David R. Smock – USA

Linked with United States Institute of Peace USIP, with Comprehensive Peace Agreement CPA, and with When Religion Brings Peace, Not War.

David R. Smock is the vice president of USIP’s Center for Mediation and Conflict Resolution and associate vice president of the Religion and Peacemaking program, one of the Centers of Innovation. Previously he served as director of the USIP’s Grant program and coordinator of Africa activities. He has worked on African issues for over thirty years and lived in Africa for eleven years. As a staff member of the Ford Foundation from 1964 to 1980, he served in Ghana, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, and New York. (full text).

He writes: “Is it true, as some claim, that democracy is basically a western concept and ideology and therefore fundamentally at odds with the values and principles of Islam? If so, then the Muslim world, consisting of 55 countries populated by more than 1.4 billion people, is doomed to dictatorship and oppression. Moreover, Muslims would have to choose between their religion and democracy. In introducing the discussion, Radwan Masmoudi asserted that there is no inherent contradiction between Islam and democracy and that democratic ideals and principles are also Islam’s ideals and principles. Thus, the explanation of why so many Muslim countries are not democratic lies in historical, political, cultural, and economic factors, not religious ones. “Not only must we understand these reasons, but we must also find out what needs to be done to correct this situation. What can we as Americans and especially as American Muslims do to promote democratization in Muslim countries?” (full text).

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David R. Smock – USA

He says: ” … Moderate religious leaders had the responsibility to rein in extremists, and all leaders should educate themselves about the religious “other” … and: “Therefore, political leaders needed to make understanding religion a priority in the same way that they study missiles and munitions. Additionally, religious leaders had a role in conflicted societies, which political leaders could not fill” … (full text).

He writes also: If the Darfur situation is not significantly improved soon, further implementation of the CPA Comprehensive Peace Agreement could be threatened. Without peace in Darfur, the nation-wide elections mandated in the CPA for 2009 could be postponed or cancelled. This would undermine the CPA and would be very destabilizing for the whole country. Consistent with the terms of the CPA, oil revenues have begun to flow to the government of South Sudan, but the CPA’s requirements for oil revenues to be paid to other outlying regions have not been implemented. All international actors need to collaborate in pressuring the GOS to adhere to its earlier agreement about peacekeeping and to renegotiate the DPA. Given the level of its investments in Sudan, China is a critical player. The Chinese have exerted some behind-the-scenes pressure on the GOS but they are unlikely to make strong public statements. Nor are they willing to be as forceful as the United States in pressing Sudan. Overall, the international community needs to increase the pressure on the GOS and the rebel groups, while also being realistic about the leverage it actually has to force them to make the needed concessions. (full text, April 2007).

Read: Ijtihad, Reinterpreting Islamic Principles for the Twenty-first Century, 8 pages.

As in previous dialogues, the May 13 meeting began with a theological reflection, this time on Reconciliation. Dr. David Smock of the United States Institute of Peace, an expert on the subject, having worked on issues of truth and reconciliation in many countries, particularly in Africa, offered 18 principles of reconciliation. He underscored the value of continuing to stay at the dialogue table, despite the challenges and tensions that arise. Participants in this continuing dialogue represent the following Christian communions and Jewish organizations: … (full text).

… In his seminal work Interfaith Dialogue and Peacemaking, David Smock asserts, “spirituality is at the center of the interfaith encounter and is the most powerful feature of interfaith dialogue because it allows change in participants’ attitudes.” According to Smock, participants utilize their spiritual identities, beliefs and values to transform their views of a conflict, their views of others, and their views of themselves. Participants not only have the potential to receive new information, to have a positive emotional experience, and to accomplish a joint project; most importantly, they have an opportunity to make a deeper human connection with God and with other participants through a spiritual encounter. “When this deeper spiritual connection is made in the context of interfaith dialogue, it becomes the main source for the individual’s commitment to social change, peace work and taking the risks to confront one’s own evil,” concludes Smock … (full text).

He says also: “Father Mercado is an amazing peacebuilder and bridge builder between Christian and Muslim communities in the Philippines. His analysis of the stalled peace process in Mindanao and his recommendations of how to advance the prospects for peace in the Philippines was most enlightening” … (listen Father Mercado’s audio, click on the link on this page).

David R. Smock is the vice president of United States Institute of Peace’s (USIP) Center for Mediation and Conflict Resolution and associate vice president of the Religion and Peacemaking program, one of the Centers of Innovation. Previously he served as director of the USIP’s Grant program and coordinator of Africa activities. He has worked on African issues for over thirty years and lived in Africa for eleven years. As a staff member of the Ford Foundation from 1964 to 1980, he served in Ghana, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, and New York. From 1980 to 1986, Smock served concurrently as director of the South African Education Program, a scholarship program that brings black South African students to U.S. universities, and vice president for program development and research for the Institute of International Education. After serving as executive associate to the president of the United Church of Christ from 1986 to 1989, Smock became executive director of International Voluntary Services, supervising development projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He received a Ph.D. in anthropology from Cornell University and a M.Div. from New York Theological Seminary. (full text).

His publications: on amazon; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Blog-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Book-search; on USIP.

From 1980 to 1986, Smock served concurrently as director of the South African Education Program, a scholarship program that brings black South African students to U.S. universities, and vice president for program development and research for the Institute of International Education. After serving as executive associate to the president of the United Church of Christ from 1986 to 1989, Smock became executive director of International Voluntary Services, supervising development projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He received a Ph.D. in anthropology from Cornell University and a M.Div. from New York Theological Seminary. (full text).

links:

Interreligious Dialogue in Lebanon;

Reflections on Peace building;

STH TS 800: International Conflict Transformation … ;

HPR online, the online site of the harvard political review;

Univ. of Houston’s Law Center, selected acquisitions;

Ethnic Groups in Conflict, page 510;

American Antropologist;

David Vanadia about sugar, edited by David R. Smock;

Bibliography Somalia;

Documentation, subsaharian Africa;

October 2005 Newsletter.

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