence in American communities, bring troops home from overseas, eliminate nuclear weapons, and provide youth from conflict regions with peaceful alternatives.
Ecumenical Peace Institute (1965)
The Ecumenical Peace Institute was founded as part of a national network, Clergy and Laity Concerned (CALC). In the decades since, EPI has focused on issues like violence in Central America, apartheid in South Africa, wars in the Middle East, and nuclear proliferation. Current activities include vigils, worship gatherings, and newsletters.
Episcopal Peace Fellowship (1939) – Ithaca, NY
The Episcopal Peace Fellowship was founded on Armistice Day in 1939 to serve as “a national organization connecting all who seek a deliberate response to injustice and violence and want to pray, study and take action for justice and peace in our communities, our church, and the world.” Today, EPJ hosts the Young Adult Initiative and action groups on topics such as the environment, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the death penalty, and nuclear abolition.
Lutheran Peace Fellowship (1941) – Seattle WA
The Lutheran Peace Fellowship brings together Lutherans around the world who seek to respond to the “gospel call to be peacemakers and justice seekers.” Since its founding, LPF has emphasized education and today offers workshops about Christian leadership and biblical peacemaking. The organization also publishes leadership guides, worship materials, and advocacy resources.
Pax Christi USA (1972)
Pax Christi, a branch of Pax Christi International, is a Catholic organization that “strives to create a world that reflects the Peace of Christ by exploring, articulating, and witnessing to the call of Christian nonviolence.” The global movement began in 1945, when a small group of people began meeting in France to pray for reconciliation between French and German Catholics following WWI. The organization was officially brought to the U.S. in 1972. Current programming aims to promote a spiritual basis for nonviolence, international disarmament and demilitarization, interracial harmony in the United States, and fight for universal human rights.
Peacebuilders Initiative (2001) – Chicago, IL
The Peacebuilders Initiative is a program of the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union. The organization trains Catholic youth to become leaders in peacemaking and conflict resolution. Programming is built around an annual, weeklong summer program for high school juniors and seniors whose curriculum emphasizes pacifist theology, prayer sessions, community ministry, and self-directed community service projects.
Christian Peace Witness
CPW is a network of activists and organizations that support Conscientious Objectors, counter military recruitment expansion, and end U.S. military action in Iraq. In 2010, the group cosponsored the Truth Commission on Conscience in War, a gathering to examine U.S. military regulations on Conscientious Objection.
Adventist Peace Fellowship (2001) – MD
Adventist Peace Fellowship aims to provide networking opportunities, discussion forums, and resources on peacebuilding for Seventh Day Adventists. The organization’s guiding mission is to “reclaim Adventism’s historic vision for personal and social peace, including its commitment to: nonviolence, economic justice, care for creation, and freedom of conscience.”
Christian Peacemaker Teams (1986)
The Christian Peacemaker Teams sends delegations of Christian activists into conflict regions to assist in local peacebuilding efforts. Delegations are currently in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, and the Great Lakes region in Africa. The organization was founded by members of historic peace churches (Mennonite, Quaker, Church of the Brethren).
Disciples Peace Fellowship (1935) – Indianapolis, IN
DPF was founded in 1935 and strives to “serve as a voice to/for members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who long for peace and justice to be at the forefront of our teachings and witness.” The group’s central program, Peace Interns, places young adults with Disciples of Christ youth camps and retreats to serve as resources on current peace and justice issues.
Methodist Federation for Social Action (1907) – Washington, D.C. www.mfsaweb.org/
The Methodist Federation for Social Action partners with congregations and other groups to “support and augment peace and justice ministries at the local, conference, and national levels” with a focus on issues of economic injustice and poverty. In recent years, MFSA has made global peace a major part of its agenda through nonviolence training and action seminars.
Orthodox Peace Fellowship
The Orthodox Peace Fellowship, formally the Orthodox Peace Fellowship of the Protection of the Mother of God, is “an association of Orthodox Christian believers seeking to bear witness to the peace of Christ by applying the principles of the Gospel to situations of division and conflict.” The group publishes a quarterly journal, In Communion.
The Peace and Justice Support Network (PJSN) of the Mennonite Church USA (2002)
PJSN was founded to aid in the peace of justice work of Mennonite Church USA. The group works to make resources and testimonies available to the Mennonite community, as well as offering counsel to the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA and congregations.
Pentecostals and Charismatics for Peace and Justice (2002) – Lakeland, FL
The Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship’s mission is “ to encourage, enable, and sustain peacemaking and justice-seeking as authentic and integral aspect of Pentecostal & Charismatic Christianity, witnessing to the conviction that Jesus Christ is relevant to all tensions, crises, and brokenness in the world.” Programming has included vigils, conferences, and trips abroad.
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (1940s) – Stony Point, NY www.presbypeacefellowship.org/
Founded in the 1940s to support Conscientious Objectors, the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship supports nonviolent community activism within the Presbyterian community. PPF understands itself to be an “invitation to all Presbyterians and followers of Jesus who believe that we must take action together to create the peace that we long for in our world.” The organization promotes direct action on international conflicts and domestic issues like gun violence.
Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (1984) – Charlotte, NC www.bpfna.org/
BPFNA works in Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States to “gather, equip and mobilize Baptists to build a culture of peace rooted in justice.” Considered the largest network of Baptist peacemakers in the world, BPFNA publicizes local activism efforts from congregations, hosts large conferences, and offers training, resources and speakers to its members.
Catholic Peace Fellowship (1964)
The Catholic Peace Fellowship was founded to “resist war by helping those who choose not to participate in it, one person at a time.” The organization works to educate members of the Church about Catholic teachings on peace, support conscientious objectors, and counsel soldiers hoping to obtain conscientious objector status.
Jubilee Partners – Comer, GA
This intentional Christian service community “seeks ways to live out the Biblical vision of Jubilee,” defined as “a time when prisoners were to be set free, debts forgiven, and the poor given a share of the resources.” Jubilee Partners welcomes residents and seasonal volunteers, sends delegations of peacemakers to conflict regions, supports peacebuilding projects in Nicaragua, and hosts refugees from war-torn regions to help them adjust to life in the United States. Since 1980, Jubilee Partners’ Refugee Program has provided over 3,000 refugees from 30 countries in Central America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa with shelter, food, English classes, and medical assistance.
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