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Beyond Militarization: The Role of Religious Communities in the Struggle for Justice and Peace

April 6, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Religions and the Practice of Peace Colloquium Dinner Series

Space is limited. RSVP is required.

At a time when the White House proposes to increase military spending by $54 billion while slashing funds for social programs at home and humanitarian aid abroad, we recall the warning of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that a nation spending more money on the military than on social uplift “is approaching spiritual death.” What role can religious communities play today in resisting war and militarism and working for social and economic justice?


  • David Cortright, Director of Policy Studies and the Peace Accords Matrix, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame; Special Adviser for Policy Studies, Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame

Moderator and Respondent

  • J. Bryan Hehir, Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life, Harvard Kennedy School of Government; Secretary of Health Care and Social Services, Catholic Archdiocese of Boston

David Cortright is the Director of Policy Studies and the Peace Accords Matrix at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and Special Adviser for Policy Studies at the Keough School of Global Affairs. He is the author, coauthor or coeditor of 20 books, including Civil Society, Peace and Power (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), Gandhi and Beyond (Paradigm, 2009) and Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas (Cambridge University Press, 2008). Cortright has written widely about nonviolent social change, peace history, nuclear disarmament, and the use of multilateral sanctions and incentives as tools of international peacemaking. Cortright has a long history of public advocacy for disarmament and the prevention of war. As an active duty soldier during the Vietnam War, he spoke against that conflict. He examined the history and impact of antiwar resistance in the military in his 1975 book, Soldiers in Revolt, republished in 2005. In 1978, Cortright was named executive director of SANE, the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, which under his leadership grew from 4,000 to 150,000 members and became the largest disarmament organization in the United States. He helped to create and serves as cochair of Win Without War, a coalition of national organizations that opposed the invasion of Iraq and continues to work for demilitarized national security policies.

Moderator and Respondent
J. Bryan Hehir is the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life. He is also the Secretary for Health Care and Social Services in the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. His research and writing focus on ethics and foreign policy and the role of religion in world politics and in American society. He served on the faculty of Georgetown University (1984 to 1992) and Harvard Divinity School (1993 to 2001). His writings include: “The Moral Measurement of War: A Tradition of Continuity and Change; Military Intervention and National Sovereignty; Catholicism and Democracy;” and “Social Values and Public Policy: A Contribution from a Religious Tradition.”

Cosponsored by the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. With generous support from the Rev. Karen Vickers Budney, MDiv ’91, and Mr. Albert J. Budney, Jr., MBA ’74.

Recommended Readings

Recommended readings from David Cortright

  • Cortright, David, “Religion” in Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas (Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 183-210
  • Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, “Beyond Vietnam,” April 4, 1967, Riverside Church, New York, New York, available at Martin Luther King Jr. and the Global Freedom Struggle, King Institute Resources, Stanford University,

This monthly public series, convened by HDS Dean David N. Hempton, brings together a cross-disciplinary RPP Working Group of faculty, experts, graduate students, and alumni from across Harvard University and the local area to explore topics and cases in religions and the practice of peace. A diverse array of scholars, leaders, and religious peacebuilders are invited to present and engage with the RPP Working Group and general audience. A light dinner is served and a brief reception follows the program.


April 6, 2017
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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Sperry Room, Andover Hall, 45 Francis Ave.
45 Francis Ave
Cambridge, MA United States
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