Centre for Religion, Reconciliation and Peace
A high-impact centre dedicated to fostering peace and reconciliation across the world.View content
The Winchester Centre of Religion, Reconciliation and Peace is dedicated to helping to create a free, just and peaceful world. It aims to do this by sharing excellence in knowledge, understanding, skills, relationships, and best practice in reconciliation and peace, with people of all religions and none. Launched in 2010, WCRRP grew from recognition of a lacuna in research and knowledge exchange between communities affected by conflict and their leaders, practitioners of reconciliation and peace, and academics seeking greater understanding and dissemination of ways to sustainable peace.
What we do
CRRP is a dynamic centre with a regular programme of talks and workshops. WCRRP also leads a University of Winchester partnership with PeaceJam UK to host an annual conference with Nobel Peace Laureates at the University. Peacejam offers young people aged 13-18 the opportunity to come to the University to spend two days with a world leader of peace. Led by University mentors, they participate in workshops around current global issues. In 2015 WCRRP welcomed Jody Williams from the International campaign to Ban Landmines. In 2016, the University welcomed the Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum, an indigenous woman from Guatemala who was awarded her Nobel Peace Prize "in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples".
In 2016 a three-week English language programme called English for Peace was launched, developed around WCRRP's themes and MA programmes and in collaboration with the University' English Language Support Unit. The course welcomes anyone keen to advance their English language whilst learning about peace and democracy in a UK and wider context.
Since July 2015 all schools have a duty to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism” when they exercise their functions in accordance with section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (Department for Education, 2015). This duty has become known as the Prevent duty. Though the implementation of the Prevent duty has only just become a legal requirement for schools it has already caused controversy. The Prevent duty has led to considerable confusion and nervousness among teachers (Ibid) and many schools are still unsure of how to implement the Prevent duty, whilst the ethics of Prevent measures have also been called into question. Concerns have also been raised about the suitability of the resources used for this training. CRRP has decided to undertake a research project that analyses the implementation of the Prevent duty and its impact in primary and secondary educational institutions in North-East Hampshire.
Research, collaborations and consultancy
Over recent years WCRRP has had several engagements with the UK government on the potential of religious peacebuilding. The centre has acted as consultants for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on prevention of sexual violence in conflict, and have engaged with representatives from the Department for Development on development issues and religion. CRRP members have presented papers at numerous conferences and symposia throughout Europe.
European Council of Religious Leaders
The European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL), part of the Religions for Peace network, brings together senior religious leaders from Europe’s historical religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, together with Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and Zoroastrians. CRRP is currently working closely with the ECRL to develop strategies that support religious leaders to take informed and cooperative action in times of crisis. Currently our partnership work is focussing on the migrant crisis, in particular how to address issues of cultural and religious integration across Europe and the resulting rise in tensions between communities.
The team is currently engaged in a range of peacebuilding projects in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Decades after the violent conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina ended, education is still highly segregated and fragmented. Children from different ethnic backgrounds are taught different curricula and they often do not share a classroom. As a consequence of the implementation of the Dayton agreement that settled the violent conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the country has 13 education ministries that all share the responsibility of educating the next generation of children. This project will focus on how the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia can contribute to a historical record that can lay the foundations of a shared understanding of the violent conflict and the development of a curriculum that reflects the diversity and complexity of this violent conflict.
Middle East: Syria
Led by Professor Simon Keyes, the centre is developing a dedicated facility for training, practice and research in the area of dialogue and disagreement in the Middle East, with a focus on Syria.
Asia: Myanmar, Tibet and Nepal
Dr Mark Owen and Professor Anna King have undertaken three conflict assessments in Myanmar, requested by Religions for Peace Myanmar.
CRRP has also carried out fieldwork in collaboration with the Tibetan Centre of Conflict Resolution (TCCR), and is currently developing a project around carrying out an assessment of the potential for violence in and around Tibetan exile communities in India.
Between 2011 and 2015, Dr Mark Owen and Professor Anna King carried out five periods of fieldwork in Nepal with religious organisations and NGOs. They published journal articles and conference papers, submitted a report to the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, and ran a series of consultative workshops and a national conference in Nepal. The April 2015 earthquake shifted the focus from peacebuilding to disaster recovery, but Dr Owen and Prof. King continued their work there in 2016. This project was one of the University's highlight case studies for REF 2014. For more information on the project Religious Peacebuilding in Nepal, visit the REF website.
Founding patron and partners
The University is proud that the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, is the Founding Patron of the Winchester Centre of Religions for Reconciliation and Peace. Dr Sentamu has a passion for his work that is second to none. His high-profile advocacy for reconciliation in the Horn of Africa, peace in the Middle East and human rights in Zimbabwe add welcome authority to the Centre's international work for reconciliation and peace.
CRRP's founding partners are St Ethelburga’s Centre of Reconciliation and Peace in London and Religions for Peace International in New York.
Meet the team
Follow the links below to find out more about our research interests, areas of postgraduate research supervision and latest publications:
- Dr Mark Owen, WCRRP Director
- Rebecca Bellamy, WCRRP Coordinator & Partnerships Officer
- Seb Bytyçi, Academic Officer and Programme Leader, MA Reconciliation/MA Reconciliation and Peacebuilding
- Professor Tony Evans, Professor of Global Politics
- Professor Simon Keyes, Visiting Professor
- Professor Anna King, Professor of Religious Studies and Social Anthropology
- Dr Majbritt Lyck-Bowen, Research Officer
- Dr Yafiah Randall, Early-Career Visiting Research Fellow
- Professor Brian Walker, Honorary Fellow
- Dr Christina Welch, Senior Fellow in Theology and Religious Studies