Notre Dame gives Lederach peacebuilding award

John Paul Lederach, the founding director of the Conflict Transformation Program
John Paul Lederach, professor and founding director of the Conflict Transformation Program at EMU

John Paul Lederach, professor and founding director of the Conflict Transformation Program at EMU, now the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, has received the Reinhold Niebuhr Award from Notre Dame University.

Dr. Lederach is currently professor of international peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame. The award is made annually to a Notre Dame student, faculty member or administrator whose life and writings promote or exemplify social justice.

“This year’s recipient has spent his life advancing the cause of peace,” said Notre Dame provost Tom Burish in presenting the award to Lederach on May 19. “From Nicaragua to Nepal, the Philippines to Colombia, he has served as mediator, strategist and catalyst for peacebuilding. As the leading theorist of the concept of conflict transformation, he advises governments, religious organizations, universities and community groups striving to reconcile societies torn apart by violence.

“As a practitioner of peace, he accompanies the poor, the refugees and the victims of war – eliciting from them alternatives to violence,” Burish continued. “His wide-ranging experiences, profound analyses and deep moral imagination have formed the basis for a corpus of writing that has enlightened peace studies scholars and peacebuilders around the globe. He is, in the words of St. Francis of Assisi, ‘an instrument of peace.'”

Dr. Lederach previously served on the faculty of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) and is currently a “distinguished scholar” there. He returns to teach in the annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI), part of the CJP program.

He has authored and co-edited 15 books and manuals in English and Spanish, including “The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace” (Oxford University Press, 2005), “The Journey Toward Reconciliation” (Herald Press, 1999), “Preparing for Peace: Conflict Transformation Across Cultures” (Syracuse University Press, 1995).”Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies” (USIP, 1997) and “The Little Book of Conflict Transformation” (Good Books, 2003).

Lederach received his PhD in sociology with a concentration in the Social Conflict Program from the University of Colorado. He and his wife, Wendy, have two children, Angie and Josh.

Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, president emeritus of Notre Dame, was the first recipient of the Reinhold Niebuhr award, sponsored by friends of the Protestant theologian and author. In September 1972, Father Hesburgh announced the establishment of a Reinhold Niebuhr Award at the University of Notre Dame.