Ann Arbor, MI ­– The Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies (CMENAS) at the University of Michigan announces a new project, the Islamic Peace Studies Initiative, directed by Juan Cole, CMENAS director and Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History, which seeks to promote academic research in the field of Islam and peace studies.

On March 16-18, 2017, the initiative will hold its inaugural conference titled, “Peace in Islam, Islam in Peace” at the University of Michigan. The three-day event will bring scholars and community members together to share ideas and discussions around the field of Islam and peace, addressing topics such as the centrality of conflict resolution in the tradition, the roles and identities of Muslim women, and scripture and theology.

While peace studies has grown as an academic field, the scholarly literature focused on Islam and peace is relatively small. The Islamic Peace Studies Initiative seeks to recognize scholars and activists who have already made key contributions to this field, and to encourage others to address it. The project intends to compile resources, such as syllabi, bibliographies, directories of relevant academic programs, and other useful information, and have them available in an open-access website.

The Islamic tradition has been an important part of world history since late antiquity and is diverse and broad, straddling the globe. Today Muslims account for about a fifth of humankind. Perhaps because of struggles like the Crusades, Western writing on Islam has disproportionately focused on war and violence. The dimension of peace in this world religion also deserves exploration.

This new initiative in Islamic Peace Studies has been funded by the International Institute Enterprise Fund. Enterprise grants seek to support new ideas and approaches to international studies and education, by promoting initiatives that focus on interdisciplinary partnerships crossing geographical regions.  

To learn more about this initiative and our conference, visit: If you have any questions regarding the initiative, please contact us at


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