Doenges Lecturer to Discuss Religion and Conflict Transformation

September 16, 2015

Emily Welty, an expert in faith-based peacebuilding and development work, humanitarianism, nonviolent social movements, and reconciliation and transitional justice, will discuss the role of religion in conflict transformation as this year’s Elizabeth Kirkpatrick Doenges Visiting Scholar. Welty’s keynote — free and open to the public — will be held at 7 p.m. September 24 in James D. Francis Auditorium.

“I see the connections between religion and conflict transformation as relevant to any campus community, but I think that it is easy to caricature religious peacebuilding as something that is only relevant in ‘other places’ rather than a point of interest and connection for all of us,” said Welty, assistant professor and director of the peace and justice studies program at Pace University in New York City. “My keynote address will examine the potential that religious traditions, organizations, and people have to work for peace and social justice on local, national, and international levels.”

Welty is the main non-governmental organization representative of the International Peace Research Association to the United Nations and has extensive experience working in cross-cultural and politically unstable contexts including Israel/Palestine, Myanmar/Burma, Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland, Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, and South Sudan.

In addition to her public lecture, Welty will visit classes during the week of September 20, and will be the featured speaker on September 22 for the noontime International Café at the Spencer Center and the one o’clock Community Speaker Series in Miller Chapel. Welty will also return to campus during May Term to lead a course focusing on the role of religion in peacebuilding and conflict transformation.

As a high school student, Welty considered Mary Baldwin for her undergraduate studies, and recently reconnected with Professor of Philosophy Roderic Owen through their work with the national Peace and Justice Studies Association.

“Dr. Welty has engaged in a tremendous amount of hands-on field work across many developing nations around the world in which faith and the role of religious institutions are vital and powerful parts of the culture and politics. She has also integrated her experiences with mediation and conflict resolution into her work as an emerging scholar and her status as an accomplished teacher,” Owen said. “Reflecting the interdisciplinary focus of Mary Baldwin’s Global Honors Program, our institution-wide commitment to developing women as leading agents of change, and our mission to deliver a transforming liberal education, Dr. Welty promises to make an outstanding contribution.”

In 1996, the Elizabeth K. Doenges Visiting Artist/Scholar Lecture Series was established in memory of the late Mary Baldwin alumna and trustee Elizabeth “Liddy” Kirkpatrick Doenges ’63. Each year, the program fulfills Doenges’ vision to bring distinguished artists and scholars to campus for an extended visit, which typically includes a fall public lecture and leading a course during May Term. The lecture series was made possible by the generous contributions of the alumna’s friends, family, and classmates.