INTERNATIONAL academics from a range of disciplines will come together to talk about ways to bring peace to, and reduce conflict, in the world at a unique two-day conference organised by Winchester University.

Taking place on June 20 and 21, the inaugural Winchester Peace Conference will focus on religion and culture and explore the dual role it plays in violent struggles and conflicts, where it can be both part of the problem and part of the solution.

It aims to contribute positively to peacebuilding and conflict transformation by addressing some of the most complex and pressing challenges we face in the world today.

Keynote speakers include Professor Mohammed Abu-Nimer, senior advisor to intergovernmental organisation King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICHIID), and Sarah Hayward, senior advisor to the US Institute of Peace.

On the first day, Prof Abu-Nimer will discuss how peacebuilding approaches can provide an alternative to the United Nation’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) approach. On the second day, Ms Hayward will discuss her efforts to advance conflict prevention, resolution and reconciliation projects within the religious sector.

Issues under discussion include the role religion can play in reducing conflict, terrorism and extremism, and practical approaches to conflict resolution.

The conference will also showcase case studies on a number of countries that have recovered from conflict, including Nigeria and Sri Lanka.

Mark Owen, Director of the Centre of Religion, Reconciliation and Peace at the university, said: “The first annual Winchester Peace Conference will examine the often underestimated dimensions of conflict and peacebuilding: the cultural and religious dimensions.”

The conference will take place at the West Downs Centre from 9.30am to 5pm.