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University of Denver Religious Studies Department Awarded Second United States Institute of Peace Grant

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2014-01-14 18:04:10 - The Department of Religious Studies at the University of Denver has received approximately $2,000 in funding support from the Public Education for Peacebuilding Support initiative of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). This is the second of two grants awarded by USIP to the Department in 2013, for programming related to religion and peacebuilding. The grant will enable Andrea L Stanton, Undergraduate Adviser and Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies, to bring a recognized expert in the field to Denver for a public talk and class visit on issues of higher education among Syrian displaced and refugee college students.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 14, 2014
Contact: Andrea L Stanton (

University of Denver Religious Studies Department Awarded Second United States Institute of Peace Grant to Support Public Education for Peacebuilding
Grant money will bring human rights expert to campus

January 14, 2014–

“USIP’s support offers a great opportunity for the Religious Studies Department,” said Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Andrea L. Stanton. “It allows us to bring Keith Watenpaugh, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Human Rights Initiative at the University of California, Davis, to speak with Religious Studies and other University of Denver students about higher education concerns related to the ongoing conflict in Syria, whose increasing sectarian dimensions are well known.”

Keith David

Watenpaugh, a historian of the Modern Middle East and Director of the UC Davis Human Rights Initiative, is finishing a year as an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow and about to start his term as President of the Syrian Studies Association. He is author of Being Modern in the Middle East (Princeton, 2006) and Bread From Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (California, 2014 forthcoming). He is the research director of a Carnegie Corporation-supported Middle East-based initiative to better understand the humanitarian needs of refugee Syrian university students and educators, for which Stanton did advance work in Beirut, Lebanon in January 2014.

Stanton added: “Bringing together University students and interested community members is a key element of this project. For our students, this initiative offers the opportunity to understand how a religious studies BA or MA might translate into as a profession. For community members, many of whom are involved with local non-profit and conflict resolution organizations, Keith’s talk offers the chance to learn more about the current higher education dimensions of an ongoing, semi-intractable conflict.” Watenpaugh will also make two class visits during his time in Denver, helping students connect the skills and concepts developed in the classroom with their real world applications.

“USIP is pleased to support organizations like the University of Denver and their contribution to the national conversation around international conflict – and methods for resolving those conflicts nonviolently,” commented USIP President Jim Marshall.

The United States Institute of Peace is the independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict without resorting to violence. USIP works to save lives, increase the government’s ability to deal with conflicts before they escalate, reduce government costs, and enhance national security. USIP is headquartered in Washington, DC with offices in Baghdad, Iraq, and Kabul, Afghanistan.
As part of its congressional mandate, USIP devotes a portion of its budget to support organizations that will advance the field of conflict management by developing new techniques, establishing best practices, and professionalizing the field through education and training. The Public Education for Peacebuilding Support is a program of USIP administered by the Institute of International Education.
The USIP grant will underwrite the cost of bringing expert and scholar Keith Watenpaugh to the University of Denver campus January 26-27, 2014, for a public talk and two classroom visits. The public talk, titled “Iraq (2003) Syria (2013): War, The University, and Lost Generations”, will take place on Monday, January 27 in the Anderson Academic Commons Loft. No registration is necessary to attend the talk, which is free and open to the public. Collectively, these events reflect the goals of the USIP Public Education for Peacebuilding Support program: to advance public understanding of international conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

Press Information:
Department of Religious Studies
University of Denver

Sturm Hall 266
2000 E Asbury Avenue

Contact Person:
Andrea L Stanton
Assistant Professor
Phone: 3038713503
email: email


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