Funding award for peace studies centre

A map of the Middle East

A grant that will further work towards a more peaceful Middle East has been received by the Richardson Institute at Lancaster University.

The Institute has been awarded a $300,000, two-year grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York to look at relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the construction of sectarian difference across the Middle East.

The grant, from the Corporation’s International Programme, will facilitate an in-depth exploration of sectarianism in Bahrain, Iraq and Lebanon, along with a focus upon challenging such narratives to create space for the ‘de-sectarianisation’ of socio-political life.

“The Richardson Institute is grateful to Carnegie Corporation for its support and continued commitment to work towards a more peaceful region”, said the Institute’s director, Dr Simon Mabon.

Carnegie Corporation is the philanthropic foundation established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 “to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding". It is one of the oldest and most influential of American grantmaking foundations.

Dr Mabon said: “This project seeks to challenge contemporary views on sectarian difference that have become a self-perpetuating truth in recent years with a devastating impact upon the people of the region feeding into violence and conflict in Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, amongst others.”

Over the next two years, the project will produce a number of reports and policy recommendations, along with developing a website that will provide a range of resources that helps unpack and challenge sectarian narratives.

The Richardson Institute, based at Lancaster University, is the oldest peace studies centre in the UK. Based in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, the Institute brings together academics committed to undertaking empirically driven research and critiquing established theories and concepts about the contemporary world.

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